Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Book Review: Rush (Breathless, #1) by: Maya Banks
My Review: I would be lying if I said I am a hardcore Maya Banks fan. In fact, I've probably only read a handful of her books and I know she has been around for awhile. I love erotica and have a weakness for alpha male heroes, so why I'm jumping on the Banks fan train so late in the game will always be a mystery. Maybe it's because for the longest time my favorite erotic romance author was Lora Leigh. She used to deliver the type of books that were so good that I would buy anything she released without even knowing what they were about. She used to be that good. But I'm not the only Leigh fan that has been disappointed with her writing lately and it has left a huge void to be filled.
I stumbled upon an ARC copy of RUSH and when I read the synopsis, I was a bit skeptical. Older alpha male falls for his best friend's baby sister? Sound familiar? That's because Lora Leigh is the queen of writing that very scenario over and over again. And for some reason she used to nail it every time. So I was a bit worried going into RUSH, book 1 of Maya Bank's new Breathless series. Could it be as good as Lora Leigh's signature plot device? That would be a HELL YEAH!
Okay, let's get down to it. RUSH is already being compared to the Fifty Shades of Grey series as well as Sylvia Day's Crossfire series. While I have not succumbed to the Fifty Shades of Grey mania, I am a huge fan of the Crossfire novels. I do see some similarities, but I don't want to make this review a comparison/contrast essay. I think RUSH has enough power to stand on its own. But let me clarify a few things. While the Fifty Shades of Grey and Crossfire series deal with 1 couple and their story unfolds over several novels, each book in the Breathless series will focus on 1 couple with no cliffhangers. So while I do anxiously await book 2 in the Breathless series, I am at least satisfied that Mia and Gabe's story in RUSH is complete. Because let me tell ya, I am about to blow a gasket waiting to see what happens with Eva and Gideon in the highly anticipated 3rd novel of the Crossfire series. But I digress....
Let's talk about the story and characters. We have 3 best friends, Gabe, Jace, and Ash. They are extremely rich, run a business together, and have each others backs, even when shit goes bad to worse. They all have troubled pasts which makes RUSH and the planned sequels that much more intriguing. At the heart of RUSH is Gabe and his obsession with Jace's baby sister Mia. He's kept his hands off her out of respect for his friendship with Jace, but at the ripe age of 24 and finding her unescorted at one of his Hotel grand opening events, Gabe can't fight the attraction anymore. He'll probably burn in hell for being 14 years her senior and forbidden fruit, but he sees it as a sign to set his plans in motion since she is there alone, without her protective brother Jace hovering over her. What I find so interesting about Gabe is his imperfections. Yes, he is ultra alpha, possessive yumminess. But he also has some major trust issues. Like MAJOR. Like draws up a contract and has women sign it before entering any kind of sexual relationship with them, including Jace's baby sister, Mia. Crazy, right? Wait until you see some of the things Gabe includes in said contract! So yes, there are times when Gabe rides the fine line between love and hate and I must say, it's been a long time since I've struggled with loving and hating a character, especially in romance.
There is one particular scene in RUSH that is getting a lot of heat which relates to my comment that you will love and hate Gabe at times. Without giving away too many details, there is a scene that happens in Paris that may be a bit hard to get through. Some reviewers feel that the scene was unnecessary and unforgiveable, some felt it did not add anything to the story and was kinda just thrown in there. I would have to disagree. Yes, it was a bit terrifying and I was shocked that Maya Banks had the guts to go there. But I think it did serve a purpose. Gabe has been attracted to Mia since she was a teenager but doesn't make his move until she is 24. Once they start a physical relationship, he expects to sort of get her out of his system, but instead, he feels more drawn to her, more out of control. What happens in Paris was a test. It was his way of proving to himself that what he feels for Mia is strictly physical. But obviously he is proven wrong-- it is just tragic that it had to go that far for him to realize that Mia means more to him then he expected.
Other things that I enjoyed about RUSH or that you should know...what I love about this series over Sylvia Day's Crossfire novels is the third person narration. I have always been a big fan of 3rd person narration--I like being able to get into the minds of different characters, not just one. Being in Gabe's head really helped me understand him more and forgive him easier because I was able to feel his pain, anguish, fear, and regret.
Also, I think I am finally getting used to these...abstract cover art treatments. I've always been a fan of half naked men on the front covers, ya know, something to catch your eye and set itself apart from the hundreds of other books vying for your attention in bookstores and online. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't digging it at first; do you know how many times I passed Bared to You by Sylvia Day in the bookstore and online? I think at one point I even asked a friend what the hell those 2 things on the cover were until I finally realized after reading the book that they are cuff links! It's hard to break old habits and I still at times find myself dismissing or skipping books based on their cover art. I'm working on it since I definitely don't want to miss out on a great book because the cover wasn't appealing! If anything, I guess it forces us to really use our own imaginations.
I give RUSH 5 stars because it's been a long time since a story with this particular plot device has captivated my senses so completely. Maybe it's because I am mourning the loss of my favorite erotic romance author--yes, yes I know Lora Leigh isn't dead, I just miss the way she used to write and wonder where the fire has gone. Anyway, I give Maya Banks credit for making the story edgy, writing an alpha male character that you love to hate and hate to love, and did I forget to mention that the sex scenes are...HOT HOT HOT!!! Let me remind you again this is EROTIC literature, so...just saying, you have been warned! I anxiously await FEVER and BURN, books #2 and #3 in the Breathless series. Jace and Ash like to share women but that will be tested when Jace becomes obsessed with Bethany, a woman that ties him into knots and makes him feel things he has never felt before. It will be interesting to see how Jace and Ash's relationship changes when a woman finally becomes between them--er no pun intended!