Pub Day Repost: The Operator by Kim Harrison

The OperatorThe Operator

by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles, #2
ARC, 468 pg.
Pocket Book, 2016
Read: October 17 – 20, 2016

I loved Peri Reed’s debut in The Drafter last year — it was one of my 10 favorites of 2015, so to say I was eager to read this is somewhat of an understatement. Sure, I was a little apprehensive, too — could Harrison pull it off again? Thankfully, yes she could. You may be able to jump in to the series with this point, but I really wouldn’t recommend it at all. Go read The Drafter.

The Operator picks up with Peri in a much better place (mentally, at least) than we left her in — she’s living out of the business, she runs a coffee shop that’s marketed towards the elite of Detroit — the moneyed, those wanting the most secure networks while sipping their morning caffeine fix, and those willing to spend an exorbitant amount on coffee.

She’s working really hard to convince herself that this is the life she wants when her past catches up with her. And before she knows it, she’s got the remnants of Opti trying to bring her back in — and the government’s version of a “clean” Opti doing their best to recruit her (and honestly, they’re taking more of a “stick” approach than a “carrot” approach).

Faces from her past — those she trusts, but not enough; those she trusts, but doesn’t want to; and those she’ll never trust — compete (on both sides) with people she doesn’t know and doesn’t trust. And, as always, Peri doesn’t even know if she can trust herself — but she’s very clear on what she wants: out. Out of the life, out of the spy business, out of everything that defines her. To get there, she’s going to have to rely on everything that she’s trying to get away from, but that’s a price she’s willing to pay. It may be Quixotic, but it’s all she’s got (other than her cat).

It is difficult to talk about the plot without giving too much away, so that’s as specific as I can get.

If there was a problem with The Drafter was that it was sometimes as confusing for the reader as it was for Peri to know what was going on (I’m not saying, it was poorly written — but as things were filtered through Peri’s perception, which were pretty in flux . . .). In The Operator, we don’t have that problem — Peri’s sometimes not sure what she’s doing, or that she’s doing it for the reasons she thinks that she is — but she’s very clear about what’s going on. Actually, sometimes, I think she’s the only one who sees the whole board and understands what’s going on. Which makes everything much easier for the reader to follow.

She had a clear objective, clear obstacles to overcome, and the gumption and skills to get the jobs done. The only question is: can she accomplish all she’s set out to accomplish before she’s killed or has her mind wiped?

Characters — again, this is tough. I’d like to say X at first seemed like a good antagonist — if not enemy — but then Y happens and X does Z and reveals that they can be a trusted ally and possible friend. But if I’m going to do that, I might as well reveal half the plot. There are some great new character, I’ll say instead, and every one that Peri ends the book trusting/befriending, I’d like to spend a lot more time with. A couple of decent new enemies/antagonists — I think we get enough of them. The people who survived The Drafter and made it to these pages, we learn more about them and pretty much cement our appraisals of from last time out. As always, Harrison gets almost every character note right, I think I’d have an easier time noting where she fumbles on that front.

If for whatever (very wrong) reason you ignore the story, this book is worth reading just for on a tiny little details that Harrison has filled this with to make a slightly futuristic future in this world. You can recognize it as our world, but it’s future-enough to be a totally new world so you don’t recognize everything. I’m not sure those sentences make sense, but you probably get my gist. I could do a post just on the future tech, culture, economics, etc. I’m not going to do that — just not enough time on my hands — but I could, because the world Harrison has surrounded Peri with is just that developed and detailed. And almost none of the details like that have any bearing on the plot beyond grounding the characters. I love that.

This may not be as well executed as its predecessor, but Harrison spent so much of The Drafter setting up the world while telling the story — where this time, she just gets to play in the world and tell the story. I think I enjoyed this one more, while I didn’t admire it as much. I have a few ideas what Peri and the rest will be up to in The Agent, but I’m more than prepared for Harrison to do something better than those. All I know for sure is that it’s too long before it’s released. The Operator is a slick, sleek, SF adventure novel that’s sure to satisfy on several levels.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from Pocket Books, and I thank them very much.

—–

4 1/2 Stars

Advertisements

The Operator by Kim Harrison

The OperatorThe Operator

by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles, #2

ARC, 468 pg.
Pocket Book, 2016

Read: October 17 – 20, 2016


I loved Peri Reed’s debut in The Drafter last year — it was one of my 10 favorites of 2015, so to say I was eager to read this is somewhat of an understatement. Sure, I was a little apprehensive, too — could Harrison pull it off again? Thankfully, yes she could. You may be able to jump in to the series with this point, but I really wouldn’t recommend it at all. Go read The Drafter.

The Operator picks up with Peri in a much better place (mentally, at least) than we left her in — she’s living out of the business, she runs a coffee shop that’s marketed towards the elite of Detroit — the moneyed, those wanting the most secure networks while sipping their morning caffeine fix, and those willing to spend an exorbitant amount on coffee.

She’s working really hard to convince herself that this is the life she wants when her past catches up with her. And before she knows it, she’s got the remnants of Opti trying to bring her back in — and the government’s version of a “clean” Opti doing their best to recruit her (and honestly, they’re taking more of a “stick” approach than a “carrot” approach).

Faces from her past — those she trusts, but not enough; those she trusts, but doesn’t want to; and those she’ll never trust — compete (on both sides) with people she doesn’t know and doesn’t trust. And, as always, Peri doesn’t even know if she can trust herself — but she’s very clear on what she wants: out. Out of the life, out of the spy business, out of everything that defines her. To get there, she’s going to have to rely on everything that she’s trying to get away from, but that’s a price she’s willing to pay. It may be Quixotic, but it’s all she’s got (other than her cat).

It is difficult to talk about the plot without giving too much away, so that’s as specific as I can get.

If there was a problem with The Drafter was that it was sometimes as confusing for the reader as it was for Peri to know what was going on (I’m not saying, it was poorly written — but as things were filtered through Peri’s perception, which were pretty in flux . . .). In The Operator, we don’t have that problem — Peri’s sometimes not sure what she’s doing, or that she’s doing it for the reasons she thinks that she is — but she’s very clear about what’s going on. Actually, sometimes, I think she’s the only one who sees the whole board and understands what’s going on. Which makes everything much easier for the reader to follow.

She had a clear objective, clear obstacles to overcome, and the gumption and skills to get the jobs done. The only question is: can she accomplish all she’s set out to accomplish before she’s killed or has her mind wiped?

Characters — again, this is tough. I’d like to say X at first seemed like a good antagonist — if not enemy — but then Y happens and X does Z and reveals that they can be a trusted ally and possible friend. But if I’m going to do that, I might as well reveal half the plot. There are some great new character, I’ll say instead, and every one that Peri ends the book trusting/befriending, I’d like to spend a lot more time with. A couple of decent new enemies/antagonists — I think we get enough of them. The people who survived The Drafter and made it to these pages, we learn more about them and pretty much cement our appraisals of from last time out. As always, Harrison gets almost every character note right, I think I’d have an easier time noting where she fumbles on that front.

If for whatever (very wrong) reason you ignore the story, this book is worth reading just for on a tiny little details that Harrison has filled this with to make a slightly futuristic future in this world. You can recognize it as our world, but it’s future-enough to be a totally new world so you don’t recognize everything. I’m not sure those sentences make sense, but you probably get my gist. I could do a post just on the future tech, culture, economics, etc. I’m not going to do that — just not enough time on my hands — but I could, because the world Harrison has surrounded Peri with is just that developed and detailed. And almost none of the details like that have any bearing on the plot beyond grounding the characters. I love that.

This may not be as well executed as its predecessor, but Harrison spent so much of The Drafter setting up the world while telling the story — where this time, she just gets to play in the world and tell the story. I think I enjoyed this one more, while I didn’t admire it as much. I have a few ideas what Peri and the rest will be up to in The Agent, but I’m more than prepared for Harrison to do something better than those. All I know for sure is that it’s too long before it’s released. The Operator is a slick, sleek, SF adventure novel that’s sure to satisfy on several levels.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from Pocket Books, and I thank them very much.

—–

4 1/2 Stars

Waylaid by Kim Harrison

WaylaidWaylaid

by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles/The Hollows

Kindle Single, 87 pg.
Pocket Star, 2016

Read: April 5, 2016


In her Foreword, Harrison says, “Waylaid still reads like self-made fan fiction to me, ” thereby denying book bloggers and other amateur reviewers the opportunity to use that label. Which is a shame, because that’d be a great way to sum it up. Thankfully, it saves us all from making the same joke.

In a move as classic as Uncle Jesse visiting Los Angeles to say “howdy” to Enos*, Harrison brings much beloved Rachel Morgan into the new, awesome, and in much need of publicity world of Peri Reed. Set sometime after the main events of The Witch with No Name (but not necessarily the last chapter), and before The Drafter, Waylaid will serve as a great introduction for fans of Morgan’s series.

A drunken mishap, inspired by a silly Urban Fantasy TV show (that I’d totally watch), results in Jack summoning Rachel in to Peri’s apartment. Jack and Peri assume she’s a counter-agent who’d been waiting for them to return to attack. Rachel has no clue who they are other than nitwits who summoned her away from a date and started attacking her. It doesn’t take her long to realize that her magic doesn’t work, and wherever she is, it’s a world she doesn’t recognize — Detroit still exists, people have technology she can only dream about, and the ley lines are deader than Arizona back home. The clock’s ticking and Peri and Rachel have to team up to get Rachel back home.

It’s silly, it’s fun — it’s pretty faithful to both series, it hopefully helps boost sales of The Drafter and its sequel.

I don’t really a lot to say without getting pretty heavy into spoilers, but I thought it was worth the pittance I spent on it, probably a little more. Fans of Harrison should give it a shot.

* I just revealed my age there, I know. I also know there are older examples, but that’s the first in my memory.

—–

3 Stars

The Drafter by Kim Harrison

The DrafterThe Drafter

by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles, #1
Hardcover, 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.

—–

5 Stars