Type: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: NetGalley
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…
Running from a life she never chose, Zoe has created a new identity for herself with the help of her best friend Rusty. Never having been allowed to be herself, Zoe has no clue how to act without the barrier of designer clothing and a ton of makeup. Insecure and nervous of being found and forced back into a life she doesn’t want by an unloving father, Rusty takes her home to the family compound before her last journey to freedom.
Joe knows his mother wants him to find “the one” and settle down to make some more Kelly babies just like his brothers but that’s just not him. He loves being free from responsibilities outside of his KGI ones and has no need for a permanent woman in his life. Rusty’s new friend Zoe immediately triggers all his warning bells with her skittishness and vague background information. Telling himself he’s just protecting his family, he attempts to get close to her to learn her story.
Zoe knows she can’t tell Joe the truth about her past. She’s everything he stands against while fighting the bad guys. As they get closer and feelings get deeper, Zoe is either going to have to trust him……or let him go so she can protect him.
So here we are. Book 11 in probably my favorite series ever. The KGI series by Maya Banks. A series that has most definitely had its ups and downs. Several downs in fact. A few downs that had me almost quit reading the series. It took me a year to read book 9 because book 8 pissed me off so much. But I eventually came back and was pleasantly pleased with book 9. I read book 10 and gave it a solid 3.5 stars, even if the majority of the book I was seriously pissed off at the “hero”. That brings us to book 11, Joe’s story. The twin I wasn’t sure would ever get his own happy ending. The last remaining Kelly brother.
I found Brighter Than The Sun to be well done. Not too long like has been a problem in the past, full of engaging dynamics between characters and perfectly paced. I enjoyed the progression of the relationship between Joe and Zoe. I thought it was done with an honesty and an air of reality. It just felt real to me. Even with the weird paranormal thread that was introduced that I know lots of readers detested. I mean, at this point, there’s no taking it out, so I thought it was used well but not overly so. I think Banks realized her misstep in adding those in and has used them as little as she could since then. Zoe is terribly insecure and obviously nervous about her future but Joe manages to draw her out. I wish we would have gotten more backstory on her though. I understood the gist of her background but it felt a bit glossed over and unimportant, when it should have been highlighted more so readers could understand her character better.
The suspense aspect really doesn’t kick in until close to the end. Up till that point it’s a straight contemporary romance with some military/black ops aspects thrown in. However, it’s full throttle from then on out. It almost came out of nowhere. One minute nothing and then BAM, hit the ground running. I enjoyed the amount of characters in those scenes because there were a ton. This group of men and women who make up KGI, work so well together and I love to see their personalities mesh so well on the page. Even the new recruits were entertaining.
I think my favorite thing about this book though was Rusty and her budding relationship with the town sheriff. Her and Sean have been going round in circles since the beginning and I cannot wait for them to finally get a story. It appears I might get my wish soon since they got awfully close in this book. Fingers crossed.
Overall, Brighter Than The Sun got much, much closer to returning to the books I loved from earlier in this series. Providing there are no weird paranormal curveballs again or over the top, long drawn out story lines, I think Banks has returned to the author I love.
I give Brighter Than The Sun by Maya Banks 4 stars!