Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release date: March 26, 2013
Series: Elemental Assassin #8
Source: Review copy from publisher via Edelweiss
Reviewed by: Jenn
The eighth hotly anticipated book in the Elemental Assassin series by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Estep: it’s Gin Blanco's party—and you’ll cry if she wants you to.
Against her better judgment, Gin is coerced into attending a high society gala with the rest of Ashland's elite underworld. On display: the priceless art collection of her deceased nemesis, Mab Monroe, and an excess of crime boss swagger. While not comfortable in her fancy attire, Gin gets vastly more interested in the evening’s events when a group of thieves bursts in and tries to seize the valuable, dangerous gems. Facing a Die Hard-esque scenario in which she must free hostage partygoers while herself trapped in the museum, things get a little bit messy when the bloodshed begins. Let's just say that Gin should have chosen the red gown…
Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin is one of my favourite series, and has been since I picked up SPIDER'S BITE. The first first five novels take care of one major story arc - Gin's quest for revenge against Mab Monroe - and two subsequent novels deal with Gin's newfound infamy and past loves in both her and Owen's lives. In DEADLY STING, Owen and Gin are on the outs as a result of the events in WIDOW'S WEB and Finn tries to take Gin's mind off of things by dragging her to a fancy exhibit of Mab's treasures. Of course, Gin can't go anywhere without finding trouble and she finds herself in the middle of an elaborate heist. This isn't my favourite book in the series but it's still a strong entry and definitely worth a stop at the bookstore!
Before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear: you can’t read this post without getting some spoilers about previous novels so stop now if you're not all caught up!
I really liked the concept of DEADLY STING. I'm a big fan of heist stories and Jennifer Estep has done a great job of taking a stick-'em-up scenario and giving it a special twist. The heist itself is layered -- think The Usual Suspects layered -- and the stakes are quite high since many of Gin's loved ones are trapped in the museum. It all comes together into a great story filled with exciting action sequences, great emotional moments, and a few neat surprises. Gin faces a strong, clever foe and watching them match wits and fists were quite thrilling. I don't want to spoil anything for you so I won't talk about specific plot points but I will say that the story is clever and unexpected. There are some fantastic moments for Finn and the early chapter with the dress shop scene is perfect Gin.
Estep also manages to squeeze in some time for Gin to deal with her break up with Owen. The focus of the story is definitely on saving the hostages but Gin is forced to confront her feelings for Owen and the distinct possibility that their relationship might truly be over. Don't assume, however, that this means they're done for good because there is still some serious chemistry. Their connection continues to leap off the page, even with all of the distance between them. Owen and Gin are imperfect people, both completely exposed with all of their history, but I'm still rooting for them at this point.
If I'm not mistaken, DEADLY STING is the end of the second major story arc in the series, and HEART OF VENOM will bring something new. The book ends is a way that has me really revved up for what's sure to be another amazing novel from the talented Ms. Estep. This is one series that just keeps getting more interesting and I can't even begin to guess what might happen in the future.