Mercenary Librarians, Book #3
Heat Factor: Hot enough
Character Chemistry: Dani and Rafe have had electric, elemental chemistry from the beginning of the series
Plot: Overthrowing an evil corporation and reinstating democracy, no big deal
Overall: I was honestly more invested in the dystopia plot than the romance
I do not recommend that anyone pick up Dance with the Devil as a standalone romance. There’s way too much backstory and too many secondary characters. Honestly, I couldn’t keep everything straight and I’ve read the other two books. If you’re interested in supersoldiers making the world a better place in future dystopian Atlanta, then I recommend starting with Deal with the Devil, and if you like it, read the trilogy straight through so that you can keep track of the timeline and everyone’s corporate call numbers and what the heck is going on with the Professor.
But here’s the thing with these books. They have two separate strands to them: dystopian adventure fiction with lots of action and a hopeful message, and romance. I found the big picture plot of what’s going on in the future US a lot more interesting than the growth of the romance between Dani (likes to brood, feels no pain, worked as an assassin, thinks she’s a monster) and Rafe (lots of charisma, loves everyone, extremely hot, genetically enhanced supersoldier). Sure, Dani and Rafe are cute enough, but enough emotions, what the heck is going on with all these evil scientists??? Because the book is doing so much, I don’t think it does either strand full justice. I was disengaged from the love story. And, I hate to say this, but I think the dystopia would have been better served by a longer, more epic book that really leaned into the multi-POV thing that Rocha dabbles with here—with less romance.
Despite this shortcoming, I will definitely keep reading Rocha’s books. I think the way Rocha approaches dystopia is really interesting: the world is both chilling and realistic, but the real project here is how to build community in the face of adversity and create something new and hopeful and better. Sometimes I need that injection of hope in my life, and the reminder that building community takes work. PLUS! The series ends on a huge ass cliffhanger! (Not about any of the characters, but rather about external things happening that might impact them in the future.) AHHHH! (Too bad it looks like I’ll be waiting a loooooong time for that story.)
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