Brighter than the Sun

Maya Banks
Brighter than the Sun
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Jove Books
Release Date
March 2017
Book 11 of KGI
Action/Adventure Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

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...

As the last unattached member of the Kelly clan, Joe is more than ready to risk life and limb on any mission he's assigned to, but when it comes to love, he'll keep his distance. He's content to watch his brothers become thoroughly domesticated.

Zoe's had nothing but heartbreak in her life, and she's determined to start over with a completely new identity, thanks to her college friend, Rusty Kelly. But it's the gorgeous smile and tender words of Joe Kelly that begin to weaken her resolve to never risk her heart again. And Joe will have to put everything on the line to save Zoe, when secrets of her past resurface—and threaten to tear them apart…

Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Jan 19, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
79 people found the following review helpful
Joe Kelly is the last man standing and proud of it. Up until the point he sees Zoe Kildare, because her timid, deer-in-the-headlights skittishness and the secrets she carries call to him like none other. So what it takes for the last, standing, confirmed bachelor in the Kelly household to go down apparently is a very, very needy, flailing damsel-in-distress type who is wallowing in her sorry state of being unlovable while everyone in the Kelly family rallies to bolster that flagging self-esteem. I do prefer my heroines somewhat more gung-ho and more independent, so Zoe is in many ways, a huge surprise.

The KGI series has admittedly been a mixed bag of tricks. I liked a few very much, felt lukewarm for the others and BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN does bring back shades of Nathan's book which is one of the better ones I do like, so wanting to know how Joe gets on here is an automatic draw. This book is in some ways, classic Maya Banks—long, expository dialogues from characters, full disclosure of feelings from both men and women and the fairy-tale-like set-up of the huge, loving family who rally around each other—and in other ways, it isn't what I'd expected. It isn't action-packed as paramilitary romances tend to be and a lot of the story is spent with Joe slowly coming to terms with his unenviable position as the man who suddenly falls (possibly inexplicably) head over heels for a damaged, frightened woman and can't let her go, while Zoe continues to be timid, withdrawn and pretty much babied into coming out of her shell by everyone around her.

And like any of Ms. Banks's book, their journey is emotional, guilt-laden, sometimes melodramatic with an effusive happy ending with no details spared. Yet I couldn't quite feel Joe's and Zoe's connection apart from his need to be gentle with her as one treats an abused rescue animal, so the declarations of love came out of left field for me when this didn't really quite feel like a relationship of equals.

Unsurprisingly, the standout from this book is Rusty—and the continued, unrequited feelings she has for Sean Cameron—who finally breaks away on her own after being short-changed by her adopted family members, so the book definitely reads as though it ends on an unfinished note, with her story still waiting in the wings to take flight.
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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Mar 04, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
63 people found the following review helpful
BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN may be a KGI Novel, but it's low on suspense and action (only toward the end). There's a thread of fear and tension that's being carried by Zoe (heroine), who was running from someone who wanted to kill her, but I have to say it wasn't that well done, as I didn't feel it myself. Overall, I was disappointed.

Let's now talk about Zoe, one of the disappointing factors. She spent the whole novel afraid and scared shitless of her own shadow. Sure, she had cause--who wouldn't be if someone is out to get you?--plus, her self-esteem and sense of self-worth were eroded by her father, a crime boss. HOWEVER, I'd have liked to see her show a bit of spine even one time! So, it was really hard to like her, and hard to root for her. She was pitiful and didn't seem to want to break out of that mold.

Next, the villains. Don't get me started. They were one-dimensional and off-screen most of the time. It seemed they were only there to get the entire KGI team to action at the end, because of course, the bad guy had to come after Zoe, since she was running from them, right?

Next, Joe had these protective instincts for Zoe about 5 minutes after he met her. This seemed to communicate to him that he's f*cked, because it means he's met "the one". But at this point, it's basically chemistry, because Zoe barely said "hi" to him. Then two days later, it's love love love. And for this reader, it's not believable, because what is there to admire in Zoe?

Lastly, info dumping in places (maybe for the reader's benefit, especially for those who are new to the series), repetitive, rambling and unrealistic dialogue...and maybe I should give this a 2 stars instead.

The only redeeming factor, I feel, is Joe. I really liked the way he "changed" his approach and attitude--becoming laid back and teasing and non-threatening--because he thought that was what Zoe needed to feel safe.

Series fans would also be delighted to see cameos from characters in the previous books, though for a new reader like me, who didn't know their backstory, everything was a jumble, because there were just too many of them. The author also sets the scene for Rusty and Sean's book, and I have to admit that seems more interesting than Zoe and Joe's story.

Overall, I would recommend new readers to start from book 1 and see if the book and the series would be to your liking.
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June 18, 2018 08:17 PM ( EST )