Oct 27, 2015

ARC Review: DARKEST BEFORE DAWN (KGI, #10) by Maya Banks


THE ALL-NEW KGI NOVEL from the “incredibly awesome" (Jaci Burton) #1 New York Times bestselling author of When Day Breaks.

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...

The enigmatic Hancock has been both opponent and ally to the KGI teams for as long as they've known him. Always working a deep game, Hancock's true allegiance has never been apparent, but one thing is for certain—he never lets anything get in the way of duty.

But now, his absolute belief in the primacy of his ultimate goal is challenged by a captive he's been ordered to guard, no matter how much she suffers in her prison. She's the only woman who's ever managed to penetrate the rigid walls surrounding his icy heart, but will he allow his perplexing feelings for the beautiful victim to destroy a mission he's spent years working to complete or will he be forced to sacrifice her for “the greater good.”


Connect with the author:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 


In the popular series about the super-elite, top secret, family-run business that is the Kelly Group International (KGI), Darkest Before Dawn is the tenth book, but no worries, it can be read as a standalone. It's one of those installments that don't center around a member of the KGI, but rather a man who's been, as far as I could see, kind of frenemies with the KGI, Guy Hancock. Fans of the previous books will be happy to know the previous characters make an appearance here as well to play an important role in the resolution. I, having not read any of those books, was a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of minor characters, and their relationships. It would take me awhile to grasp all of it if I wanted to, but I think the majority of readers who'll choose to read about Hancock and Honor will be those who have read at least some of the earlier stories, and they should know about the Kelly family and others.

The story begins when the relief center in the Middle East where Honor volunteered was bombed and she was the sole survivor. Her escape made her a target of the terrorist group responsible for the attack, which also made her an important part of Hancock's plan to finally take down Maksimov, the man he had a personal vendetta against. But that plan was not easy to actually carry out as it would inevitably lead to Honor's slow and painful death, a fact that had been weighing heavily on Hancock and his team who had admired Honor from the start, and it raised the question whether sacrificing one innocent person for the greater good was really worth it.

The premise sounded, and it still does sound interesting. I wish I could say the same about the story itself, but sadly I can't. In my opinion (and I'm not alone in this; I've checked), this book contains way too much repetition. The word count could have been significantly lower without it hurting the plot. In fact, it would have helped it by not making me or anyone else who picks it up to read about the same things, whether it's facts, thoughts, or actions, over and over and over again. The books has 378 pages -- it's a lot of pages to go through when the constant repetitiveness is annoying you. It made me want to wish I, too, had skimmed some parts. And while I'm on the subject of annoying things and parts I wish I'd skimmed, I have to say this: if you're going to put words in the mouth of a supposedly religious Muslim, please don't make them sound as though they haven't a clue about Islam. It is not enough to just use the word God in Arabic, and then say whatever. Just no.

While the premise did sound interesting, what really made me accept this ARC was Hancock, and if I had read this series before, I'm certain his book would've been one I'd be anxiously anticipating. I do so love reading about these bad guys who in the end always do the right thing. Hancock proved to be one of them, but a couple of things about him left me confused. The time it took him to finally, finally reach the decision about Honor was one. After everything I learned about his past actions, and the present facts, it seemed like something that just didn't fit in. The second is: he kept, like almost everyone else, referring to himself as a emotionless machine, but all the emotions he felt belie that. And he had many. It surprised me about him and everyone else, just how much they cried, these big, tough guys, tasked to do the dirty jobs the government can't. Other than that, I did like the loyalty and the bond he and his team shared.

What to say about Honor? Her name says it all. She was a saint. Honor is the kind of character that most will probably like. She definitely seemed like the person one might like to have in their lives, as she seemed to be the most caring, giving, forgiving, compassionate character ever. But how often do we really find people who have no flaws at all? And, well, I prefer my fictional characters to have flaws, something to make them more real. "There's nothing more boring than perfect." I'm afraid I agree with this.

The development of the romance between Honor and Hancock was okay, slow, but okay. The bigger part of the story was about Hancock's plan to take down Maksimov, and ANE (the terrorist group hunting Honor). Having to deal with such dangerous people had put all of them in danger many times. There is no shortage of violence in the book, though it didn't seem as gruesome as it could have been. 
Would I have preferred both the plan and the romance were handled differently? Yes! Why? I can't say as it would be a spoiler, but I will say it's because of my own personal preferences.

In the end... I'm not even sure what to put in the end. Darkest Before Dawn left me wanting to scream: TOO MUCH REPETITION! And ignoring that, I think, ultimately, I'm not the right audience for this type of romantic suspense -- I admit, reading about military never held much appeal to me. I wouldn't want to scare anyone away from reading this book, especially not those fans looking forward to Hancock's book. If you've waited for it, then go for it, and see for yourself. Good luck!

***ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***


Until next time, happy reading!



  1. Damn! I was really hoping this one would be a turn around for the series but sounds like...not so much. Before you write them all off though try the early ones in the series. They were really fantastic. 3 books before this one I guess is when things started to change and they've just been rough :( I went from giving 5 stars or high 4s to DNFing my last one. It's crazy. I read one of her other series recently and the repetition was killer. The book could have lost a good 150 pages at least just from all the rinse and repeat. I'm surprised about the romance being slow! In the last two I read and quit of these they were declaring love within 24 hours and changing everything about their lives. It was insane. I'm sorry to see your go with these didn't start off so fab.

    1. When I started reading this book, and the repetition went on my nerves, I read quite a few reviews on Goodreads of this and the previous book to see if people were having the same issue. They were, of course, and they pretty much said the same thing as you. I don't know what's happening with all that repetitive narration... I don't understand why no one's put a stop to it. I feel bad for the fans.

      Yes, these two took their time in the romance department. I mean, they were attracted to each other from the start, but no premature I-love-yous and all that comes with insta-love. So that was a plus.

      I know the books from the beginning of the series are better -- everyone seems to agree on that -- but after this one, I don't see myself wanting to read them any time soon. Maybe someday, who knows? In general, I'm not one who would go for romantic suspense when I have so many romance novels to read.

      If you choose to give this one a chance, I hope it goes better for you. :)

      Have you read her historical novels? I've been eyeing them for a while now.

  2. I really don't either. I know the author has been having a lot of health and personal issues the past couple years but she's also churning out an insane number of books on top of it and it shows. I wish they'd pull back a little with the release schedule and put out more consistent books.

    I can definitely see this one making you gun shy. Or really the last couple making you gun shy. It's always hard as a reader who loves a series seeing that happen :( I don't plan on reading this one or any in the future I don't think. Not unless there's a drastic turn around in them. I honestly don't even remember this guy from previous books.

    I've not tried her historicals. I have them and have been told by many they're excellent. But they're some of her older works so makes sense. She's got some good erotic ones out there as well but older are better with those too.

    1. I'm sorry to see you this disappointed in the series you used to love. Perhaps book eleven will be different. :)

      I don't know which books Hancock appeared in, but from what I gathered in the past he helped a couple of the women who are involved with the KGI. Grace, I think was one of the names, and the other was a doctor... Maren. Maybe that rings a bell.

      All right, then I'll stick to my original plan, and when I do read her books, it will be the historicals. :) That is the genre I'd like to read more of.


We love comments, so feel free to write to us. We try to respond to every single one and to comment back on your blog, if you have one.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...