@The Operator by Kim Harrison
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Changing time sounds like an awesome skill to have, unless it also means forgetting what the original timeline was after changing it. In book two of this series, Peri Reed is trying to live a quiet life. She enjoys her little coffee shop offering great wi-fi service. She is free from the corrupt black-ops government agency. She may not exactly remember the last three years, but she doesn't forget the adrenaline high of a job nor living the high life. There are a few downsides to living under the radar. For those who have not read the first book in the series or the accompanying novellas, this book may be a bit hard to get into first. Full disclosure, this is the first book in the series I picked up. Within the first few chapters, I caught up to speed and felt bad for Peri.
This story reminds me of Bourne Identity with Peri in the role of Jason Bourne. Ms. Harrison creates a world where there is intrigue and secret factions constantly fighting. In addition, there are people with powers that can change the world. Used for the bad, not so good. Used for the good, could be potentially lifesaving. The characters in this story are not exactly unlikeable but they are not endearing. Peri as a character is clearly an anti-hero. She is questionable with her morals. She tries to be good but the benefits of being bad are almost too good to resist. When I take a look at the benefits in the quality of material life, I can see how being corrupt pays off. However, the wearing down of the soul is what finally gets to Peri and keeps her out. Or it could just be she doesn't want to be anyone's puppet.
The story pulls me in because of the constant internal conflict Peri goes through. She struggles between her wants and needs. Her supporting cast are like the devil and the angel, trying to sway her one direction versus the other. It's an interesting dynamic as the various men in her life try to influence her to their way of thought. It is almost as if Peri is clay, to be molded by the man with the strongest hold on her. It's rather sad and pathetic which explains Peri's motivation. The crux of her rebellion is that she is tired of being what others want her to be. She wants to be herself and make her own decisions. She doesn’t want to be owned or controlled. And this is what pulls readers to Peri. This strong desire to have control over one's destiny. Not to be at the whims of "The Man".
I found this story to be intriguing. Whilst not a page turner, the gritty almost film noir feel of it did capture my attention. At the end of the story, I felt similar to Peri - pulled. Did I want to know what happens next? What will Peri decide? There are no great choices for her and her time is running out to make a decision. I enjoy stories which force a character to examine their own chains in slavery. Some willingly slip the choke collar on. Some don't realize they are wearing a collar and then there are those who fight against it even as they want the benefits which come with it. Peri will definitely lead the reader on and it will be a rough ride to her end. This urban fantasy from Ms. Harrison is one to note. It is starting with all the right elements. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Recommended for Urban Fantasy readers who enjoy anti-heroes with moral quandaries.
*provided by Edelweiss