REVIEW: Into the Mist by Maya Banks
Dear Ms. Banks:
I know that alot of people give up on authors after one or two books. I also know that I have “hot button” issues that will make me leave an author behind even after one book, or a portion of a book. I had real issues with the portrayal of the heroine in For Her Pleasure. My notes of the book said “Kit Townsend was such a weak character. I felt sorry for her mostly. She was pitiable.” I didn’t finish the book, not even enough to write a DNF review. I am big on strong heroines and I didn’t feel that Kit Townsend met that definition. Ordinarily, a weak heroine will prevent me from following that author’s writing in the future.
So this is the story of how I came to read Into the Mist. Last Thursday, I came home a bit early from work. I had had a tough week and I was looking forward to just vegging out. Your book, Sweet Surrender, was the only book that I had received that day and I just started paging through it and then I started reading it and ultimately, I finished it and thought, “hey, I liked this book.”
This weekend, I was looking for something to read and found myself perusing the Samhain store. Yours was the number one bestseller there. I thought, why not? And later on Saturday night, I found myself reading one of the best heroines I had found in a long, long time.
Tyana Berezovsky is a member of Falcon Group, a shadowy mercenary organization whose purpose and intent I really couldn’t figure out but frankly I didn’t care because this story is more about the characters than its surroundings. The Falcon Group is really a family comprised of Tyana, Damiano, Jonah and Maddox but Ty’s first allegiances are owed to Damiano who saved her when they were orphan children on the street. When Damiano is exposed to a chemical which forces him to shift into various elemental and physical beings and that might very well drive him mad, Ty is determined to find a cure.
She learns about Eli Chance and that he is a shifter as well, but one that has total control over his abilities. She sets out to discern what secrets he may hold. This is where the story stumbles a bit. It was unclear how she was going to elicit Chance’s secrets. Perhaps Ty herself does not know. But it seemed to be a bit of plot hole that was never resolved.
Eli Chance, unfortunately, does not hold the cure for Damiano. He is a born shifter. The only one he knows and he himself has the burden of caring for two members of his military team that were exposed to the same chemical. They shift into cats but like, Damiano, lack control.
In a book filled with such testosterone, it would be easy for a female character to fade and be insignificant. We have seen before in other popular series. But Ty never lets you pay attention to anyone but her. She drives this story. Her desperate search for a cure for Damiano leads her to betray everyone else in her family. She will do anything to achieve a positive result for Damiano. It is the selflessness in which she goes about her mission which allows the reader, and her family, to understand her motivation and to hope she is successful.
I think it would have been easy for this plot line to falter because Ty’s actions are not always honorable. But she is sympathetic and it allowed this reader to buy into Ty’s motivations. Ty is also pretty honest when confronted about her actions. She doesn’t duck responsibility or lie to get out of a tough situation. It’s her willingness to accept the consequences of even her questionable actions that makes her so appealing.
I also appreciated that Ty was a full member of her mercenary family. There was no question that she could handle her own on missions and her skill was fully displayed in her physical combat with Eli Chance. There is little emotional conflict. Neither character appears to be opposed to loving the other. The only problem was that Ty’s family did not want to sacrifice her for the sake of Damiano and believed that Eli Chance presented a danger. Eli was untrusting of anyone since the government had left his team to die.
Most of the conflict is external and is driven by both Eli and Ty’s need to find a cure for their loved ones. I also liked the way the story ended. It was satisfying enough to provide some closure but made me hungry for more stories about the Falcon Mercenary group. I know that there must be more coming, right? I can’t emphasize enough how much I liked Ty as a character. She was portrayed as physically capable as any male member on her team. She was treated like an important member of the group and not merely a pedestal prop. Without Ty, perhaps this story is average. Eli Chance irritated me. He kept calling her “feisty” and “sugar” and a bunch of other condescending names. Despite this, I felt like Ty was a take no prisoners kind of girl and would beat that crap out of him eventually. B+ because I just liked Ty so much.