Review: Darkest Before Dawn by Maya Banks

darkest before dawnReviewed by Jaimie

By now, everyone knows my fangirl love for Maya Banks so this review has me so conflicted. Fans of the KGI series have been dying to know Hancock’s story – especially after we saw the softer side of him in When Day Breaks, and if you take out a big chunk in the middle of the book – I loved Darkest Before Dawn. But somewhere partway through, the book went WAY off in a different direction and I felt like the heroine had been switched out with someone else. I’m not even kidding when I say that I started to wonder if perhaps since this was a galley copy, Maya had done one version and then decided to go in another way and the book just wasn’t put together properly.

Guy Hancock has popped in and out of the KGI series, sometimes helping and sometimes working against the Kellys, so we’ve never really known what made him tick. When his “sister” Eden was in danger and was kidnapped in When Day Breaks, even the Kelly’s were shocked to see that Hancock had weaknesses. I was so looking forward to this one and read it in one day, but I alternated between loving and hating it.

Closer than he has ever been to his goal of taking down Maksimov, a terrorist he had intended to be his final job, Hancock is ordered to track down an American woman who has evaded a group of militants that wanted to tie up loose ends. Once he has the woman, he knows she will endure horrible things, but he tells himself that sacrificing one to take this man out and save many is worth it.

Honor Cambridge was working at a relief center in the Middle East when it is suddenly hit by an explosion.  Everyone around her is killed and although she is injured, she is determined that she will not die at the hands of these terrorists.  Gathering all of her courage and will to live, she manages to evade the terrorists that are relentlessly chasing her and just about gets to the border where she can seek help.

Hancock and his team finally track Honor down and convince her that they are there to help her. On the verge of being captured, she has no choice but to trust them. During their journey, Hancock’s team comes to respect and admire Honor and they all become conflicted about their mission.

But here is where the story takes Honor from a kickass woman who manages to escape a violent group of extremists and is determined to live at all costs, and turns her into a spineless, pathetic woman. I almost stopped reading, I was so pissed off and that has NEVER happened with a Maya book for me. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin it for people, however I can tell you that there are some scenes that were so unbelievable and took the story so off from where it had been leading, that you may find yourself wanting to quit reading.

As hard as it might be, keep going because she does right the train and get the story back on track but my entire perception of Honor was completely ruined. The whole thing left such a bad taste in my mouth, I had to take some time between reading it and writing this review to process whether I completely hated it, or if the redeeming qualities were strong enough to outweigh it. Honestly, time has not helped that indecision.

On the plus side I think the stories of Hancock’s team members are going to be great ones, I enjoyed seeing Hancock and the Kelly’s sort of make peace, and there was a lot of action. It started great and ended well but I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed with Hancock’s story. There were many people that hated Donovan’s story where I loved it, so maybe my opinion won’t be the prevailing one, but I suspect it will.

Rating: C- (only because the parts I liked I really liked)

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Darkest Before Dawn
by Maya Banks
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Berkley

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