I am a big fan of sci fi thrillers, but this one just did not work for me.
Peri Reed is a drafter: she can go back in time a few seconds to change herI am a big fan of sci fi thrillers, but this one just did not work for me.
Peri Reed is a drafter: she can go back in time a few seconds to change her timeline. Each draft she does, however, she loses time. She also risks having a complete psychotic break if too many doubled timelines exist in her head. She needs an anchor – a handler who grounds her, defrags her memories, and reminds her of the time she’s lost. Peri’s ability makes her the perfect assassin – and she’s used as a weapon by the secret government-backed organization Opti. Opti gives Peri the lavish lifestyle that she craves, but a corrupt sector of Opti is also using the organization for its own goals. Peri finds out about the betrayal and loses three years after she’s wiped by the corrupt faction. Peri knows her memories are gone, but not what they were. But she knows something is off. Then Silas whirls into her life, telling her about the corrupt Opti faction. Silas is a member of the alliance – a splinter group of drafters and anchors who want to fight against Opti’s monopoly on drafter power.
The concept is unabashedly cool and the perfect set up for a summer blockbuster. But it was all flash and no substance. The characters were wafer-thin and I kept finding myself muddled and confused.
Peri is spoiled and reckless. Her unabashed elitism and craving for elegance gives her some dimension, but becoming an amnesiac every few chapters and having to have the entire book’s plot explained to her repeatedly gets annoying. Silas is boring – a large, handsome man with an attitude problem who wants to protect Peri (i.e., generic romantic hero syndrome). And I could never figure out how old he is – he seems like a crotchety old man, and he’s developed all this breakthrough technology that Opti is abusing. But he’s also Peri’s love interest, and Peri seems to be 25 tops (or a super immature late 20s). So he’s not that old? Or maybe she has a thing for older men?
I also don’t understand Opti – there’s a corrupt faction? Or is it ALL corrupt? Because it clearly seems all corrupt - or the US government is just acting so badly that it makes the 1970s CIA look like the Red Cross in comparison. And is the US the only country with drafters? Wouldn’t we be in some kind of drafter arms race? Why isn’t there any government oversight of Opti whatsoever? Or even a task force once there’s acknowledgment that there’s corruption (because the McGuffin in this book is a list of corrupt Opti agents – which means that someone knows there’s corruption going on; plus Big Bad Opti leader Bill is tasked with rooting out the corruption).
It is also unclear WHAT the corrupt faction is getting out of its abuse of power. Money? Power? A plan to take over the world? For a while I thought it would turn out that the corrupt faction was being used by the Billion Under Thirty club that keeps getting mentioned. But it seems like Opti as a whole serves the interests of the Billion Under Thirty. So again I ask, what makes the corrupt Opti faction any different than Opti itself and what makes the corrupt want to be corrupt and not regular well-paid Opti agents?
The alliance is no better – what the hell is their goal anyway? And why are they mostly portrayed as histrionic divas? Fran, the head of alliance, does nothing but throw hissy fits and decides she hates Peri for no good reason – alliance continuously wants to wipe Peri clean or even take away her drafting abilities (which would make her unable to maintain long-term memories).
I also can't get a grasp on the world that Drafter is set in. This takes place 15 seconds in the future (2030), but the world has changed quite a bit. Some of the changes were neat ideas that are solid extrapolations of trends today - mannequins are holograms that can change depending on viewer's tastes and facial recognition cameras are everywhere, so some people wear extreme makeup/face paint to fool the facial recognition software. I'm not sure if these things will appear in 15 years, but they are interesting ideas. But the constant mention of "glass" technology confused me and was never explained - unless "glass" technology is a new competitor to Apple??
I have no interest in sticking around for the next volume. I didn't enjoy the plot or the world enough, and I didn't find the characters worth getting to know better. For being a thriller with pretty constant running and fighting, my attention kept wandering. ...more