Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/31/review-shades-of-gray-by-maya-banks/
I fell in love with the KGI series within the first few chapters of the first book. However, I’ll admit that after reading book 4, I was super disappointed with Banks and the series direction. I’m not a fan of an author adding a paranormal element to a contemporary series, and didn’t even bother to read book 5. But when I saw that Banks was going to tell PJ and Cole’s story, I figured I would give the series a chance again, and I’m so glad I did.
PJ, the lone woman on the KGI team has also felt accepted and useful and part of the team. Her relationship with fellow sniper Cole was professional until the night he showed up at her dive bar and took them to the next level. Before PJ has the chance to process this new development, they are sent on a mission that goes so incredibly wrong – PJ’s life will never be the same again. She falls into a tailspin, and walks away from her KGI team without looking back.
Cole has never wanted anything more than PJ, and not being able to track her down has weighed heavily on him. When the KGI team realizes that PJ is hell bent on a course of revenge, Cole and the rest of the team will put themselves on the front line with her, regardless of the mission. But as things heat up and PJ and Cole get closer to their target, they also have to face the heat in their relationship, with the KGI team, and everywhere else in their chaotic lives.
I have to say that this book definitely feels like Banks is getting back to the roots of the KGI series. I can’t even begin to tell you how angry I was at the paranormal vibe, and now that we’ve left that behind and gotten back to the core suspense and romance plots, I’m much happier with the series and this book. If she continues with this path, I will definitely be picking up these books again from now on.
A short disclaimer for everyone: this book deals with a VERY difficult topic and situation. I usually like to keep my reviews spoiler free, but with this I think it’s important everyone know before they spend money on this book that Banks writes a very difficult scene to read, and a very sensitive topic all around: rape. It was ugly and horrific and incredibly difficult to read, and anyone who will be triggered negatively by that should seriously double think the purchase of this book.
The suspense in this book was off the charts, especially in the beginning as PJ went through the most horrific event possible. The stress of her then going off the grid, hunting after those who hurt her, and doing everything in her power to bring down the bad guy was intense. The book felt like it was non-stop action, with just a few moments of R&R for both PJ and the KGI team. But again, that seemed to bring the whole original feel of the series back, all action all the time, with just the right amount of romance thrown in.
Speaking of romance, I’m glad the way Banks handled everything. Given what PJ went through, it was nice that she and Cole were given the chance to have a tryst before, and that he was there to pick up the pieces after. And, I have to say that the way PJ and Cole went about their romance was great as well. They were already great friends, and one-time lovers, that foundation they had already built was a good starting block for them to just keep going. Cole supported PJ even as she had difficulties with intimacy, and he was the perfect gentleman throughout. If I wasn’t already half in love with Cole before this book, I would have easily fallen for him in this story.
The angst in this book is right up there with the first in the series, The Darkest Hour. With all the drama between PJ and Cole, PJ and her team, and her team and the KGI group as a whole, the story was all angst all the time. But, I loved it. Although I’m not usually one for overly angsty books, I thought it was the perfect combination of angst and drama and kick-ass.
All in all I’m so glad that I read this book, as I really felt like Banks went back to the roots of the KGI series. I loved the action and the drama and suspense, and felt like it was just the right mix of over-the-top storyline and credibility. The romance between PJ and Cole never felt forced, especially after all the trauma PJ went through, and for that I was grateful. I’m anxious to get back into the series and see what Banks has in store for us next.
I give Shades of Gray a B