Monday, November 14, 2016

#Monday Review - The Operative by Gerald Brandt #Science Fiction #Dystopian @GeraldBrandt @dawbooks

Series: San Angeles # 2
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: DAW
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction

Second in a trilogy, this far-future science fiction is set in Los Angeles—action adventure with a cyberpunk tone.

Kris Ballard’s life changed irrevocably when, a year ago, she was targeted for termination by the Meridian corporation, one of the mega-conglomerates that controls the government in this dystopian future. She hid amongst the underground resistance—but now, right as her training with the anti-corporate movement is nearing its end, their compound is destroyed. Ready or not, Kris and the other trainees are recalled to the dangerous metropolis of San Angeles. But their transport is shot down and Ian Miller, the man she loves, is captured. Someone, it seems, is using him to get to Kris.

With the help of a retired operative with PTSD, and the mysterious man who fled the scene when Kris’s parents were killed, Kris searches for any sign of Ian. As the corporations battle civil unrest—and each other—the city slowly shuts down. Kris is running out of time.

The Operative, by author Gerald Brandt, is the second installment in the San Angeles series. A series that takes place 100 years into the future. As I discussed in my view of The Courier, this is a world ruled, and dominated by Corporations. San Angeles is actually a place that stretches from San Diego to San Francisco. There are seven levels. The lowest levels are for the disinclined and others, while the top 3 levels are for those who means to support them. The corporations choose who the President will be, but he is their puppet. They decide who gets the best food, and places to live.

For the past year, Kris Merrill, formerly the Courier known as Kris Ballard, has been training in the Canadian wilderness with other ACE operatives to learn how to survive, and how to antagonize the corporations such as SoCal and Kadokawa. ACE is supposed to be like Greenpeace in that regards. But, something is truly fishy with the leadership of ACE. Kris and ACE operative Ian Miller are a couple, and he tries hard to get away to see her every chance he gets. Kris doesn't really have any friends, except perhaps Pat, a former operative who has a serious issue with PTSD, & is now cook at the camp. 

Kris has come far from the first book. Even though she is a loaner, and her past is anything but happy, she knows how to protect herself. She also enjoys the feeling of climbing when things weigh heavily on her mind. From the beginning, you get a feeling that something has changed drastically for ACE. ACE's boot camp is attacked and wiped out. The survivors face yet another threat that should clue others into the realization that someone has it bad for Kris, and will stop at nothing to bring her to her knees. Kris's journey in this book is almost as difficult to swallow as The Courier's. There is a whole lot of twisted revelations, devastating losses, along with the introduction of the rebellion who Kris has to ask help from. 

Brandt uses a variety of different characters to tell his story. They are Kris, Ian, Pat (very heart breaking past), Kai (same thing as Pat's, but maybe worse because of Kris), Jeremy Adams (the psycho who I thought was dead), William Clark (ACE), and Bryson Searls, son to Doc Searls who we met in The Courier, and again briefly in this story. I couldn't figure out the reason behind Bryson's inclusion into this story, except perhaps because he designed an important piece of technology that everyone wants. He gets a brief scene with Kris, Pat, and Kai, but after that, he is in his own reality.

Brandt leaves readers with a really twisted ending. One that obviously will carry over to the third installment. Needless to say, I am a bit of an emotional wreck after reading the final part of this book. Several characters, including Kris, and Ian, are pushed, and pushed some more, and you can only go so far in a review without shattering the non-spoilers ever rule. So, I shall sit her patiently and wait for Brandt and DAW to release the third installment which doesn't currently have a title or a release date. 

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