New Release Review ✭ Darkest Before Dawn (KGI #10) by Maya Banks

Title: Darkest Before Dawn
Author: Maya Banks
Series: KGI, #10
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Military, Thriller
Published date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384

Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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.”

I Began reading this book with only a brief overview of the synopsis and never having read any other stories in the series. I’ve a read a few Maya Banks novels before, but this was on a whole other side of the spectrum.
I’m not sure if the entire series plays out similarly, but I was surprised by the driving force in Darkest Before Dawn. Instead of having two characters meet, fall in love, and have amazing sex non-stop, there was a deep background and storyline that the book centered on.  The ending is the perfect dose of sweetness to soothe the gritty ride the characters and reader took.
The military aspect and mission to rescue Honor is the sole task at hand and it’s what drives the story through and through.

Hancock is the epitome of a tragic hero. In fact he would resent me for calling and thinking of him as a “hero”. For most of the book, he has no faith in himself beyond getting the job done. He’s a killing machine, plain and simple.
The journey he endured in his past had been painful, and he’d never really had much happiness in his life. Accepting happiness, allowing love to enter his life, and all the good and positive things that could ever happen to him was the true challenge he had to face throughout the novel. 
While I felt sorry for him at certain moments, he came off too stony and machine-like to have any real sympathy and connection to him.

Honor is a strong, fierce woman who is on the run form a Middle Eastern terrorist organization. She had the smarts to deflect capture which was impressive in its own right. Right from the start of the book she begins her walk through a world of pain. She’s tested and pushed both physically and mentally. You will no doubt feel her pain every step of the way.
As much as I liked her toughness, there wasn’t much dimension to her character. She seemed a little too good too be true; too perfect, if you will. It was difficult to relate to her overall. I wanted her too fight more and not just give in to what she thought was inevitable at the time.

Where I thought the novel suffered was in the excessive repetition and narrative that mainly plagued the first half of the book. There was a lot of description that was likely meant to serve new readers so that they could understand and adapt to the KGI surroundings. While in theory this is a great tool to use, it was overdone and became tiresome quickly.

The weight on the romance scale was very light and only truly focused on it toward the very end of the book. Luckily there’s no case of insta-lust here and the relationship, however odd it may seem, developed slowly over time. Sadly, this was the only part I could really connect with the characters as a unified couple.
The action dispersed throughout was the true star of this show. Here is when the detailing came in handy, and provided graphic yet fitting scenes. I really enjoyed the thrilling action sequences, and thought they were done quite well.

Without knowing the characters from previous books, it was clear that they made an appearance while I was reading. I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy seeing them again and in quite important roles at that. For me being a new reader however, I found it boring when they were being re-introduced subtly. I just wanted to get to the main characters again.

Be aware before reading that there may be several trigger warnings for some readers. The majority of the book deals with death, rape, abuse, and kidnapping. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. 
This is a good choice for a reader who is looking for a long, detailed story with less romance and more of a dark and violent atmosphere.

Maya Banks is a multiple #1 USA Today and 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 Surrender Trilogy, the KGI novels, 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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