Kit Rocha-The Devil You Know

It is a known fact that I love Kit Rocha books. The two talented ladies behind the books have written some of the most aggressively feminist books I’ve ever read, really well balanced with strong female characters and strong male characters. The Beyond books, which I often describe as fucking to save the world, is dystopic and post-apocalyptic. The Mercenary Librarian series, which is so far only 2 books, The Devil You Know is the second, takes place in the same world as those books, but in Atlanta, instead of out West, like the Beyond books. You don’t have to have read the Beyond books to know what is going on in this series, but you do need to read the Mercenary Librarians in order.

Our prime couple in this book are Maya and Gray. They have both been modified by Techcorps. Gray has had implants put in his brain and was turned into a super soldier and sniper. That’s why he’s one of the members of the Silver Devils. Maya’s brain has been messed with, and she has perfect recall. PERFECT. RECALL. As in, if she had a lover who was tortured in front of her, she would never be able to forget it. She was used as a data courier by one of the VPs of Techcorps. The VP, Birgitte, put all of her secrets into Maya’s head. Everything is in Maya’s head, including the revolution that Birgitte was fomenting. When Birgitte was “promoted”, Maya escaped Techcorps, faked her death, and met Nina and Dani.

Now, years after that, her little group of friends has swelled from just Nina and Dani to also include the Silver Devils, including Gray. She’s always totally aware of Gray. She likes him, but she’s worried. That’s because for most of her life, Maya has been told that data couriers’ brains will basically break down because of all the stimulation that gets absorbed into their brains. She works really hard at keeping the stimulation low so that she doesn’t waste any of the time that she has left. But Gray. He tempts her so much. She wants him. She likes him.

Gray has his own secrets. One of them is that his implants are failing. His life is counted in months, if not weeks. But he has such strong feelings for Maya. He really wants to get closer to her, but he doesn’t really want to leave her and he really doesn’t want her to fall in love with him and then have to suffer after his death. But there’s just something about her. He has to be around her, protect her, and help her. In fact, he trains her in a new technique that Maya ends up being really good at, and loving a lot.

I really like both of these characters. They are both really strong. They each have their own weaknesses, I mean, they are human. No human is perfect, not even super soldiers. The thing is, neither Gray nor Maya take advantage of the other’s weaknesses. Instead, they prop each other up in those weak places. They each help the other be a better them. They don’t make each other complete, because both Maya and Gray are complete on their own, but what they do is make the other more. It’s like 1+1=2.5, not just 2. They are better together than they are apart. And I think that is beautiful. That is one of the things that I really like about Kit’s books. Yes, the characters have growth to do, and they might not be the healthiest, mentally, but each character is complete in themselves, or is becoming that way. They don’t need to have a partner to complete themselves, and the relationships make each person better, not whole. Does that make sense? It really does in my head.

The romance in this one is a slow burn, but it fits for Maya and Gray. The story, though, that isn’t a slow burn. We do get glimpses into other people’s heads, with their own chapters. I really like that, because it does let us see more of what is going on. I can’t wait for the next book. It’s going to be so good.

OK, that’s it for today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Kit Rocha-Deal With the Devil

I love post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. One of my absolute favorite series is Kit Rocha’s Beyond series. (The first one, Beyond Shame, is available for free on Amazon) I recommend it to people often, and generally describe it as fucking to save the world. And it is that, and there is a whooooole lot of fucking. But it is so much more than that. The series is subversive, funny, sad, intense, dark, light-filled, and a helluva good story. The ladies who make up Kit Rocha have done a fantastic job with worldbuilding, creating something that is gritty and realistic without being over the top or so dark and dirty that you don’t want to experience the world. It feels very real, and the characters in it become friends and family. In fact, Jas, from the first book, is one of my 3 core book boyfriends.

Anyway, when I heard that there was a new series in the works, the Mercenary Librarians (best series title ever, right?) I was all like sign me up! I knew that it wouldn’t be in the Sectors like te Beyond books or the spinoff Gideon’s Riders books, but it would take place in the same world, just a different location. So, I started counting down the days until Deal With the Devil came out, and I was not disappointed one little bit, not that I expected to be.

So, for those who are unfamiliar with the world in general, it takes place in the middle of the 21st century. The world has basically fallen into complete hell. There were Energy Wars, and all manner of unrest. Then, finally, about 40 years before the books take place, there were massive solar flares that did huge amounts of damage. Now, the world is very local. People don’t do a lot of traveling, instead they live in safe-ish towns and cities, and the empty spaces in between are the homes of raiders and who knows what else. It’s very much a case of safety in numbers, and also very much might makes right. Those in power can be ruthless, corrupt, crooked, and do some terrible things. This series takes place in Atlanta and at the moment, there is very little crossover with the Sectors, which are in the west. Atlanta is ruled by the TechCorps HQ and their Protectorate. And of course, they are pretty absolute about their rules, and Atlanta is pretty much a company town.

In this setting, we have Nina and her partners, Maya and Dani. They are a team and each has her own specialty. They are all modified and trained so that they can be the very best they can at their specialty, and they are that. Nina is an information broker. If you want information on something or you need something moved or found, Nina is your goto lady. She will get what you need and get it to where you need. And heaven help anyone who gets in her way. If they are lucky, she will only hurt them, a lot. If they aren’t, she will kill them, and do it quick. The 3 ladies are the cornerstone of their neighborhood. They help take care of people, including doing things like printing out books for people to read, digitizing books that they can find so that they can print them out for people, providing freeze-drying services so that people can store the food that they grow, instead of having to buy from the company store. (And yes, I have Tennesse Ernie Ford and 16 Tons running through my head while I’m writing about the company store) All the ladies ask is for a percentage of the food or a fee to cover the paper costs. Nina, Maya, and Dani are also working on renovating their basement so that there is a warm, safe place for winter for the people who don’t have one. They aren’t really idealists, but they are very much leaders, especially Nina.

Then we have the Silver Devils, Knox, Rafe, Connall, and Gray. The Silver Devils were the best team that the Protectorate had to offer. Then Knox started going off the rails. He made decisions that didn’t quite match the goals of his superiors. So, they locked the men up in see-through cells, and let Mason, their medic die. You see, these guys all have bio-engineered implants that make them stronger, smarter, whatever. But the implants need periodic adjustment, otherwise they start to fail, and when the implants fail, the person gets sick and eventually dies. That’s what happened to Mason. It’s not a quick process, and it could be called torture. That experience made the Silver Devils leave. But they are now in trouble because their biohacker has been kidnapped and their implants are all starting to fail. The kidnapper has told them what the ransom is. It’s Nina. The Silver Devils are to bring Nina to a certain location, and they will be able to get their biohacker back. Now all they have to do is to come up with a hook with which to catch Nina. And what do you bait a hook meant to catch an information broker with? A lost library.

So, Nina is pretty awesome. She’s everything I expect from a Kit Rocha heroine. She’s ballsy, strong, vulnerable, loyal, loving, and a leader. I like her better than I like Knox. It’ not that I don’t like him, it’s just that I identify with her more. There’s just something about her that is really powerful. I’m not going to say that she’s like Lex, or Six, or Jyoti or any of the O’Kane women, (I just chose those 3 because of their positions in the Beyond series), that would be a disservice to all of them. What I will say is that all the women are cut from the same cloth or at least the same kind of cloth. I’m pretty sure that there would be a lot of respect in between Lex and Nina. In fact, I really hope in some future book that they manage to get together. That would be totally epic.

We don’t get to learn as much about Maya and Dani as we do Nina, because she is the focus of this book. But, we do get in their heads a little bit. I really like how Kit Rocha doesn’t always just give us POV chapters of the main characters. That lets us meet the supporting cast and become friends with them before we get their book. I think that Dani is really going to be fun. And probably murdery. But fun.

So, let’s talk about Knox. He is not a bad man. He has done some bad things. There’s a difference. He is a desperate man. I also think that he’s afraid. Things are way out of his control, and he doesn’t know what he can do, and his team is starting to fall apart, including him, and the stress isn’t making things better. It will be interesting in later books to see if there is a difference between Knox in this book and him in those books. I like him. I like how he is willing to go to extremes to make sure that his men are going to be OK. I don’t necessarily agree with the extremes he’s willing to go to, but I respect the actions. He does have a journey to go through in this book, and it’s one that really opens his eyes.

Now that I’ve read DWTD, I’m now counting down the days until the next one. And when I binge read the Sectors again, and it will happen soon, since it always is coming soon, DWTD will go right after.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. You should definitely go check this one out! Happy reading!

books-1163695_1920

 

Kit Rocha-Beyond-The People

Thursday was a brief overview of the world of the Beyond series. Today it’s all about the people. I’ll probably end up talking the most about the people of Sector 4, just because I love them so much. I love this series, it’s one I read, reread, and then read some more. I’ll go straight through the entire series and then the sequels and spinoffs. Yes, I am that person. I won’t talk too much about couples, just because I don’t want to give any spoilers away so it may seem like I gloss over some people. I’m also going to have to be careful because if I’m not, just this part will end up as 17 parts. I think I may just end up naming a few of the really key players. Of course, they are all key players, but… It’s so hard to write this post, you don’t even know! I mean, do I list all my favorite characters and couples? Do I list every single main character? Do I list them by books? I think that I will just list a few, and talk about more as I talk about the various stories. That’s probably the best way to do it.

Really, the characters are so good and so layered, and as each book goes on, we learn more about old friends and meet new ones. You can’t pick up the novels and read them out of order, but there are novellas that you can check out.

No discussion of the sectors can be complete without talking about Dallas O’Kane. He is the barbarian king of all he surveys. He rose up from nothing and created an empire on the back of his liquor. His real name is Declan, and he came from a ranch in TX, run by his mom. He eventually made his way to Eden and the sectors and started carving out his place. He took over leadership of 4 because he really needed to and now leads it as well as he can. He’s a responsible leader and does what he can to make the people of his sector have a good life. Dallas’ parties are legendary, for good reason. They turn into orgies. Really, the O’Kanes are into touching and affection, whether that means fucking or not, and there is A LOT of fucking, in any way that you can think of. Don’t let all that fool you though, Dallas is wicked smart and has a plan. He also has his queen, Lex.

Alexa Parrino, don’t call her that though, she will cut you, was born in Sector 2 and sold to Orchid House to be trained as a courtesan. Orchid House has always led 2, which means Cerys was the leader when Lex was there. Lex ran away as a teenager and lived on the streets of 3 as a thief. She was trained in just about every way you can manipulate a man, anatomy, politics, how to cut a bitch, all that kind of stuff. She is smart, tricksy, astute, and can read you in 10 seconds or less. She doesn’t just exude sex, she is sex. Dallas may be the power, but Lex is the finesse. Without either one, you don’t have the O’Kanes. She helped him build it up, after she got caught stealing from him. People who underestimate Lex end up with her knife being the last thing they see. I really want to be Lex if and when I ever choose to grow up.

If Dallas is the king, and Lex is the queen, then Nessa is definitely the O’Kane Princess. Nessa was born on Dallas’ family ranch, and he thinks of her as a little sister. Nessa and her grandfather followed Dallas up from TX. Nessa and her skills are vital to the O’Kanes and their success. She is the key to their fortune and is protected, sometimes a little much, by every O’Kane out there. The guys tend to run off anyone she’s interested in. She is their distiller and has been making the O’Kane booze since she was a teenager, taught by her grandfather. There are times that things have to happen to her alcohol that causes her pain. I like Nessa, mostly because there are things about her that I really connect with, in particular, her habit of trying new things until she gets bored, and then moves on. I’ve BTDT, and I’m pretty sure I may have made the t-shirt before I got bored.

Jasper and Bren are Dallas’ right and left hands. Jasper came out of the farms, having been sold to a farmer when he was a child. Jasper was given to Dallas and has been his good right hand and chief enforcer ever since. Bren is about as different to Jasper as you can get. He was Military Police in Eden, but was framed and kicked out. He is patient, careful, and methodical. If Dallas needs a sneak job or an assassin, Bren is the man to do it. He’s also really into pain, as in on Fight Nights, he lets he opponents beat on him for a while and then a willing volunteer takes her place in the cage with him.

Taken as a whole, the O’Kanes are a family, led by Lex and Dallas. Whether they came out of Eden, like Cruz, Noelle, Rachael, Bren, or out of the sectors, like Mad, Jade, and Ace, or out of other places like Jas and Six, they have all managed to come together and turn Sector 4 into a home and the O’Kanes into a family who accepts them and loves them.

okane

Kit Rocha-Beyond-Eden and the Sectors

Kit Rocha is a pseudonym for Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. They have another one as well, but that’s a subject for another day. Today we are looking at the cheerfully filthy world of the Sectors and the O’Kanes.

The Beyond series is post-apocalyptic and dystopian. In this series, the world as we know it ended in a series of solar flares, which pretty much killed off anything electrical, and pretty much ended the world. There was one city in the US which was prepared. Of course, it was prepared because they had some warning that this was happening. It was the city of Eden. Eden was supposed to be the most perfect, magical, wondrous thing ever. Of course, it wouldn’t be dystopian if that were true, now would it?

Outside of hygienic, self-righteous, sanctimonious, and puritanical Eden are the sectors. The sectors are dirty, gritty, run by different leaders, filled with gangs, and just about everything you could think of. There are 8 of them, and each one has its own flavor and its own thing.

Sector 1 is run by Gabriel Rios, the grandson of the Prophet. It’s run as a religious republic, full of love, light, and other sunshiny, sparkly things. There are a lot of artisans and crafters who live in Sector 1. Sector 1 also has Gabriel’s Riders, a group of fighters and enforcers who do Gabriel’s work. More about them later.

Sector 2 is run by Cerys, head of Orchid House. Sector 2 is all about courtesans and training girls to be courtesans. There are different Houses, specializing in different things. Generally, a House takes a young girl and spends years training her up until she gets sold to her patron. Lex was trained in Orchid House and Cerys wanted her to be her successor. We’ll learn more about Lex later too. Let’s just say Long Live Our Queen.

Sector 3, when the first book opens, is run by a guy named Trent. Pure fucking asshole. Sector 3 used to be one of the manufacturing bases for Eden until they got too uppity and Eden firebombed them. Now they are pretty much a pile of rubble. Dallas has to deal with the leaders though since the grain for his whiskey often comes from farms outside of 3.

Sector 5 makes medication and suchlike. They also make a lot of street drugs. The leader, whose name I can’t currently remember but who becomes more important in a couple of later books, is a right fucker. He likes to get young women strung out on his drugs and fuck them. He also makes sure that there is an ingredient that makes the drugs more addictive, even if they don’t need to be.

There isn’t a lot of difference between Sectors 6 and 7. They are both farming sectors, providing the majority of the food for Eden. Whatever is left, the farmers are welcome to have. However, Eden is greedy, and they want more and more and more, leaving the farmers with less and less and less.

Sector 8 is the head of tech and manufacturing. It’s run by Jim Jerrigan, a wily man who plots and schemes. We really don’t ever learn too much about him other than that, or spend much time in 8.

Outside of the sectors are the communes and illegal farms. The communes are another way for Eden to get food. Unlike Eden, which pumps contraceptives into the water, having babies is important on the communes. The more babies, the more people to work the farms and the more people who work the farms, the more Eden gets. It doesn’t matter if women wear themselves out working and having babies with the fertility drugs they are given, there are always more. Yeah, the people in Eden are a whole lot of fucking hypocrites. The illegal farms are just that. They’ll deal with just about anyone.

Outside of that, there is pretty much a wasteland. There are other people around, but there aren’t a lot of them and there aren’t a whole lot of settlements. Trade exists, but it’s hard to do, making imported goods really, really expensive.

You may have noticed if you were paying attention, that I skipped Sector 4. I did that for a reason. That’s because Sector 4 is where the majority of our stories take place. Sector 4 is led by our King, Dallas O’Kane. He’s a bootlegger and a damn good one. He has made a fortune by selling whiskey, good, better, and the absolute best ever. They also make some other kinds of liquor, but whiskey is what O’Kane is known for. He has Lex, his Queen, to help him. They met back when she tried to rob him and he caught her. But, she did help him build up his power base.

Dallas has a gang, the O’Kanes. They help him to run the sector. They are also all casually and cheerfully debauched. I take that back, some of them are debauched like it’s their job. All the O’Kanes wear tattoo cuffs around their wrists, laid by Ace, who is obscene, filthy, and talented. He uses the O’Kane logo for part of the cuff and then designs the rest of it depending on the person getting the cuffs. Each tattoo is different. Whenever a new O’Kane gets their cuffs, they drink in and have a helluva party.

The O’Kanes have a compound in which they live, make the booze, have fight night, and have their bar, the Broken Circle. The bar not only is a bar, but it’s also the setting for all kinds of shows, stripping, sex, whipping, so on and so forth. Then there’s Dallas’ party room. That’s where the O’Kanes let loose and really party. Those parties make Roman orgies look tame. Pretty much anything goes, as long as no one gets hurt more than they want, and it’s all consensual. You can have sex with anyone you want, any way you want, and in any number you want. If you want to play with a group, you can. If you want to be watched, you can. If you want to watch, you can. Basically, if it feels good, do it.

OK, I thought this was going to be a 2 parter, but I think it’s going to be a 3 parter, with part 3 on Sunday, talking about the newest book. Tomorrow is going to focus on the people of the Beyond series. Meanwhile, happy reading!

pexels-photo-602750