The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks

The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks

It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.

His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymous information claiming Rachel is alive.

To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks

I was stuck in a reading rut recently and decided to go back and reread some books. I’ve been struggling to find romantic suspense that works for me, and so I picked up my battered paperback copy of The Darkest Hour.

Maya Banks’ KGI series started off brilliantly, but took a nosedive a few books in, firstly when a couple of books totally out of the blue became paranormal romances, and then when the suspense aspect seemed to entirely disappear. However, books one and two are great – and great for a reread.

When this book first came out I found it a little problematic. Why? Because it borrowed heavily from some other books, and I was having a little trouble seeing the originality in the story.

Take Cindy Gerard’s To the Brink:

Former Special Forces soldier Ethan Garrett runs a private security company with his siblings. When his estranged wife is being held captive in the jungle because she accidentally came across information she wasn’t supposed to have, he goes with his siblings to rescue her. He is shot in the process.

And then The Darkest Hour:

Former Special Forces soldier Ethan runs a private security company with his siblings, including his brother Garrett. When his estranged wife is being held captive in the jungle because she accidentally came across information she wasn’t supposed to have, he goes with his siblings to rescue her. He is shot in the process.

However, there’re other aspects of The Darkest Hour that make it stand out from the crowd and mark it as more original work. There’s high drama and lots of action, and it has everything about the genre I enjoy so much and haven’t been finding as often in recent years.

The parts with Ethan and his wife Rachel (whose physical description is not given at all – Maya Banks often forgets to describe her female characters) are great. The drama sure doesn’t finish with the rescue, and there’s a strong driving force behind the constant danger Rachel is in.

I’m not so fussed on the twenty thousand secondary characters being introduced for future books, and would be happy if the smothering, irritating mother Marlene disappeared from the series entirely!

One thing I’m not so sure about is the (very descriptive) bedroom scenes, which didn’t really work for me. Rachel is sick, traumatised, and has trouble remembering her marriage (due to drugs she was given in captivity). And yet it all seems to be about her pleasuring her husband and her doing everything – very man-centric sex!

This book is definitely worth a read. Half of it is just fantastic, while other parts aren’t really my thing. However the good far outweighs the bad, and this is the kind of romantic suspense – dramatic and full of action and danger – I want to read.

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5 thoughts on “The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks

    1. Years ago I liked some of Christine Feehan’s similar paranormal ‘enhanced soldier’ books, but my preference is generally for genres not to be all mixed up!
      I don’t like when a series starts breaking the rules of the ‘world’ that have already been created. One genre per series!

      1. I have to agree with you on breaking the rules of the worlds you have created. Why not just start a new series if you want to do paranormal when your world has been straight normal? If you are writing a book where the world has been normal to the heroine until she ‘finds out’ then fine, bot taking a hard turn from established ideology doesn’t work for me.

        When you say ‘mixing genres’ do you mean you don’t like thing like ‘romantic suspense’? Or just shooting off into left field in a series?

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