Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: After the Storm

After the Storm (KGI - Book 8) by Maya Banks

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Books
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
ISBN-10: 0425263770
ISBN-13: 978-0425263778

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Maya Banks on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

The Darkest Hour (2010), No Place to Run (2010), Hidden Away (2011), Whispers in the Dark (2012), Echoes at Dawn (2012), Shades of Gray (2012), Forged in Steele (2013), After the Storm (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, After the Storm, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.

Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.

Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t… 


Over the years, Donovan Kelly has fought relentlessly for justice, women and children always holding a special place in his heart. Working side by side with his brothers, Donovan has witnessed firsthand the toll it’s taken—physically, mentally, and emotionally—on his loved ones, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire. What he never expects is for his next mission to happen right on his home turf—or for it to take a very personal turn.

Picturesque Kentucky Lake is the perfect place for a soul in search of safe harbor. A beautiful stranger has arrived—desperate, breathless, and on the run from a dark past closing in on her and the younger siblings she has vowed to protect. Donovan must now draw on every resource at his disposal—if he wants to save a woman and the children who may prove to be his destiny.


Thoughts:

The eighth book in the KGI series from Maya Banks released to much disappointment from many long time fans. One of the last unwed Kelly brothers, Donovan is billed as one of the most intelligent and family oriented of the bunch, but his story lacks the usual Maya Banks romantic feel. Readers who have read all of the books will see potential in the beginning of the book but it fizzles long before the end. Unfortunately, this may not a good addition to this series. 

All of that being said there were still parts of this book that were enjoyable and well written. Banks is a well renowned author who knows her craft and is able to write romantic suspense with the best of them. But every author eventually has some kind of hiccup and I believe After the Storm is that hiccup for Banks in this particular series. There were however some redeeming factors hidden in the novel. 

Starting out Banks was on point and realistic. She has a character who has a lot of back story considering he was in the previous seven books. Donovan Kelly is established as a geek of sorts, more comfortable behind a computer than anywhere else. He also has some very good traits, like the fact that he loves kids and wants a family. In After the Storm, a ready made family drops in his lap. Eve and her siblings seem like the perfect match for this complicated man. So it started out well.

I appreciated the fact that Banks gives readers a heroine who takes things into her own hands and decides that she has to find a way to protect her family. Especially her four year sister who is possibly being abused. I applauded Eve's resilience and her tenacity in that act. But that's where it seems to have ended. Throughout the book she is portrayed as strong, as a fighter and capable of standing up for herself, yet that isn't shown in her actions. She lets others make her decisions and appears to run away from things rather than face them.

So we started out with the good match for a well loved character, a heroine who had some edge to her and then it just kind of goes astray. There are two things that Maya Banks books are known for, lots of action and hot romance. Neither of these two elements were present in After the Storm. 

I felt like Donovan was in love with the idea of having a family but not in love with Eve. There were just too many things that didn't hold up to Maya Banks usual good storytelling. Donovan who has always seemed to be well adjusted and full of life, takes on a creepy edge in this book, that makes him almost have that dirty old man feeling to him. He is obsessive and over-the-top. He is far removed from the character he was in the first seven books. He falls in love in less than two days, after waiting all this time? It just did not ring true. There was no real romance here. It could have been love at first sight, but that most definitely is romantic, not so here. 

The other missing element was the action that KGI novels are usually known for. There was a lot of talking, a lot of speculating, and soul searching but no real conflict. Yes, Eve's step father is monster and needed to be put down, but that is only a fraction of the conflict needed to pull off an entire novel. There was none of the usual serious firefights or edge of your seat moments. It was just humdrum. It didn't grab me and hold on for dear life. 

Honestly, I didn't struggle to read it. It was alright, but certainly not what I have come to expect from this author. I felt like Donovan got a raw deal. That his story could have been so much more interesting and believable than what he got. There was potential in the beginning but none of it was realized. I think perhaps this book is the hiccup I described before. It doesn't make me want to stop reading the series, but it doesn't make wait with baited breath for the next one either.

Bottom Line:

This one had some issues, even more than those described here. If you have all the others, than yes you definitely should buy this one to complete your collection. If you haven't read all the others, don't start with this one. This remains a very well written series, by a very good author. It is a minor drop in the bucket compared to the whole series. 

After the Storm is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:


Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and #1 New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.


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