Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban fantasy
Mass market paperback: 400 pages
Release date: August 21, 2012
Series: Elemental Assassin #7
Reviewed by: Jenn
The seventh book in the hugely popular Elemental Assassin series by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer Estep—Gin Blanco is back and ready for action.
My name is Gin, and I kill people. It’s something I've been doing for years as the assassin called Spider, but now, it’s turned into a necessity on my part just to survive all the lowlifes in Ashland who are gunning for me. The underworld is still in turmoil, and I seem to be on everyone’s hit list these days.
To add to Gin’s problems, her lover Owen’s ex is in town. Salina is back in Ashland to reclaim an old family legacy—and she thinks that Owen is hers for the taking. Also in the mix is Phillip Kincaid, a casino owner and all-around shady character who has a mysterious connection to both Owen and Salina.
Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. Her water elemental magic makes her a dangerous enemy—and someone who can go toe-to-toe with Gin’s Ice and Stone power. But Gin is determined to get to the bottom of Salina’s deadly scheme, even though it just might cost her everything…including Owen.
Before I start talking about WIDOW’S WEB, I want to make one thing super clear: you can’t read this post without getting some spoilers about previous novels. So if you’re not caught up and you want everything to be a surprise, stop now and come back after you’ve read the book!
With that out of the way, I’m going to (re)start by saying how much I enjoyed WIDOW’S WEB. I wasn’t sure what would happen after Gin accomplished her quest to kill Mab Monroe in SPIDER’S REVENGE and after the vacation storyline of BY A THREAD so I was very curious to see what Jennifer Estep would do this time around since Gin’s back in Ashland, trying to return to business as usual. This book is a little bit different in that respect – Gin’s at home, coping with her infamy, watching Ashland’s underworld figure out who’s the new top dog. And with Mab dead, the driving force of the first five novels is gone. Thankfully, WIDOW’S WEB has everything I love about the Elemental Assassin series – amazing action, crisp dialogue, tight plots, delicious food, and constant character development – and we finally, FINALLY get to dig into Owen’s past! I’ve always like Owen but he’s always seemed a little too perfect to me – so accepting with Gin’s assassin lifestyle, handsome, rich, adorable with his sister, super sexy – and so it was nice to learn more about where he came from and his time on the streets. It made him much more real and human to me. And it all happened because Salina showed up in town, so thanks, Salina, for being such a crazy dame and scary opponent.
I really mean it when I say that Salina is a crazy dame. She has this superb entrance at the start of the book and some very cool powers but she’s also obsessed and sociopathic. She’s back to get what she feels she’s owed and she doesn’t mind stomping all over everyone to get it. But she does it with a lot of flair. There are some great flashbacks over the course of the novel that show how her evil nature evolved and I loved those little vignettes for the insights we get into not just Salina but everyone involved.
The other characters we meet from Owen and Eva’s past are pretty cool, too. My favourite is Phillip, who was first introduced in THREAD OF DEATH, the e-novella that takes place between SPIDER’S REVENGE and BY A THREAD at Mab’s funeral. We get a taste of him in there but now he’s front and centre, much to Owen’s dismay. His introduction to the series bodes well, I think, because he’s interesting and powerful and shakes up the family dynamic.
The parallels between Owen's relationship with Salina and Gin's with Donovan Caine get mentioned in the book. I thought this was really great because the roles are now reversed and Gin has to experience the jealousy and hurt. There are some truly wonderful, emotional scenes between Gin and Owen as they discuss Salina and the realizations that her presence has fostered. With the series being told from Gin’s perspective, it’s easy to side with her all the time but Owen makes some great points about the nature of their relationship. These aren’t comfortable discussions, and not ones I’d want to be having this discussion with my person, but they’re about important issues that need to be addressed.
There are other things I want to add but I feel like this post is already lengthy so I’m going to do it bullet-style:
- This book got me thinking: Will Gin get another Mab-like nemesis? Or is Jonah McAllister being set up to be the next major thorn in her side? (You can learn more about this in my interview with Jennifer, which will go live shortly.)
- Bria and Gin’s relationship take a nice step forward. It’s not a huge focus of the book but there are a few nice moments between them and I think you’ll appreciate them as much as I did. They’ll put a smile on your face.
- I’m feeling a little Finn-deprived this time around. (I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much Finn.)
- I loved the last scene in the book. I won’t say why to avoid spoilers but I think it’s a lovely way to close this chapter of the series.
Overall, WIDOW’S WEB is another strong entry into the Elemental Assassin series and I’m already anticipating DEADLY STING. I don’t know what Jennifer Estep does with this series next but I’m confident it will be amazing!