The Devil You Know

Tor Books: Starscape. (Mercenary Librarians, Bk. 2). Aug. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250209382. pap. $16.99. SF
This follow-up to the post-apocalyptic Deal with the Devil focuses on Maya, part of the crew of Mercenary Librarians. She might not have the strength and speed of her comrades, but she did escape the genetic engineering of TechCorps and can remember everything she experiences through her senses; the sensory overload makes her life amazing at times and nearly unbearable at others. Now that the Mercenary Librarians are working with the Silver Devils, the former elite squad from the Protectorate, they are able to accomplish more than ever to help their piece of Atlanta survive. They discover that TechCorps is trading in genetically enhanced children, and Maya refuses to see another child suffer her own fate. Her counterpart is Gray, who knows that his time is waning and his neural implant is killing him; he vows to protect Maya for as long as he can. Yet even as their relationship heats up, they know it will eventually burn out and leave Maya’s heart in ashes. Rocha (the pseudonym of co-authors Donna Herren and Bree Bridges, known for their “Beyond” series) plots this book with a slower pace than its predecessor, giving readers time to delve into more backstory and broadening the secondary cast into a found family.
VERDICT This series entry begins to peel back the layers of the characters that make up the Mercenary Librarians and the Silver Devils, while giving hints to deeper secrets and conspiracies of the corrupt TechCorps and its plans for control.
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