I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.
I don't know about Orphan Black and Avengers, but Deal with the Devil definitely made me think of Ilona Andrews and their Hidden Legacy and Kate Daniels series (two of my all-time faves)! This book was full of adventure, steamy sex, and the unbreakable bonds of found families. I devoured this book and cannot wait to see what happens next! The story had a satisfying conclusion, but the last chapter left me feeling totally floored. It was just so unexpected (giving me hope while also destroying a piece of my soul), but really sets up the next book!
I love stories that start off with a bang and hit the ground running, and Deal with the Devil did not disappoint! I never felt like the world was foreign to me, because the authors explained it through conversations and character observations. There was no info-dumping, just information gained from being immersed in the world. It was brilliantly written and explained, and I seriously could not put this one down. It's been ages since I read a book in one sitting, but I easily could have sat on the couch with this one and not gotten up until I'd turned the last page. It actually took me two days to finish this book (#momlife), but the story was on my mind even when it wasn't in my hands - - that's a good book.
The characters were amazing and really fleshed out. I adored Nina and loved her optimism even when faced with impossible odds. She cared deeply about others, and she was able to hold her own in battle and in bed (having sex with a super solider could potentially be dangerous, but she made it clear from the start that she wasn't fragile or gentle 😉). Knox was all about control and discipline, and I laughed every time Nina thwarted his attempts to keep tabs on her and her group. He was also extremely committed to his team. He made it clear from the start that their lives were his top priority, even if it cost him something he wouldn't normally be willing to give. He would risk everything for Conall, Rafe, and Gray, which is why I understood his rationalizations when it came to Nina and her crew.
I still don't like it when a book's main conflict is a lie or withheld information, but I thought the authors did a wonderful job making it look believable. I was (mostly) okay with it this time, so I think that really says something. Knox was really struggling with himself and what decisions he could live with, and which ones would break him forever. He wanted to protect his team, but he also didn't want to sacrifice someone else to do it (even though he would have - - in a heartbeat - - if it meant saving someone on his team). His internal struggles were realistic and made the lies understandable and somewhat forgivable. It also wasn't the only conflict, so it was easy to focus on the other issues they were dealing with.
Both teams have to be careful with their identities and their histories, so they're unwilling to share too much personal information with strangers. There are bad people looking for all of them (although for very different reasons), so secrecy is their best defense. Unfortunately, they don't have all the resources they need, so they have to play dirty and get creative. I loved the sticky situations they found themselves in, and really enjoyed seeing them work together to get out of trouble.
The secondary characters were equally fantastic, and I really hope we see more of them in future books. I don't know if they're all going to be from Nina and Knox's perspectives, or if the authors are going to rotate through the characters. It's obvious who the pairings will be, but I still want to see them happen! I think they've set up future books really well, and look forward to diving back into this world in the future. (★★★★★)