Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Received From: NetGalley
An epidemic hits the country, and Brooklyn Harper is stolen from the life she knew.
Implanted in a rural camp, Brooklyn and her friends are severed from their families and the outside world. Each day is filled with combat training to assure their safety against a mysterious virus and the creatures it creates—violent humanoids with black blood.
Two years later, Brooklyn’s cabin-mate, Dawson Winters, finds a letter that shatters the illusion they’ve been living in. There is a world outside Camp Eleven, and the virus that supposedly destroyed their country seems non-existent.
After a daring escape, Brooklyn finds the world they’ve left behind harbors the normalcy she remembers. But when they are attacked by a black-blooded creature in the city, Brooklyn and her friends realize there is more to Camp Eleven than they thought.
Someone took them, someone trained them, and now someone is trying to find them.
As their exploration continues, the group is faced with impossible feats while betrayal, love, and secrets force Brooklyn and her friends to fight for their life, their freedom, and most of all, each other.
SEXUALITY: bisexual, pansexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic, panromantic, polyamory
PAIRING: F/F, M/F, M/M
TROPES: fighting as foreplay
TAGS: new adult, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Japanese character, Black character, POC characters
WARNINGS: explicit violence, gore, death, blood, kidnapping, plague/illness, nightmares, physical injury, genetic modifications, nonconsensual medical procedures, ableism, mental illness (anxiety, panic attack), torture, car accident, hospitalization, needles
Hope was a brave thing. A stupid thing. But she kept it close nonetheless.
OMEN OPERATION is a great opener to this exciting trilogy! It’s fast-paced, keeping the reader on their toes throughout the whole of the novel, and boasts an interesting, complex cast of characters–one can’t help but want to know more about them!
On the surface, the plot of this book may seem like your standard sci-fi dystopian novel. It has several aspects that play into that particular area of literature–overreaching and corrupt government, the seemingly fruitless struggle for personal autonomy, and more. But this story is more interesting to me for a multitude of reasons. The most important being that Brooke’s narrative centers queer people and people of color, making them the heroes, the anti-heroes, the ones that you find yourself rooting for, which is something that’s sorely lacking in a lot of different areas. Also, OMEN OPERATION featured far more unexpected twists and surprises than the standard fare. I actually gasped out loud at certain parts, and it made me flip through the pages faster and faster.
While I cannot personally speak to the POC rep (a Japanese character and several Black characters so far), I can as to the queer rep, and I, personally, really enjoyed Brooke’s depictions. Everyone in the novel is queer, with (presumably) the exception of the Big Bad. The main character is bisexual, one of her love interests is bisexual, another is pansexual, and the other is demisexual. There are also several gay characters and trans characters who play a large part in the overarching plot. I personally loved how easily Brooklyn, Porter, Gabriel, and Dawson accepted that different dynamics in their developing quad throughout the story. At no point did any of them demand more of their partners than they were willing to give. And while there were a few moments of jealousy and possessiveness, that was largely to due to extenuating circumstances more than a desire for them to stay away from each other.
Also, I really loved that the reveal of Amber as trans was in a capacity that was completely her choice. While the group is hiding out in a warehouse, she decides it’s okay to inject her hormones while Brooklyn, who she hadn’t come out to prior to this, is in the room. Multiple other characters already know, and when Brooklyn says she didn’t, Amber responds with, “Because I didn’t tell you.” She’s not forcibly outed in any way and is extremely comfortable with herself and the people she’s around.
The only character I had a difficult time connecting to was Gabriel. It’s more than likely because the book is almost entirely from Brooklyn’s point of view, with a few sections from Julian’s, and thus I wasn’t able to really get into Gabriel’s head and see her motivations outside of what Brooklyn is able to read on her. This made her a bit frustrating for me, but I’m really hoping to connect with her better in the second and third books.
As I mentioned, this is a wonderful start to the series, giving the reader the knowledge they need to follow the plot while also making them anticipate the next installment so they can figure out more. I look forward to more to come from this trilogy and this author!
Taylor Brooke (she/they) is a traveling story-teller, occult fanatic, and a science fiction junkie.
She worked as a special effects makeup artist for many years before she wrote her first book. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring the Pacific Northwest, backpacking, or reading. She writes #ownvoices Queer books about love, secrets and magic.