Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "After the Storm" by Maya Banks

Over the years, Donovan Kelly has fought relentlessly for justice, women and children always holding a special place in his heart. Working side by side with his brothers, Donovan has witnessed firsthand the toll it’s taken—physically, mentally, and emotionally—on his loved ones, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire. What he never expects is for his next mission to happen right on his home turf—or for it to take a very personal turn.

Picturesque Kentucky Lake is the perfect place for a soul in search of safe harbor. A beautiful stranger has arrived—desperate, breathless, and on the run from a dark past closing in on her and the younger siblings she has vowed to protect. Donovan must now draw on every resource at his disposal—if he wants to save a woman and the children who may prove to be his destiny.

When I started this story, I felt a little like Van's sisters-in-law when they first met Eve - a little nervous, a little hopeful and a little protective.  Van is the MAN.  He's the KGI brother who is the most sensitive.  Don't get me wrong, he is all alpha - but with a heart of gold.  It has taken Maya Banks eight books to get here, but we finally have Donovan's story.

This week, Carolyn Crane, the author of the Disillusionist Trilogy and the Associates series, wrote an interesting article asking the question, "Why are man tribes so sexy and compelling?".  I couldn't help but think of this article as I was reading the book. It reminds me of why I love man tribes.  One reason is the joy of Patheticness.  According to Ms. Crane, patheticness is "when one of the heroes or their hunky friends is in an emotional dilemma and the guys sort of give each other heartfelt, but sort of simplistic advice. Stuff like, you gotta go after her, man."  With six Kelly brothers, Sean and Swanny, and Steele around, there are plenty of opportunities for Patheticness.  Because everyone wants this for Donovan, there is a lot of advice given out by his pack mates.  It is endearing to see these rough alphas give advice on the softer side of life.  Unlike the stereotype, real men do give each other relationship advice and it's a part of their bonding ritual.

The second reason this is the perfect man tribe book is Brotherly Love.  The Kellys are literally brothers, but this circle extends to outside members including Sean, Swanny and even though she is a female, Skylar.  Brotherly Love has less to do with gender and more to do with the trust that no matter what happens, "I've got your back." 

Events move super fast and the story is rife with misunderstandings, insecurities, and lots of distrust.  As you would expect in a book about Donovan's love life, it is emotional.  And here is my critique.  It is almost too much of a good thing.  I love books where the alpha shows softer emotions: love, fear, remorse, sadness. Donovan seems at times incapacitated by his overwhelming feelings.  It's fine if it happens once or twice, but over and over again? 

There are two main themes that repeat, one dealing with insta-love and the other addressing Donovan's extreme care for women and children.  Is Donovan in love or just the idea of being in love because can you really fall in love overnight? This question is repeated multiple times.  Yet, despite this repetition, somehow the story still works, for the most part, because it is our beloved Donovan, I can't say that I would have the same level of tolerance if it were any other character.   

Still, this is a KGI book so there is lots of action, lots of camaraderie, and lots of steamy interactions between Van and Eve.
Reasons to read this book: 1. It's Donovan's story  2. Man Tribe goodness 3. Classic KGI action adventure. 

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