Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin
Publishing stats: March 26th 2013 by Pocket Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Blurb: Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.
Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.
Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.
First line: “That would look fabulous on you.”
***** If you're behind on the series, below may contain minor spoilers *****
What I liked: The action of this book takes place primarily over the course of a single night. A night. Not even twenty-four hours. Now, I've read books before with small time windows, but Ms. Estep packs an unlikely amount of action into the small number of hours she has to work with; she even introduces new and significant characters. But that's not what's most impressive. What's impressive, most impressive is the amount of development the larger series arc receives in this book. In a single night, a mysterious future character is introduced, one who can't help but have an impact, and one who, given his/her connections, can't help but fill the currently vacant Big Bad role. Owen and Gin's relationship takes a tiny step closer to reconciliation. Gin's past tragedy is not only touched upon, but further fleshed out. Do you want to know what this book is? It's the TARDIS - much, much, much bigger on the inside than you can possibly imagine.
What I didn’t like: I want to slap Owen. I realize this book takes place over just one night and, hey, that's not much more than a snapshot, after all, but OMG, I want to slap him. I understand why he and Gin are currently on a break. I understand his reasoning and I understand Gin's acceptance of that reasoning. I mean, heck, if she pushes she'll end up with the rest of their relationship from then on tainted and overshadowed by doubt and questions. Letting him have the time to work through things on his own solves that problem. That being said, Owen didn't go into this relationship blind; he knew who Gin was, knew what she was, and he claims to have loved her. And yet he's all surprised when she holds true to character and makes the choice to save lives rather than spare pain. He had a rather sweet moment at the end of this book but, honestly, if this goes on past the next book, I'm going to start to feel like they're being kept apart for the sake of drama and suspense alone. Ashland isn't a safe town, not by far, and Gin is definitely one of the city's more at-risk (for sudden death that is) citizens. Owen needs to work his head out and fast; before it's too late and both his chance and Gin are lying cold in the grave.
Overall: This is the eighth book in this series and one of the things I love most about it is that even while relationships, circumstances, and villains change, the characters still remain true to themselves. A lot has happened leading up to this book, including the defeat of the archvillian in book five, the return of old loves and the true reunion of sisters in book six, and an unbelievable break-up in book seven. You'd think Ashland would run out of evil doers by this point but apparently Ashland is a lot like Gotham on that front. The thing about this book, about this series, is that in spite of what's going on in the story (and this was not your average hostage situation by far), is that at the core its characters remain the same. Gin will always do what needs to be done to protect her family, will always feel guilt for those innocents caught up as collateral damage, will always see herself as a cold-hearted psychopath even as she strives to protect her friends, family, and innocent strangers from the ruthless, murdering monsters in power. Finn will always be suave, flirtatious, arrogant, and greedy. Bria will always be brave, stubborn, strong, and realistic. And so on. It's that vein of consistency that tips this series from "good" to "great" and this particular book is a stellar example of the hows and whys of that.
Would I read this author again: Yes - did you not read above? LOL
My rating: ☺☺☺☺/5
To purchase the book for yourself, you can find it at Chapters.Indigo.ca, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, or The Book Depository. Enjoy!