Review – The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

Posted January 8, 2016 by smutmatters in Contemporary, Military, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – The Darkest Hour by Maya BanksThe Darkest Hour by Maya Banks
Series: KGI #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Published by Berkley on September 7th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Barnes & Noble

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.

This book was very different from what I was expecting. In a good way. I don’t read a ton of military suspense books, but if they’re all this good, I could be persuaded to change that. I’m thrilled that there are ten of them to sit and wallow in. I fully intend to do exactly that over the long New Year’s weekend.

There wasn’t really any falling in love here. Ethan and Rachel had already been in love before she was taken hostage. This was more about second chances and reconnecting with an old love. There were only a few sex scenes, which I believe is unusual for a Banks book. (I haven’t read very many) And as much as I liked this book, it was mainly for the relationships between the entire Kelly family more than the main relationship between Ethan and Rachel. I didn’t dislike their relationship, but I ended up with the feeling that Ethan was dreading Rachel regaining her memories as much as he was trying to help her get them back. Their relationship wasn’t in great shape when Rachel took off on her missionary trip and he’s really hoping that part of her memory stays gone. Which strikes me as a little selfish. I know that thinking Rachel was dead for a year changed how he felt about their relationship and made him realize how selfish he had been before, but none of those issues have changed. All of the reasons he became resentful and jealous were still there.

Rachel, however, I really liked. She was struggling to recover from everything she had been through being held captive for a year, and she was determined to do too much of it herself. She was remembering bits and pieces from her life before she was taken captive, but not nearly as quickly as she wanted to. She knew she could trust the Kellys because she had been told she could trust them, not because she had any real memory of them or instinctual trust. I could understand why she would be reluctant to immediately turn to them when she was having issues or struggling with the withdrawal symptoms. That said, she really needed to be in therapy much sooner than she was.  I was surprised she and the Kellys didn’t take care of that much sooner than they did. Also, and this is fairly minor, but Rachel was a teacher. I was never exactly clear on what sort of mission trip she was on; it wasn’t really explained.

That said, Rachel saved herself as much as the men saved her. She was no damsel-in-distress waiting for Ethan and his brothers to come and rescue her. Once they got her out of that horrible place where she was being held, she took care of herself as much as they did. At one point, she managed to disarm and escape the gunmen holding her hostage even with a broken arm. A little unrealistic? Sure, but I’ll take it. I appreciate a heroine who knows she’s in serious shit and gets herself out of it.

This was a great start to the series. Even though I didn’t love Ethan, I really liked most of the other family members and KGI operatives we met, and I’m looking forward to their stories. I’m just sorry I waited so long to start this one.


About Maya Banks

My name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets. I’m more of a cat person, but my daughter became convinced she NEEDED a dog. So convinced in fact that it became her mission to convince her father and me. She prepared a Maya’s Dogtwo page hand written proposal that detailed WHY she needed a dog, and well, after I sent her to her father (I knew he wouldn’t tell her no) we embarked on the search for the perfect dog. The journey that was two hours away and that I got pulled over for speeding while I was on the phone with my agent who had an offer from a publisher for one of my books… The officer wasn’t impressed. He wrote me a ticket anyway. Thus, I now tell my daughter that her dog turned into one very expensive concession! But isn’t he cute?

When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoors and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. One of our more recent trips was to Scotland, which was every bit as comical as National Lampoon’s European Vacation. You know the part about “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they went round and round the roundabouts? Yeah, that was us, only we couldn’t even get out of the airport in Glasgow without hitting three of those suckers.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a writing career is getting to meet so many wonderful readers. There’s nothing better than dishing books with someone who loves the romance genre as much as I do. Romance readers are passionate and vocal. We love our books, love our happily ever afters, and we love to spend time talking to others about our favorites. THIS is why I love my job so much, and I’m so grateful to readers who gave ME a chance when I began my career. So thank you.