RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks


Title: The Darkest Hour
Author: Maya Banks
Publication Info: Berkley 2010
ISBN: 9780425227947
Genre: Romantic Suspense

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.Jennifer reviewed this book for the RITA® Reader Challenge, which finaled in the Romantic Suspense category.

Book CoverPlot Summary: It’s been a year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly saw his wife Rachel alive. Now he’s received an anonymous phone call claiming Rachel is alive. To find her, Ethan will have to doge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise.

And here, in convenient list formation, is Jennifer’s review:


1. The characters are human.

2. The emotion is real.

3. The reasons behind the characters actions make sense and don’t seem forced.

4. The author manages to introduce and grow a big cast of characters in a fairly short book. While many are still archetypical they do begin to get some depth by the end of the story.

5. The writing is well done and it reads very quickly.

6. At the end the author doesn’t wave a magic wand and say that everything is fixed. This gives the characters a little more depth for the next story.


1. Some of the situations are a bit far fetched.

2. Some of the characters start out archetypical (some stay archetypical).

3. There is a LOT of setup of the next few books in the series.


At times, I wanted to either hug Ethan or slap him upside his head. I really thought Rachel would be a weak needy woman. Instead, she was strong and intelligent. I was really rooting for her to remember her life and get away from the bad guys. Ethan’s brothers and parents are a strong family unit that is believable. I even liked that the parents “adopted” Rusty after she broke into their house. In fact, I am very excited that Rusty will eventually get her own story. If you are looking for a good contemporary, military romance, then this is a great book to add to your list.

This book is available from Amazon | Kindle | | Kobo | Sony | WORD Brooklyn

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    library addict says:

    I enjoyed this book, but wanted to like it more than I did.  I really wanted to read more about Ethan and Rachel and felt way too much time was given over to the other characters. 

    I also felt the brothers acted out of character at times simply to provide a source of conflict (their reaction to Rusty) or advance the plot (Rachel’s solo visit to the therapist).

    Still, I enjoyed it enough that I read the second book in the series.  And book three is on my Sony TBR, I’m just waiting to read it closer to book 4’s release date.

  2. 2
    Danielle D says:

    I’m really enjoying her new series.  My heart broke for both Ethan and Rachel especially for Ethan.

  3. 3

    This series is fun light reads … and I really do have to agree on certain situations being a bit out there in a slightly different reality.

    Ethan is my least favorite of the brothers. But I really have to ask—how can one family produce so many muscle bound He-men? Or is it just me?

    Though this book did give me my favorite moment ever, in their first sex scene:

    Her underwear fell down her legs and pooled at her feet.

    Because this little petite woman has been wearing little panties the entire book until now. And while I will agree any amount of fabric can “pool”, I just couldn’t get the image of this large mound of fabric and them getting tangled up in it and falling on the floor. Was almost expecting it afterwards (but of course it wasn’t a gathering of clowns so I was out of luck).

    Maybe I’m too easily amused, but it was just one of those things that made my brain pause … and then act like a preteen for ten minutes as I snorted with laughter.

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    Ugh, I hate to be that person – my issues with the book have not stopped me from reading the next book in line or contemplating buying the third (Garett’s story). This story is pretty good overall, my main problem is that the brothers can be way too overprotective. In a very masculine family, I do get it and it’s not as bad in this book as it is in the next.

    Strong heroines are a staple in this series and the next book has a great female lead who I loved. Though the male overprotection crossed the line into physical intimidation in book 2 and I found myself wanting to smack all the brothers on the head and remind them that just because they are all huge, muscular, and delicious does not mean they can go using it to corner the already traumatized heroine and make her agree to their plans of keeping her safe.

  5. 5
    Merrian says:

    Interesting review and responses. My issue is that the family acts more like a cult – let’s all livein our compund with lots of guns. I found the guys not over-protective but over-controlling. I also thought that writing-wise things happened to advance the plot e.g. sending her off to the therapist on her own. that doesn’t make snese to me given where Rachel is in her recovery and the aforesaid nature and behaviour of the guys.  I also hated the simplistic politics and interactionss. I love so many of Maya’s other books this was a dissappoint for me.

  6. 6
    eggs says:

    Agree with the B+.  I enjoyed this enough to read the next books, but was left with a slight uneasiness about their future as a couple.  Ethan was so focussed on “not fucking it up like he did the last time”, that I sometimes wondered if he actually saw Rachel as a real person, or just as a chance at redemption.  He was so focussed on his past mistakes, that he wasn’t even aware that Rachel had moved on and was now a different person with different needs.

  7. 7
    Kathleen says:

    I am so into this series big time.. These Kelly men just make a girl stand up and scream Ecstasy….. Cannot wait for the next instalment of the KGI men….

  8. 8
    Mary G says:

    I did read the comment often about too many characters etc.
    It’s the first of a series & there needs to be a setup. That said, I loved every character and wanted more of every one. It should have been a longer book! LOL.

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