Review: Safe at Last by Maya Banks

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Slow Burn #3
The third book in the beloved #1 bestselling author’s sexy, romantic suspense Slow Burn series…

They say young love doesn’t last, but a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with unique abilities and the hometown golden boy were determined to defy the odds. For Zack Covington, Anna-Grace—his “Gracie”—was the one. Until one night forever alters the course of their future, when a devastated Gracie disappears without a trace, leaving Zack to agonize over what happened to the girl he loved. As the years pass, his desperate efforts to find her uncovered nothing.

Now working for Devereaux Security, he stumbles across a painting featuring a special place only he and Gracie would know. The image is too perfectly rendered for it to be coincidence. His Gracie must be alive. When he finally tracks her down, he is shocked—and heart-broken—to discover the wounded shell of the girl he once knew and still loves. Her psychic gifts are gone, and worse, she believes he betrayed her all those years ago.

Zack has enemies, and once his weakness is discovered, Gracie becomes a target for revenge. He’ll have to save her before he can earn her trust and her love. And he vows they’ll never be torn apart again.

I don't quite know how I feel about Safe at Last. I didn't hate it and it kept my attention, but I have a lot of issues with it. In His Keeping (book 2) is still the best in the series in my opinion.
Safe at Last was about Zack Covington, an employee in the Devereaux Security Services, who we met in the previous books. He was in love with his high school sweetheart, Anna-Grace "Gracie" Hill and they planned on getting married and having a lot of kids. But one day, Gracie just disappeared without a trace and in the next 12 years, Zack left a promising pro-football career to work in law enforcement, to better find Gracie, until he was hired in DSS. Zack was about to give up finding her until a DSS job brought him face to face with Gracie. But Gracie didn't want anything to do with him, she was angry with him and accusing him of ruining her life, and she was deathly afraid of him. Zack wanted answers, because the way he saw it he should be the one angry with her. She left him without a word. What made Gracie run 12 years ago? Why was she so afraid of him and angry at the same time? What exactly happened to her?

All of those questions were what kept me reading and surprisingly engrossed in the story. Not the characters--I've seen Zack and Gracie's characters before. They feel like cutouts of previous heroes and heroines from other Maya Banks books. Also, nothing really happened plot-wise and action-wise for most of the novel. Safe at Last began with a DSS rescue but after that it was mostly Zack ranting about how his dreams of having babies with Gracie was never to be and him wondering just what the heck happened to her 12 years ago until the bad guys from In His Keeping beat her up so Zack put on his alpha, I-have-to-keep-her-safe-at-all-cost hat and kept close to her even though she wanted nothing to do with him. Then, it's more of Zack agonizing about his lost white picket fence dreams with Gracie and trying to get answers about the past.

But, you guys, I was into it! It might have to do with the fact that I was reading this during a readathon, but I was never bored. I got frustrated with Zack (yes! I get it, Zack--you don't have to keep thinking and saying the same thing over and over and over again), but surprisingly I was not bored. I don't know... it was weird. I was really invested in the story and I wanted to know the answers along with Zack. Even when one of the big answers was finally revealed and I knew (and I was right!) who orchestrated the despicable thing that happened to Gracie, I was still into the story. Like I said in my review of In His Keeping, the magic of Maya Banks is that her books are very entertaining and I want to know what will happen next despite the cheesiness and the repetitiveness of the characters inner monologue and I keep turning the pages despite everything.

I have to mention though that there were a few typos in the final paperback. I usually wouldn't mention typos because minor typos are beyond me, but there were a couple that were glaringly obvious even to me. For example, one of the secondary characters was called Mathew (there's no character called Mathew in the entire book) instead of Wade in one sentence. I don't think it was Maya's fault; it was just poor editing.

The thing I liked most about Safe at Last, though, was that Maya did not force the sex between Zack and Gracie. There's only one sex scene in this book and it's on the last chapter. I was okay with that because it wouldn't have been right for Zack and Gracie's characters if anything sexual happened to them before. I'm all about the smexy scenes but if it's not right for the characters, then it would've ruined the entire book for me. So, yay, Maya Banks, for not forcing the sex for the sake of having multiple sex scenes. 

I can't outright recommend Safe at Last by itself, but if you read and enjoyed Keep Me Safe and In His Keeping, then definitely pick up Safe at Last. If you want to read a romantic suspense by Maya Banks, I think you're better off picking up her KGI series. Admittedly, the Slow Burn series is not my favorite series by her (my favorite will always be the McCabe trilogy, her historical romance series) but I plan on picking up future books by her. 

If you're interested, I reviewed the first two books, Keep Me Safe (book 1) and In His Keeping (book 2) in the series previously. You don't need to read the first book to enjoy this one, but to understand one of the secondary storylines in Safe at Last, you might want to pick up In His Keeping.

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