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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4) by Jennifer Estep


I adore Gin Blanco. Yeah, sure, she's an assassin. Assassins kill people, and that's generally considered to be a bad thing. But Gin has her own code of honor, and she's different. And besides, she's retired now.

If you've been reading this series then you know that there is going to be a final showdown between Gin and Mab at some point. If you haven't been reading the series then stop reading this review and go read my review of the first book in this series.

As for whether the much awaited showdown happens in this book... let me just say that the title of book five in this series is going to be Spider's Revenge. But that's okay, Gin is still building her own strength, and getting her own house in order before she deals with Mab. And a lot of that happens in Tangled Threads.

Here's the blurb:

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assas­sins any night than deal with some­thing as tricky, con­vo­luted, and frag­ile as my feel­ings. But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assas­sin known as the Spi­der. Hov­er­ing out­side sexy busi­ness­man Owen Grayson’s front door like a ner­vous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past — or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my fore­head. 

Cold-blooded Fire ele­men­tal Mab Mon­roe has hired one of the smartest assas­sins in the busi­ness to trap me. Elek­tra LaFleur is skilled and effi­cient, with deadly elec­tri­cal ele­men­tal magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone pow­ers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t sur­vive this bat­tle. I intend to kill LaFleur — or die try­ing — because Mab wants the assas­sin to take out my baby sis­ter, Detec­tive Bria Coolidge, too. The only prob­lem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sib­ling … or that I’m the mur­derer she’s been chas­ing through Ash­land for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead …

A few things happen in Tangled Threads that I've been waiting to see. Plus, we get a piece of jaw dropping information towards the end of the book. Not a cliffhanger, just information we didn't have before.

My one complaint? All of the murmuring that happens. It bugged me enough that I went back and did a search... and someone murmurs 42 times in the book. Some of the murmuring fits, but some of it just made me wonder why she wasn't speaking up at that moment, why she felt the need to murmur. It sounds like a petty thing to complain about, but it pulled me out of the story somewhere around 30 of those 42 times it was used.

As for the writing elements:
  • The main plot was good if a bit predictable. Still, predictable or not, it was a good step towards Gin learning more about her own powers.  The plots that are part of the series arc had some interesting twists and a few nice resolutions. Or partial resolutions.
  • Pacing was mostly good but had a few minor issues.
  • Prose and dialogue flowed nicely with the exception of the murmuring.  
  • Character development continues to have depth and interest and make you feel as if you know the characters.
  • World-building is still exceptionally well done.

I'm torn on what to rate Tangled Threads. I've rated every book so far in this series as a 10 of 10, but I think Tangled Threads is going to get a 9 of 10. It's still a very good book, but just not quite a 10. The series rating is still easily a 10 of 10.
  • Book Rating: Tangled Threads: 9 of 10
  • Series Rating: 10 of 10
You can read blurbs and excerpts for the books in the Elemental Assasin series at Jennifer Estep's website.

1. Spider's Bite
2. Web of Lies (May 25, 2010)
3. Venom (September 28, 2010) 
4. Tangled Threads  (April 26, 2011)
5. Spider's Revenge  (September 27, 2011)

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