Review: Brighter Than the Sun by Maya Banks

Review: Brighter Than the Sun by Maya Banks
Brighter Than the Sun

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: KGI #11
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Jove
Released on March 7, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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Searing action and passion ignite the latest KGI novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Darkest Before Dawn.

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…

The Delight

The stalker hero is toned down in the latest story from Maya Banks. While the hero falls instantly and hard, he doesn’t push the heroine into what he wants for the sake of pleasing himself. Zoe wasn’t the strong heroine I wanted, going inside of herself at one point because she felt not good enough. Go in warned.


OK, I have loved the KGI series since the beginning. A family of security experts that are brothers…be still my heart. Each one falling one by one then there was branching to other members of their team. Unfortunately there was a shift in Maya Banks writing that had me taking a break from her recent books. Several books in this series were part of the problem, especially the last few. You see she puts the heroine on a pedestal making her virginal, sweet and very much a doormat to love. Then the hero is over protective, but not necessarily aware they are in love. Almost to a stalkerish level. The one that mostly sticks out in my mind is when the hero was willing to sacrifice the heroine for the greater good and she was fine with it, even giving him her virginity beforehand. See why I needed to take a break?

So I went into Brighter Than the Sun with much caution, ready to close it up and DNF if it ever swerved to martyr status. While I didn’t see a total martyr scenario, I did see the obsessiveness of the hero with the heroine.

“What’s her damage?” he said, crossing his arms over his chest so Rusty would know just how serious he was and that he wasn’t in the mood for her to dodge his questions or pretend to misunderstand.

Joe is the last unattached Kelly. Within moments of meeting Zoe he is captivated by her, but knows right away she is hiding something. Being a Kelly, he can’t avoid searching for what her secrets. He doesn’t want to scare her off, so he goes the whole “let’s be friends.” Picnics, skipping rocks within a short time they are sleeping together with her secrets looming over them.

Zoe, and that’s not her real name, is on the run. A mob boss father has told her how to live her live down to the length of her hair. When she overhears her boyfriend talking about taking down her father through her, she goes on the run fearing for her life. Her only friend is Rusty, adopted daughter of the Kelly clan, and Rusty has learned a lot from her older brothers. Hiding out on Kelly property is the greatest plan.

But you can’t always run from your problems and they always find a way of finding you. Some of the details to the suspense plot were sketchy as you are told how much her life is controlled, but again how did she get involved with someone her father didn’t approve first? Or become friends with someone her father didn’t know about? And if she kept Rusty a secret, just how did the bad guys figure out where they were?

“Say you’ll put me out of my misery and agree to spend the day with me,” he coaxed.

Joe is also the only Kelly not living within the compound which is secured. Yeah, this family is paranoid for good reason and have a very secure compound that they moved the entire family and some team members within.

The romance moves quick and I am not really sure it was much more than lust. That seems to be a common theme these days. The suspense was fast and furious. Left me feeling kind of confused. Silly heroine also has the inner confidence problems and goes into depression hiding away at one point. It was kind of cliche by the end. Very formulaic of other novels in this series.

Other former characters make lots of appearances, especially Shea and Nathan (Nathan is Joe’s twin brother). Shea sees things and can take on the pain from others (yep, all of a sudden there were paranormal elements pushed into the series). Shea has a bond with Joe from when she was trying to save Nathan. She connects easily to Zoe, but also protects her privacy.

While you can read this book without the series, you won’t understand the side story with Rusty and Sean or the connections of Shea, Nathan, Grace and others to the story. And there is a lot of Rusty and Sean’s side story. Overall, this was a better story than the last few, but still I am not a fan of the all consuming lust/love story that seems to have become Bank’s ongoing style. At least there wasn’t a third of the book that was unnecessary, but there was also a lot of time spent in their heads. So if you are a fan of KGI, then it’s worth a read. If you aren’t reading the series, skip it.


I found Joe turning on a Light Switch for my Literary Pickers Challenge.

Need a song to go with the book? Might I suggest….Brighter Than the Sun by Colbie Caillet.

Other books by Maya Banks that you may want to check out!

Review In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks Review Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks

Need more convincing to read book name? How about a preview?

About Maya Banks

Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today and bestselling author of the Surrender Trilogy. Her other chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and Scottish historical romance. She lives in the South with her husband, three children and a variety of pets.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!


  1. Sorry to hear that you haven’t been enjoying the latest Maya Banks books. I think that whole repeated scenario would be really irritating too. Every once in a while the virginal heroine with the protective (and stalkerish) hero is okay, but when that becomes the trend for a lot of books, it’s too much.

    1. She used to be my favorite author, but the last two years her writing has seemed off. I know she is having health problems, but it does still seem like the novels just change names and locations with a few tweeks to make the story seem different. I agree on the virginal heroine with a protective hero, but this is all her books have been lately. Not that Zoe is a virgin, but she has been so controlled, she comes off as naive. And the heroines are all sugary sweet. Hell, I want some kickassness.

      1. I know what you mean. One of my favorite romance authors is Lauren Layne, but I didn’t love the last couple romances I’ve read from her. And YES to the kickass heroines! I don’t think there are enough of them out there. I love reading about strong female characters. Why do so many of them have to come of as weak and weapy?

  2. Thanks for the review; I don’t think this book is for me. I read one of her contemps, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It breaks my heart, because her historicals are second to none. I wish she’d go back to writing them.

    1. I used to adore her, but all of her books lately have made me mad. I was hoping it was just a slump due to her health issues. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be correcting itself.

      1. I lied. I’ve actually read four. I also read the Breathless trilogy, and I don’t know how I made it through that. It was terrible for me.

        I hope the next book you pick up from her is better!

    1. It barely made it past DNF. I don’t trust stalkerish insa-love. The main part of the story takes place in a few days. So they were in “love” almost instantly even though he went about being a friend…like all of 2 days.

    1. I don’t mind insta-love from time to time but this series is chock full of them. I just get tired of the heroes putting the heroines on pedestals and shielding them from everything in life. Like they aren’t the problem. I really want her to get back to being realistic in this series like the first book was.

  3. Hmmmm, I haven’t read any of the books in this series. I think I have one though? Maybe the one before this one? I might skip the series though. Maya Banks has so many books published, and I might try one in the future! I’m glad you enjoyed the book even if you didn’t completely enjoy it. Wonderful review, Shari!

    Have a lovely weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Yep, it is funny. I started with Maya Banks when I started reading erotica and then blasted through her older romances, but I am struggling to still be a fan.

  4. I haven’t tried the series but I heard a lot about it as well as about the author. One day I’ll have to try. I didn’t know about so many books were out

    1. The first book just guts you and I loved it. The next few books were good, but not great like the first one, but the last have gone downhill ever since.

  5. I will admit that I struggle with Banks contemporaries. I love her historicals though, but I have a hard time with her CR. I probably won’t be picking this series up.

  6. I’ve only read one of Banks’ series (a few books from one of her newer ones) and I can definitely see what you’re saying about them. She definitely has a recurring theme of the innocent woman who needs to be rescued by the big dangerous man. Glad this one was a bit better for you.

    1. I loved the first book so much. The next 3-4 were pretty good, but it takes some twists and turns that left me not sure I wanted to continue.