Thanks to NetGalley and Pocket Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 22nd, 2016
Synopsis: Peri Reed’s job eats her mind, but for a special task agent in hiding, forgetting the past can be a blessing.
Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and the agency who turned her into the very thing she fought against, Peri abandoned the wealth and privilege of Opti for anonymity riddled with memory gaps and self-doubt. But when a highly addictive drug promises to end her dependency on those who’d use her as a tool for their own success, she must choose to remain broken and vulnerable, or return to the above-the-law power and prestige she once left: strong but without will–for whoever holds her next fix, will hold her loyalty.
Yet even now as then, a love based on lies might still save her life.
Before I begin my review let me first stress that The Operator is the sequel to The Drafter, and it absolutely CANNOT be read as a standalone. If you try to read it without having read the previous book you will be completely lost and possibly wind up with a very bad headache! So, now that I’ve done my duty and warned you all, I can now tell you how awesome this book is! Some of you might be familiar with Kim Harrison’s urban fantasy series, The Hollows, which I’m still lamenting the end of. While the Peri Reed Chronicles features a kick-ass heroine, in the same vein as the beloved Rachel Morgan, that is the only similarity between the two series. This series is set in Detroit in the year 2030. Peri Reed is part of a select group of people who can manipulate time. She works for a covert government agency called Opti and her talents as a drafter come into good use because if a mission goes bad, she can skip back in time, not far, just a minute or two. But in most cases it’s more than enough to turn a failure into a success. Unfortunately there are consequences to having this ability. Living through two different timelines can completely destroy the mind, so drafters are partnered with “anchors” to help blend the timelines together. Even then, memories are usually lost, but Peri used to believe that what she was doing was worth the sacrifice. Without going into spoiler territory, let’s just say that by the end of The Drafter everything pretty much blew up in her face, and she was left betrayed, hurt and confused and on her own. The Operator opens almost a year later, with Peri hiding out from the same people she used to trust and love. She’s determined to have nothing to do with Opti and her former colleagues but sadly, they’re intent on getting her back. They’ve concocted a drug that will stop the memory loss associated with drafting without destroying the mind and try to draw Peri back into the fold with this tempting offer. Of course there’s a catch: the drug is highly addictive and when Peri initially rebuffs their overtures, they inject her without her consent. So now she spends almost the entire book running for her life and fighting the addiction. Just like Rachel Morgan was in The Hollows, Peri is a character you can’t help but root for. She’s smart, tough, has mad skills, and is independent, yet she also makes her fair share of mistakes. Which makes it a good thing that she has friends who stand by her. Chief among these is Silas, who is a gorgeous scientist/anchor that I regretted not seeing enough of in the first book. He and Peri have a rather complicated history which is revealed fully in this story. Because of his intelligence, love, and unwavering loyalty to Peri, he’s the perfect partner for her, even when she doesn’t want to admit it. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s quite handy to have around in a fight. There are quite a few secondary characters which, could have derailed the main plot, but not in Kim Harrison’s skilled hands. While a good chunk of the novel is told in the third person from Peri’s POV, you get to see things from the other characters’ perspectives, even the villains, which really brings them to life. The one complaint I had about The Drafter was that initially it was a little confusing mainly because poor Peri didn’t know what was going on half the time because the very people she trusted were playing her. In The Operator though, everything is pretty above board. You know who the villains are and Peri’s objectives are clearly set out. The only reason why I didn’t rate this a perfect 5 is because I think (I can’t even believe I’m saying this), it could have been a little shorter. At 512 pages, it’s a hefty book, and while the book was action-packed from beginning to end, I think the story could have been just a little bit tighter if say, 50 pages or so had been shaved off. But honestly, this is just one small flaw in what otherwise is an absolutely outstanding read. The ending perfectly ties things up while setting the stage for the next book. If you enjoyed The Drafter, I guarantee you’ll love The Operator even more. If you’re a fan of The Hollows but have been unsure of Kim Harrison’s transition from urban fantasy to science fiction, I encourage you to give this series a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And finally, if you’ve never even heard of Kim Harrison (Really? Where have you been? Not judging!), but you love fast-paced science fiction, with fantastic world-building, awesome car chases, and memorable characters, I think you might want to give this series a look. As for me, the third book can’t come soon enough!