When I read the premise for Kit Rocha’s Deal with the Devil, I immediately knew I would love it.
Nina is an information broker with a mission–she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America. Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive. They’re on a deadly collision course and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process… Or they could do the impossible: team-up.
A tech corporation runs this fictional world with an iron fist. Using bio-engineering, they recruit and mold super-soldiers to do their bidding. Nina is special and was trained from birth to kill. And yet she came out with a heart of gold. She can never ignore those in need. We meet Nina long after she escaped her childhood horrors. She lives by her own rules in the Atlanta outskirts with her two best friends, Maya and Dani. Dani can’t feel pain and is deadly with a knife. Maya has an enhanced photographic memory with the tech database in her brain. They take mercenary delivery jobs and put their tech knowledge to good use for the neighborhood. They make sure no one goes hungry and are always on the lookout for new information. Besides the nightmares, things are good for Nina. That is until she meets Knox.
Knox and his unit, the Silver Devils, are on the run from the said tech giant. They get into a bind when their hacker/scientist friend named Luna is kidnapped. She is the only one who can fix the chip slowly killing them. Thus, in exchange for Luna, Knox’s team must capture Nina. Despite being super-soldiers, they prefer to only kill those who deserve it and help civilians when they can. They reluctantly make this proverbial deal with the devil to save their friend and themselves. Piece of cake for enhanced soldiers, right? Turns out Nina is faster than anyone they’ve ever battled before. Avoiding a direct attack, they tempt Nina with a map to a fabled cache of pre-apocalypse treasures. She is suspicious but would love to claim those spoils before anyone else does. If Knox and his team cross her, she plans to simply take them out. Somehow on their road trip, the two teams grow close. Not to mention, the sizzling connection between Nina and Knox. Things get more complicated when someone from Nina’s past surfaces.
Mercenaries on a mission to find a secret stash of knowledge? With elements of sci-fi and steamy romance? All these things are extremely my shit. Nina and her crew were beyond bad-ass. I really enjoyed the scenes when they turn the tables on men who underestimate them. Knox is a burnt-out soldier looking for a reason to live. Nina is a mercenary with a soul. Their haunted pasts make them intriguing love interests. The romance moved at a fast-pace, much like the action, which I didn’t mind. Nina was treated like a caged bird in regards to dating, which did frustrate me at times. Once her history is revealed, her emotions made more sense. I like how Knox complimented Nina. The story may sound dark, but there is an undercurrent of hope. Dani and Rafe, one of the Silver Devils, have dangerously humorous banter. Even though odds are against them all, I rooted for these characters. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this series. Thankfully, book two comes out this summer!
If you’re interested in near-future sci-fi/fantasy stories with library loving protagonists fighting evil corporations, go read this immediately. Also highly recommend this to Dark Angel or Orphan Black fans.
Read more of my reviews on my blog, Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.