Rafe has been pining for Dani since she stabbed him a little bit the first time they met. Dani would have liked to work off the sexual tension between them, but once she adopted Rafe as one of her people, she couldn’t just tromp on his feelings. This is their book and Kit Rocha doesn’t make us wait too long before letting Dani and Rafe decide to risk heartbreak. Even more than the other books, this one explores the ways the characters feel like they’ve made themselves into monsters to survive living in TechCorps controlled Atlanta. Before they can fully reclaim themselves as humans, they have to accept that there is no ethical living under corporate control.
There are plenty of battles, fights, and action in Dance With the Devil. It’s a fun book with great characters, and some A+ heat between Rafe and Dani. If you want escape, it’s there.
But what I love best about the minds that make up Kit Rocha is that they understand the revolution is bigger than the gun fights and violence. The revolution is the former captain of a super soldier squad using his protective instincts to perfect a cookie recipe for a little girl, who was created to be a cheap instrument of war. The revolution is a clone designed to be a super soldier building a community center and figuring out how to feed people instead of kill them.
There’s something quintessentially Southern about The Mercenary Librarians, and it isn’t just peach pie and iced tea. It’s the recognition that the governing body wasn’t made to help you, but to keep you in line and out of the way. The refugees and the people who live in the shadow of TechCorps know that if they want to survive, they have to help themselves. Nina is the Heart that has gathered found family and allies together. In rescuing people for the sake of rescuing people, she has built not just an army capable of revolution, but also the infrastructure to govern in the aftermath. I keep going back to what Nina tells Knox early in Deal With the Devil:
I’m going to keep trying. Even if it changes nothing.”
This is the foundation of the series. There is value in trying regardless of long term success.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Tordotcom via NetGalley. My opinions are my own and freely given.