Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Widow's Web

(Elemental Assassin #7)
Jennifer Estep
Adult Urban Fantasy
400 pages
Pocket
Available August 21st
Received from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
I used to murder people for money, but lately it’s become more of a survival technique. 

Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town anyway. Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back, she thinks he’s hers for the taking. Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.

MY THOUGHTS
Widow’s Web is the seventh installment of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, continuing to impress with a heroine who, book by book, allows readers under her substantial emotional defenses to show us yet another layer of the already multi-layered assassin known as The Spider. One of the most intriguing aspects of these books–outside a highly entertaining core cast of characters–is Ms. Estep’s ability to craft new and unique villains to take Gin on in each tale. After seven books, one might expect Gin’s nemeses to have core similarities or common traits, and the battles to feel as though we’ve been through them with her before, but to our utter delight, Ms. Estep flexes her villainous creativity and brings another memorable foe to the table in this newest book. Where some past villains have been loud in their evil, throwing the weight of their physical strength, magic, wealth and power around and attacking Gin head-on, the evil in Widow’s Web is far quieter, and while she does pose a physical threat to Gin, the emotional threat she represents is far more terrifying for us as readers.

Gin is a paradoxical heroine—exhibiting the utmost physical prowess and consummate skill when it comes to her assassin’s trade, but yet as each book continues she seems to become more and more fragile (relatively), our knowledge and understanding of who she is stripping away some of cool detachment and the harshness of the assassin and replacing it with the insecurities and vulnerabilities of a very human woman. She’s not the type to show any outward display of emotion or give voice to her feelings, instead she deflects anything that causes her pain with The Spider’s tough-as-nails demeanor, hiding the wounds the words or actions of those around her have caused until she can acknowledge them in private with only our eyes as witnesses. It’s these private intimacies that are becoming more numerous as the series continues, and with the return of a woman from Owen’s past in Widow’s Web, our connection with Gin is at its strongest and most poignant as we watch her suffer blow after blow to both the body and the heart.

Ms. Estep pulls no punches in this tale, pushing Gin and us to our limits emotionally when history seems to repeat itself in terms of love and loss, only the pain we feel is all the more acute given how our relationship with Gin has grown from earlier books. While Gin at times can be frustrating in her stoicism, refusing to defend herself and her actions when we so desperately want her to lay herself bare and let the ones hurting her see how their words and deeds so easily make her bleed, she also continues to earn our respect as she bears the burdens of everyone around her without a single word of protest. Widow’s Web leaves us with an ache in our chests, bodies limp and exhausted after the physical and emotional battle waged in its pages, but Ms. Estep does not simply abandon us to wallow in our despair, instead she gives us the barest glimpses of hope that Gin’s future will be a happy one.

Rating: 4.5/5

38 comments:

  1. Holy cow this series has grown fast! I haven't read it yet but it sounds like one I need to try.

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    1. I know right?! We usually get about 2 a year in this series so it's easy to fall behind quickly:)

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  2. Wow! I want to read this one right now, however, I haven't read any of the others so I think I'd miss a lot. But man! Sounds like Spider gets hit pretty bad in this one. Yet another series I'm gonna want to read. What's that four from you now? Would you stop!

    Heather

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    1. This is definitely a series that should be read in order so you can appreciate Gin and who she is, and I HIGHLY recommend it:)

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  3. WOW! The seventh book already??? Cool! This series has grown so fast, and gotten so much success so quickly, and it's easy to see why. The characters seem great, the plot seems awesome, and the writing seems really good. Thanks for the lovely review, Jenny!! <333

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    1. I adore every character in these books, and Gin makes me fall a little more in love with her with each installment. SO GOOD RIYA!

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  4. I do love this series! Poor Gin. She was such a hard-ass at the beginning of the series, foregoing any attachments except to her mentor, and now she's found love and some serious vulnerability. Can't wait to see how far Estep pushes her this time!

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    1. I know, she just keeps getting abused physically and emotionally. But she never crumbles, and I love that about her. This was probably the hardest one to read because it was an emotional threat to Gin more than a physical one, and I just so desperately want Gin to be happy!

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  5. It's so awesome that you managed to survive the entire 7 books! :)
    I've read a the Touch of Frost series by Jennifer Estep and I really enjoyed her writing. From your review, it seems that even her adult series is great.
    Only problem, I don't know when I'll find time to read 7 books! :P
    Great review as usual, Jenny! :)

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    1. This is one of my favorite series, I love the way she writes her characters. I love her YA series as well, but I started with this one so it will always be the favored one for me:)

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  6. I am two books behind! It isn't even right I am telling you!

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    1. GET MOVING FELICIA! GIN NEEDS READ!

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  7. I haven't heard of this book before but with the way you reviewed it, I'm surprised I haven't. This sounds like one hell of a book. In a good way, of course. I love complicated heroes and Gin feels like a gal who'll be an unforgettable one.

    Well-written and thorough review, Jenny :D

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    1. Gin is definitely unforgettable in my opinion:) She's not the easiest girl to love in the beginning, but she grows so much in these later books and I just adore her.

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  8. This series just keeps getting better!!! And I have you to thank for even knowing about it.

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  9. Gosh, seven books in and I still haven't picked up the first one! Another lovely review, Jenny. I'm glad to see you are still impressed with this series. That's always a good sign so many books later!

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    1. I agree, not every series can continue to get 4 star and above ratings so much later in the series! I think these just keep getting better:)

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  10. Thanks for reminding me I still have books to read in this series! I don't even know where I left off. *hangs head in shame*

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    1. You must read Amanda! So much happens in this book and the one before it. Good stuff:)

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  11. I love this author! She freaking rocks! I so need to read this series. I have one book from it. Thanks for sharing Jenny!

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    1. I agree, I'm a lifelong fan of hers:)

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  12. 7 books?!?!?! WOW! I haven't heard of this series before and considering this is an adult novel I am not old enough to start it! But thanks for sharing :)So glad to hear you enjoyed it Jenny. I have read Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep and it was really good!!!! Awesome review :-)

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    1. I adore this series, I hope you give it a try at some point!

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  13. Does Estep write super fast? I feel like there's not a huge wait between her Mythos Academy books and your reviews for this series seem like they were written recently.

    I'm loving the Mythos Academy series but I still think it's incredible that seven books later Estep's writing is so good that the series doesn't feel like it's stagnating.

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    1. I think she does in fact write at super speed:) She turns out like 3 or 4 books a year between this series and the YA one:)

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  14. I can't believe this series is already on book 7! This is a series I have been wanting to read especially since I love the Mythos Academy books! Gin seems like a terrific character and I hope she gets her happy ending!

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    1. I know, it's going really quickly! I both love that the books come out every 6 or so months and dread it, because it means I'll reach the end of the series all the faster:(

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  15. I gave up after book 1. I just did not connect to her at all :( But it happens

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  16. It does, she's hard to relate to in the beginning, but I adore her:)

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  17. Wow, the series is already at 7 and still going strong by your reviews?! Holy Crow! Sadly because I really suck, I still have book 1 on my shelves. I need to get to it!

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    1. Definitely still going strong, I think they keep getting better:)

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  18. I have been stalling because I knew she would be taking emotional blows and after how her relationship went with officer bonehead I have been really pushing for things with Owen. I love these books and I almost want to wait until the next book is ready so I know I don't have to live with whatever happens for 6 or more months.

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    1. You have to read and have faith that she'll make things all work out in the end:) That's what I did!

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  19. I read the first book in the series but I wasn't able to finish it. I dropped it less than halfway through. But I'm glad to hear that you like the series, even after how many books!

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  20. Book 7 already? *pouts* I'll never catch up. But I need to because I love a series with good turmoil that keeps the story moving.

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  21. One of these days I am going to give Urban Fantasy a shot. To be honest I am just really afraid of all of these huge series. I feel they would seriously limit my future reading.

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  22. I was SO afraid of what was going to happen because she kept warning everyone. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I also NEED that next book now so I know that our hope spark is true!!

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