Jan 4, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Shades of Gray by Maya Banks (KGI #6)

4 star

Romantic Suspense
January 1 2013
Mass Market Paperback
400 pages
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Cole
Kick Ass Chick – PJ

From Goodreads –
P.J. and Cole were sharpshooting rivals on the same KGI team and enjoyed a spirited, uncomplicated camaraderie. Until the night they gave in to their desires and suddenly took their relationship one step further. In the aftermath of their one night stand, they’re called up on a mission that goes terribly wrong, and P.J. walks away from KGI, determined not to drag her teammates into the murky shadows she’s poised to delve into.

Six months later, Cole hasn’t given up his search for P.J., and he’s determined to bring her back home where she belongs. Bent on vengeance, P.J. is on a mission that will plunge her into a serpentine game of payback and make her question everything she’s ever believed in. Cole—and the rest of their team—refuse to let her go it alone. Even if it means sacrificing their loyalty to KGI and their very lives…


Shades of Gray is the sixth book in Maya Banks’ KGI series.  This is a good romantic suspense series in my opinion, even though the books are a little inconsistent for me.  What I mean is that one book I loved and the next book I find okay and the next book is great.  I’m glad to say that this time around, I enjoyed the book quite a bit, even though I found it a bit heavier and sadder than the rest.

Shades of Gray follows PJ and Cole, two members of KGI.  (They are on Steele’s team).  We have ‘known’ PJ and Cole since the very first book and I think that is why this book hit me harder than the others so far.  You see, PJ suffers something really horrific in this book.  So horrific, I had trouble reading the scene.  To see our PJ, who is the very definition of ‘kick ass chick’, a sniper in a highly trained military style team, have to go through what she did…it really was heart breaking.  That being said, if one of your favorite parts of PJ and Cole together in previous installments was their banter and witty comebacks (like me) you won’t see much of it in this book.  But it only makes sense that you don’t seeing the emotional level of the story is pretty steep.

As much as I found it painful to read what PJ has to survive, I liked how Maya wrote her in this book.  What do you think a warrior would do when facing a huge challenge?  That’s right – hunt it down and beat the shit out of it.  And that’s exactly what PJ does.  She’s lost, feels alone and doesn’t want to drag KGI down with her on her quest for revenge.  So she does the only thing she thinks she can do.  I must say, as much as I don’t support cold-blooded slaughter for revenge, I was actually sort of glad as the bodies fell in this book.  Does that make me a secretly sadistic person?  *shrugs* Or maybe I’m just a little more “girl power” then I realized. Anyhoo…her form of revenge and the steps she goes through as a method of dealing really suits her character.  It was great to see PJ go from strong to scared to damaged to slowly healing.  And Cole was right there being all amazing along the way.

Cole has always been one of my favorite men in this series.  His sense of humor is awesome – especially with PJ.  As I’ve already mentioned, you don’t see much of his snark in this book but what you see warms the heart.  He really does care for PJ – something that is apparent even before he realizes it.  He goes all alpha and macho and let me tell you, it’s adorable.  It’s never too much.  Just like the schmaltz.

That was an issue for me in the last book.  It was just too cheesy and that cheese didn’t fit the male lead.  That did not happen this time around.  The level of emotion fit perfectly with the characters – all of them.  In fact, PJ even comments on the ‘love fest’ that is the Kelly compound lately.  That made me giggle.

This book basically focuses on PJ and how she and Cole deal with what happened but it also follows KGI as they track down the participants in the child smuggling ring.  Don’t worry, you don’t witness that horror.  I think that would be too much to handle in one book so I was happy with what Maya decided not to make it the focus of this book.  But there are mission scenes and I always love tagging along with KGI on missions.  They are such bad-asses and everything they do is so cool!

I was happy to spend a little more time with Steele’s team.  I love how Maya writes her characters in this series– main or side they are really well done.  Even if they drive you crazy, they are still multi-dimensional and easy to relate to.  I enjoyed how the men all wanted to kick some butt to help PJ.  They all truly care for each other and are loyal beyond belief.  The whole crew is great.  And there are two new members that we see from afar…and one of them is a woman!  I am very curious about these two new recruits and am anxious to read more about them in future installments.

Speaking of future installments, Steele’s up next.  His book, Forged in Steele, is due out June 25th 2013 and his heroine is Maren , the doctor we’ve met a few times previously.  She is awesome and Steele is one big ol’ mystery, as most of the men in this series are.  Should be a strong installment.

Overall, Shades of Gray was a solid read.  Very heavy and quite sad but well written.  I do enjoy this series as I find Maya does a great job with the charaters’ dynamic.  She is a master at writing complex yet relatable characters and family and friend units that make you wish you were a part of them.  Okay, maybe I wouldn’t want to be on a mission with these people and I would wet myself most of the time because the stuff they do is just awe inspiring but I would totally hang out with them on their back porch once they head home.  I especially would love to spend time with a ‘healed’ PJ and Cole.  They really are good together.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’I was pretty pissed when I found out you went AWOL and nobody heard from you for six months,’ Cathy continued.  ‘If I’d known you were going to do something that dumbass, I’d never have helped you get out of here in the first place.’

‘You shouldn’t have anyway,’ Cole said, a low growl in his voice.

Cathy sent him a glare over her shoulder and sniffed disdainfully.  ‘Women have to stick together.  You couldn’t possibly understand the girlfriends’ code.  A good friend will bail you out when you land in jail, but a very good friend will be sitting beside you in that jail cell.’

‘How does that make any sense?’ Cole asked.

Books in the KGI series –
The Darkest Hour
No Place to Run
Hidden Away
Whispers in the Dark
Echoes at Dawn
Shades of Gray
Forged in Steele (June 2013)


  1. I should read more by Banks, I did like the one I read in this series

  2. I’m just now listening to the first book in the series, The Darkest Hour. So far so good, I’m really enjoying it.
    This one sounds pretty good, I hope to get to it soon.
    Thanks Julie 🙂

  3. blodeuedd – I am very curious to see if you feel the same as me about this series…

    Lupdilup – The first book was a good one. 🙂

  4. Thank you for this review. People have been bashing this book on many sites and I keep thinking “maybe I’m not suppose to like this book.”. I’m about halfway through Shades of Gray and I’m desperate to get back to reading it tonight. So far, it’s spot on in my opinion. PJ is a kick ass sniper and part of KGI. What do readers expect her to do? Fall down in despair and not want to get the bad guys? Her response is EXACTLY what I would expect from a character like her. I’m glad to read a review of someone who liked this book as much as I am.

  5. Lynn – I know, right?! I’m glad you are enjoying the book 🙂

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