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 of omission might still save her life.
Peri has been lied to, manipulated, and ultimately betrayed by the man she trusted most and as The Operator starts she's off the grid, determined to stay free of the crooked agencies that would use her and then scrub her memories. A peaceful life is too much to ask for though and Peri's past is catching up, but this time they dangle a huge carrot! Whilst 'drafters'lose all memory of events they change Opti have developed a drug that would enable the user to keep their memories. For Peri, it's almost impossible to resist, as relying on those who 'anchor' her hasn't exactly worked in her favour but the price is high. In order to be whole, Peri would have to work for her enemies and oh yes, there's that little side effect known as addiction! No more 'anchors' controlling her but Peri doesn't want to swap one prison for another, would you?
Well, what a humdinger of a dilemma Ms Harrison poses. Set in a futuristic Detroit (yes there are amazing cars, natch!), it's an odd mixture of capitalism and savage poverty. Speaking of which, Peri and those around her seem obsessed with wealth and material possessions so it makes her quite hard to like initially. What strikes me though is the simple fact that Peri might lose chunks of memory due to her overworked brain, but her possessions remain which probably help ground her.
The characters surrounding Peri are even more unlikable if I'm honest, and it's hard to understand some of their motives. Those working for Opti are odious and one in particular is insane! The government types seem little better and yet there's one who shines but even then, I just wanted a little more.
So now I come to the romantic angle, Jack, whose treachery cost Peri so much and Silas who is pretty much a mystery when it comes to motives. Peri doesn't really know who to trust but with a killer on her tail and a drug messing up her system all she can do is keep going forward or maybe back if that's what's needed!
This is a complex idea but it's essentially good versus evil, I guess. Whilst Peri is never warm and fluffy, she does look out for those she thinks deserve saving. As The Operator ended, I was left with a conundrum as there are peripheral characters I simply don't trust but that's the beauty of this series I think.
So much is laid out in front of the reader and yet how much of it is smoke and mirrors? It's an easier book to read than the previous one, 'The Drafter', as this time at least Peri has some idea what she really wants which enables the reader to get onboard much quicker.
Definitely nothing like The Hollows books I associate with Ms Harrison and best read in order but wow, what a concept.
This is a voluntary review of an Advance Reader Copy.