Review of “The Drafter” by Kim Harrison

The Drafter by Kim HarrisonA review by Vanessa.

In the not-so-distant future Detroit, the drafter Peri Reed finds herself in the middle of a power struggle.  Peri’s rare talent for re-writing time makes her a precious commodity and her training as an agent, for a secret branch of the government known as Opti, makes her a dangerous weapon.  She revels in her work and her missions, and loves the danger and prestige but she has a very large blind spot… drafting comes with inevitable memory loss.  She can draft at any moment, and change whatever events happened in the previous minute or so, but even that much change can steal minutes, days, or even years of her own memory.  She never clearly remembers what happened in the first timeline, or the second.  Peri is lucky to have Jack, an anchor, who has his own rare talent that allows him to experience and remember both timelines that Peri drafts and help her recall some lost time while forgetting conflicting memories that might drive her crazy.  He also happens to be her partner and lover.  But when Peri’s name lands on a list of corrupt agents she has to start asking some hard questions about exactly what it is she may have forgotten.  When Jack does not quite have all of the right answers, she has to wonder exactly what memories he has taken from her.

Silas works for the Alliance, a group that does not believe that Opti is ethical in their use of the power of Drafters or that any agency should exclusively wield such power.  He has the answer to some of Peri’s questions, and he wants to find out the truth of what is going on at Opti as much as she does.  Silas knows Peri but gaining her trust is going to be difficult when Peri doesn’t remember…

The action is fast paced, and Peri finds herself at the center of the struggle completely unsure who is the good guy and who is the bad guy, and even more importantly, what side she is on.  How can you know if you are a good person if you cannot remember what you’ve done or why you did it?

This book was a fascinating, and strangely challenging, read.  The story line’s complexity made following along a bit difficult at times.  The action is great right from the beginning but understanding the rules of Peri’s world was an awkward effort at first.  However, it always felt as though the effort to understand was worth it.  Also interesting and challenging was the perspective presented by the author.  Multiple characters perspectives are used to tell the story but the most complex was Peri’s perspective, when she drafts and suddenly she cannot even remember what she had just been doing.  Enticing tidbits of information were available to the reader that were lost to the main character almost immediately and it made for a very engaging, though sometimes overly complex, read.  Even though the reader is aware of aspects that Peri is not, there is still this feel of a mystery/spy genre blended with all of the best aspects of Urban Fantasy.  As Harrison’s follow up series to her rousingly popular Rachel Morgan series, this is definitely a drastic change in world building.  Harrison has ditched the vamps, werewolves, witches, and fae-folk, and gone much more sci-fi in her universe and strangely a bit darker.  But as someone who absolutely loved the Rachel Morgan series, I can say though this diverges from her typical genre, it is not disappointing.  I am very excited to see what develops in this new world, and to find out what Peri is going to do next.


My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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