I think I enjoyed this Elemental Assassin story more than I have any installment in a long time. The series hasn’t been the same for me since Widow’s Web, for a number of reasons. I’ve had serious issues with romantic arc. And we’ve been missing a villain of Mab Monroe’s caliber for Gin to face. The stories have felt more like standalones, not building toward anything. Frankly, I was just losing interest. Until now.
In the wake of Mab’s death, Gin has been trying to keep a low profile, but the bad guys of Ashland have been targeting her, trying to make a name for themselves by taking out the Spider. Obviously in Ashland, evil equals stupid, because everyone underestimates her and ends up dead. Anyway, this time around, Bria is more of a target than Gin. She’s been trying to take down a big-time drug dealer and he’s had just about enough of her interference. He takes out one of her informants, essentially making her more determined than ever to put him behind bars. She’s even willing to put a potential witness at risk to get her conviction. But Gin isn’t about to let anyone get to her baby sis –or her young waitress who witnessed Benson’s crime. So she ends up right in the middle of the brewing war with a powerful vampire who can suck the emotion (and life) out of anyone he touches.
I guess I am finally over the Owen thing. His character took a real hit for me for several books. But Jennifer Estep seems to have put all of his stupidocity behind him and let him be a good boyfriend again. If I let myself think about it, I still get mad, but the Owen in this story is back to the supportive and generous man
I Gin fell in love with. This is a good thing, since Bria takes a major step backward, landing firmly back in the selfish immature bubble where we saw her in By a Thread. I wanted to jump in the book and smack her in the face. I question how she could show such utter disregard and frankly, unkindness, to a sister that she has been building a relationship for all of this time. I get her focus and determination, but callousness to those that love her is not ok. And I am never down with people hurting Gin’s feelings.
There are two things I really liked about this story. The first is that I felt like we’re rebuilding a big picture. True, we haven’t seen Benson before, but he ties into the structure of the underworld and sets us up with the Big Bad we’ve been waiting for. Our villains come full circle and I like where Estep is going here. The second, it’s just ultimately so empowering for Gin. As always, she has to endure some pretty hard knocks achieve victory (and I cursed Bria’s name the whole time) but I loved the climax and what it means for Gin’s future.
I have stayed with this series, even when it disappointed me, because Gin is such a great character. I love her balance of strength and vulnerability. I love the way she protects people the way no one but Fletcher ever protected her. How she is willing to sacrifice herself, not only for those she loves, but for the innocent. How she can kill without blinking an eye. Yet she still struggles with insecurities and a desire to be loved that’s deeper than she even realizes.
It’s not perfect. Other than Bria’s regression, I found myself kind of annoyed with the repetition. I feel like we hear in every book how Gin takes “her little white pills” but she and Owen use condoms just to be safe. Just put the condom on, for crying out loud. And I think Estep worked in the term “poison promise” three times, which was twice too many.
But overall, I liked it. And I am actually kind of excited to see what’s going to happen next.
*ARC Provided by Pocket Books
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books