Series: The Reckless Damned
Time to read: 1h51m
Date read: Tue 2nd – Wed 3rd May 2023 (re-read)
Hey, new bestie!
Okay, not that I don’t love Harlow, but that was a given from the get-go. Dude turns up in a fab outfit to deal with a dead body on his brother’s floor? And he’s the most badass of the bunch? Obviously, I love him.
Whereas River, on the other hand, definitely didn’t make as dramatic a first impression. After all, he’s just some human turning up to make a deal in Mori’s club.
It’s never that simple.
Let’s start with Mori. Poor, sweet, definitely not grumpy Mori. He’s been waiting for his mate for a long time. He and his brothers left hell because Mori was in love with a human, and although that all ended terribly sadly, Mori’s waiting on his mate. After all, Cal and Harlow have found theirs. Surely his should be on his way?
Needless to say, Mori’s optimistic when he first meets River. Up until it’s pretty obvious that River’s human and not his mate and doesn’t want anything more from Mori than his assistance in finding River’s lost brother.
River’s got his own secrets. He’s actually an incredibly powerful mage and he’s looking for his brother, Blaise (yeah, that guy!), who’s gone missing in the same way many mages have over the past few months. River doesn’t want to lie to Mori, not really, but what choice does he have? He can’t find Blaise himself and he knows the brothers will tear Blaise to pieces if he doesn’t strike up a deal that protects them both.
And I loooove River for it. A hidden identity trope is my fave, and although it sucks for Mori and the others, it makes perfect sense for River to go with it here. He’s powerful, but not really impulsive. He’s meticulous. Every possible path to finding Blaise has led him here, and River’s not about to let himself get distracted.
Well, not too much.
I love him as a character, too. He’s so independent, and having him be just about as powerful as the demons in his own way, as well as used to looking after himself, makes for an interesting dynamic between him and Mori. Don’t get me wrong, I love Oscar and Bailey, but there’s something to be said for having a partner who can physically fight alongside his mate. It means, too, that Mori and River have other issues to work through – neither of them are easily physically threatened, so the danger lies elsewhere.
Mori is lovely, too. While Harlow’s softness when it comes to Bailey might be unexpected, Mori’s is interesting because we know so much less about him despite his appearances in the first two books. His and Eric’s story is beautiful, and his and River’s is often hilarious in how dramatic he can be.
(He and Harlow have that in common, it seems.)
What’s taking the mages?
Do opposites really attract?
Ultimately, Mori and River’s relationship dynamic is one of my favourites of the series. The sexual tension is there, sure, but it’s fascinating to watch Mori rearrange what he thought he wanted with what he’s getting. We’ve not had that with the other couples – Cal and Oscar were working through other issues, and Bailey and Harlow’s problem was with Bailey thinking he was not good enough – and it’s especially interesting that it’s Mori, who’s been waiting so long for his mate.
Of course, it makes sense. He’s had so long to imagine what his partner would be like, and River’s not one to back down from a challenge. That they both do some chasing in this, riling each other up, is so much fun, putting them on an equal footing in a different way to the rest of the couples.
Having read the whole series now (I’ll have a review of Luck of the Devil up soon!), I’d say Deal with the Devil is my favourite of the four. Mori and River are the best!