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Forged in Steele Review
on June 25, 2013
Alright. Let me start by saying that I actually really liked this book. I did.
I love Steele's character and I like Maren and from the first time I read them interact with each other in the first KGI book, I hoped they would get together. So I was very excited when I saw that they were the hero and heroine of this book.
But, I expected more from it along the lines along the lines of plot and characterization, ESPECIALLY characterization.
The book is basically about a dangerous man's obsession with Maren and how that affects her life and Steele's. It was an okay plot, with some nice little twists and surprises, and I actually enjoyed it, in terms of action. But the relationship between Maren and Steele, while not really forced, moved way too quickly for me. Much too quickly. It was like they have sex. Half of action plot ensues. BAM. They love each other. Not what I expected. I wanted to see why they grew to love each other, not little snippets of why, and not so much gushiness from both of them about love that I was almost annoyed by it. Where was the build up to love? I wanted to write "show me, don't tell me."
In previous books Steele has been described as cold, ice-hearted, aloof, etc. This may have been true for the first 25% of this book, but we're not really told why and that's not the case for the majority of this book. We're exposed to his past, which accounts for lingering sadness, but the past doesn't seem to account for his aloofness and control. We're never told why Steele became the "cold" man that he was.
And he was only cold for the first quarter of the book. After he and Maren spend the night together, he becomes a COMPLETELY different person. As the aloof man I've come to know through these books, I expected a lot more reluctance and hesitance on Steele's part. He completely switched from "iceman" to loving man. It was so jarring because I feel as though it wasn't eased into, it's just like a switch went off and he was changed. I just wish we'd seen more buildup between Maren and Steele to ease into this different man. By the end of the book, I felt like he was a completely different person. I almost couldn't connect his two sides as being the same man.
One of the things that I liked about this book is that Maren actually has a family. She really does have an honest-to-God, LOVING family. This was so refreshing for me because in this series, the heroines usually have no one until they meet the Kellys. They're unloved and unwanted. That wasn't the case with Maren. She has people who care! (Who aren't a part of the Kelly/KGI clan)
I also liked that Steele and Maren were willing to compromise so that they could both be happy with their life choices. They were both willing to make sacrifices in terms of their careers, and did adjust themselves when needed. It wasn't one-sided. And in Maren's case, I loved that she was levelheaded and honest about her needs and wants. She knew what took priority and was willing to make necessary moves.
This was a big plus for me because I've always hated that Grace went from being on the run, never having a chance to really live, to being virtually kept prisoner in Rio's home. It sounds so stifling and although I know she loves him, it's hard for me to understand her complacency with having no freedom to do what she wants. It's like he tells her where and when she can somewhere, the same with Elizabeth.
All in all, I do recommend the book because while the sappiness might be difficult to grasp coming from Steele, it is still rather cute. Also, seeing a refreshing heroine background was a major plus for me. For once, the heroine wasn't brutalized and rendered so helpless she couldn't stand on her own two feet. Yes, Maren leaned on Steele when she needed to, but she was still very much her own person and had her own personality that wasn't inextricably linked to Steele. She was likeable because I could actually see her as a real person. Unlike the other KGI women, with the exception of PJ, I find Maren to be so real because her choices and decisions actually seem like plausible decisions that women would make. Many times in this series, I've found the heroines severely lacking because they just roll over and accept what their heroes tell them and never question them. I find it hard to accept some of their choices because I can't see women really doing some of the things they do to be with their heroes. (No one can convince me that an average woman would want to live on a compound with the rest of her husband's family as her neighbors.)
For this reason alone, Forged in Steele has probably become my favorite KGI yet.
Happy reading. :)