by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles, #1Hardcover, 422 pg.
Gallery Books, 2015
Read: September 17 – 21, 2015
Okay, I haven’t read the second or third Madison Avery book, and I haven’t found the time to read the last Rachel Morgan book (don’t ask, I can’t explain it either), so I might have to revise this a bit later — but I’m betting I won’t — this is the best book Kim Harrison has written to date. Hands down.
So Peri Reed is a Drafter. A covert agent for the U. S. Government in the near future (future enough that there’s all sorts of gear and tech that we have to imagine, near enough that we can relate). She (and 1 in 100,000 or so others) have this handy ability, when things go wrong, she can rewind time a bit and try it again. This is especially handy when mortally wounded. The downside? Doing that erases part of her memory — weeks’ or even months’ worth of it at a time. So each Drafter works with an Anchor. An expert in the Drafter’s personal history to help them put the pieces back together in a manner the Drafter can understand and move forward from.
Things are going well enough, when in the midst of her normal duties Peri finds some evidence that she’s been doing things she shouldn’t be, that she’s a renegade, a corrupt agent. This doesn’t sit easy with her, so she starts to investigate what’s really going on — and as long as she can remember what she’s doing and why, what she finds may shake up more than just her life.
It is almost impossible to track the plotlines of this book — you can experience it, but retell it? No — not without copious notes. One fellow blogger is demanding diagrams just to keep track of everything. And he’s not wrong. Peri keeps getting her memory re-written — memories that the reader is aware of, and others. There’s a mare’s nest of factions, agents, double agents, and possible triple agents; crosses, double crosses, triple and — I lost count of how many crosses a couple of characters were involved in. Plus time resetting itself. Mix in years of backstory that Harrison doles out in drips and drops. The result is that the reader is as disoriented as Peri — when she’s tripped up, we generally are. When she’s surprised by X doing something, we’re not sure what’s going on in X’s mind, either.
It’s hard to render an opinion on most of the characters. Because what we think we know about them may be Peri’s perception, may be reality, may be a cover, or . . . you get the idea? Peri at one point assures one woman that she remembers she likes her — doesn’t know anything about her, but remembers emotions. Which is pretty much all we have to go with as well. There’s a couple of people I know I like — a couple I know I don’t (even if some of them are supposed to be “good” guys) — but as far as how well drawn the characters are, it’s tough to say. Even Peri’s such a work in progress, it’s hard to get a good handle on her as a character.
Nevertheless, this is a book I highly recommend. It starts slow — very slow (I seem to be saying that a lot lately, I’m not sure when I became so impatient), but once all the dominoes are set (somewhere around the 100 page mark), Harrison starts the falling, and wow. It’ll suck you in, it’ll get you wrapped up in the web of deceit and efforts to unravel the deceit. More than anything, it’ll leave you wanting more.