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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.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spider's Revenge (Elemental Assassin, Book 5) by Jennifer Estep


Spider's Revenge is a whirlwind of a book. The plot did not take a straight line reaching the end -- there were a lot of left turns, a few swan dives, and Gin was too close to this to be the normal stoic Gin with endless patience.

It's the same Gin, but the tone of the book is a lot different than previous books. That is neither good nor bad, just an observation. This is personal, and she can't be as coolly detached as she normally is. 

Here's the blurb:

Old habits die hard for assassins.

And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.

Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very, very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters Mab hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Ice and Stone magic—and my irresistible lover, Owen Grayson—to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a good chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me . . . no matter what I have to do to make that happen.

The previous books have been building up to Spider's Revenge, if you haven't read the previous four books then I don't think you'll want to start with this one. 

As for the writing elements:
  • The plot should be predictable, since we all have a general idea of how it's going to end. And it sort of is predictable, but... not. There are enough surprises and twists to keep you on your toes until the very end.
  • Pacing had some issues, but nothing too major.
  • Prose and dialogue were excellent. Beautiful.
  • Character development is a funny thing. The Gin we see in Spider's Revenge is not the same Gin we've seen in previous books. But as I said earlier, this is personal, and that puts her off of her game. At first it bothered me, but the more I think about it, the more I appreciate it. Also, Gin does grow emotionally in this book, as do a few other characters.
  • World-building is consistent with previous books in the series.

I was concerned that the previous books have led up to Spider's Revenge, and (based on the blurb) wondered where the series would head once this plot arc was finished. Never fear, Ms. Estep has a plan, and we see the seeds of where things are heading. I'm anxious to see how she makes things play out when By a Thread comes out in February. 
  • Book Rating: Spider's Revenge: 9 of 10
  • Series Rating: 10 of 10

And finally, for those who can tell I wanted to say something but were holding back, I need to put this into spoiler text: We want revenge to feel good, but it rarely does. Especially when it has been an all consuming part of your life for a long time. When you finally have your revenge, it's often a let down. I appreciate that the book takes us into those feelings honestly, and even has Gin explore the feeling a bit, after the fact. She realizes that for so long killing Mab had been her focus, and now she is without a focus. It's a good book, but it left me feeling a bit melancholy. Things are not over, not by a long shot, and I look forward to the next book. (Select the spoiler text to view it.)

You can read blurbs and excerpts for the books in the Elemental Assassin series at Jennifer Estep's website

This series is one of my five most favorite series. I highly recommend it.

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)
6. By a Thread (Feb 28, 2012)

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