Every time I start a new Elemental Assassin book, it’s like visiting an old friend. Not that I’m tight with any killers. But these books are so familiar, inviting, exciting and fun. What’s more… They are consistent. The series has a tone, a voice, that never wavers. And from the first page of each installment, I am back in Gin’s world, like I never left.
Fans of the series have been waiting for this book from the beginning. We’ve known for a long time that Mab Monroe is the woman who killed Gin’s family; the woman who set in motion the life changing events that turned her into an assassin. Now Gin is finally poised to have her revenge and kill her nemesis. One of the things that surprised me, though, is that Gin’s efforts begin on page 1. From the start, our Spider has her crossbow in hand, ready to fire. But, as Gin likes to remind us, luck is rarely on her side. The hit doesn’t go according to plan –and her attempts only ratchet things up another notch.
Ashland is crawling with bounty hunters, targeting not only Gin, but her baby sister Bria too. And with that risk, there can be no more waiting. Gin has to step up her game and finally strike down Mab before she loses the last living member of her family.
There were so many things I loved about this book. The action is awesome. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out. (Their voices are so clear, I feel like I know them.) We’re treated to more great nuggets of backstory… Including the recounting of what happened to Sophia all those years ago. We’ve got more progression in Gin’s relationship with the amazing Owen. And of course, the big showdown… which doesn’t disappoint.
There are only two things that keep me from shouting from the rooftops. One, Estep does tend to repeat details. Like the fact Mab is “the most powerful elemental born in 500 years.” I think we got that nugget 3 or 4 times. Granted, I read an advanced copy and perhaps all those references won’t exist in the final book. But it bears a mention. The second issue: what I’ll refer to as Bria and Finn’s “big mistake.” I won’t spoil the details, but the pair makes a major error in judgement that just didn’t work for me. Their lapse felt out of character for both of them, given the circumstances they were in. It felt more like a plot device than a natural progression, and it bothered me.
But (and this is a big BUT) neither issue would keep me from recommending this book. Gin is such a great character. She is smart, brave, loyal and strong. Estep never shies away from the fact that she is a killer but there is never any doubt that she is also a heroine. Even though I know there are more installments in the works, this book could have easily served as an end for the series. I felt so good when I finished… triumphant. And I loved reading that last line: “My name is Gin. And I kill people.” You’re damn right!
4 1/2 stars.
*ARC provided by author for review.
Spider’s Revengeby Jennifer EstepRelease Date: September 27, 2011Publisher: Pocket Books