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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, March 23, 2012

By a Thread (Elemental Assassin Book 6) by Jennifer Estep

I assumed Ms. Estep was ready to head into the next story arc, having wrapped up the previous story arc in book five. However, as it turned out, there were still a few things to wrap up, and she manages to wrap them up nicely in By a Thread. She wraps them up so nicely, in fact, that I would worry this was the last book in the series... except we get an excerpt of the next book at the end. Here's the blurb for By a Thread:

When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation. 

Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

If I'd been asked to rate By a Thread at the halfway point, I'd have likely been forced to give it a 5 or 6, which would have hurt because I adore this series. Sometimes a road trip story works, sometimes it doesn't... and the beginning of this one didn't work for me. However, it does get better, and had mostly redeemed itself by the end.

As for the writing elements:
  • The plot was okay, but not as good as I've come to expect from this author. Still, for the things she wanted to tie up, it was a nice way to do it.
  • Pacing had problems. I put the book down for three days before picking it back up at one point.
  • Prose and dialogue were exceptionally well done.
  • Character development is always good with this author.
  • World-building was consistent with previous books in the series.
As I said, the last half of the book redeems most of the first half of the book. I'm giving By a Thread a 7 of 10. The series will remain a 10 of 10. I adore Gin Blanco and her eclectic friends.
  • Book Rating: By a Thread: 7 of 10
  • Series Rating: 10 of 10

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)
7. Widow's Web (Aug 21, 2012)


1 comment:

  1. I, too, felt it wasn't quite up to her usual standards. To me, it felt like she was recycling plot elements and using this story to wrap up a few things that needed closure.