Deal with the Devil (Book Review)
by Kit Rocha
2 / 5 Stars
Nothing, absolutely nothing on the book cover or jacket suggests that this is a ROMANCE and not an action-adventure. The book has action scenes, yes, but the majority of this novel is focused on the typical 3-Act Structure, formulaic Romance tropes. I don’t have an issue with Romance as a genre, but I do have a problem when a book is marketed as an adventure-action and it instead is a FULL ON Romance. If I had known it was a Romance going in, I wouldn't be so harsh (nor would I have read it!), but I’m hella annoyed at this deception.
The story is simple enemies-to-lovers in a dystopian setting. There are three women (Nina, Dani, Maya). There are four dudes who are supersoldiers. Soldier boys want to rescue their other teammate from a mysterious kidnapper who wants to exchange said teammate for Nina. Soldiers trick ladies into going with them. Nina and the soldier's leader, Knox, spend the entire novel wanting to have sex with one another and then having sex and suffering from betrayals. If you want some (very long) sex scenes in a dystopian setting, then you'll be satisfied with this, I guess.
The world-building is hardly fleshed out. Is it post-apocalyptic? Is it dystopian? We are given the bare minimum of the world the characters exist in. I never once felt like the characters were living under any sort of hardship. They have all the food, alcohol, clothing, weapons, ammo, and gas that they need to travel around on their glorified road trip to bone town.
The story itself is quite boring and the plot was full of holes and obvious twists. While there are action scenes, they clearly exist as a way to “show off” Knox and Nina to one another. There are copious descriptions of how much they are attracted to one another, to the extent that it’s eye-rolling, but I didn’t feel an actual connection. Aside from finding one another hot, they don’t really bond on an emotional level. I mean, we’re told they do, but I didn’t believe it. I was much more interested in the subtle attraction between Maya and Gray, truth be told. But maybe because it wasn’t so in-your-face. For someone who prefers a long, painfully drawn-out romance, or at least one that has emotional resonance, knowing the characters were going to have sex at the mid-way point was hardly stimulating.
What was really disappointing was the “mercenary librarians” thing. This has almost no relevance in the story. They rarely talk about this aspect and it’s not like they’re traveling around hunting for books. My ire with this book rose more when I realized I was duped by a premise that didn’t pan out.
Did I like anything about the story? It was a very fast read. Had it not been so easy to read I probably would have given up. I liked Dani, I guess?
If you love Romance (nothing wrong with that) featuring muscle-bound soldier boyz (not my preferred Romance male lead), feisty ladies, and a dystopia, then you'll probably like this. Which is how it SHOULD have been marketed.