Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Deadly Sting

DEADLY STING
Elemental Assassin #8
Jennifer Estep
Adult Urban Fantasy
400 pages
Pocket Books
Available March 26th
Received through Edelweiss for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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’ 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.


MY THOUGHTS
Coming off the emotionally intense sixth and seventh installments where Gin and Owen faced their respective pasts in the form of ex-lovers, Deadly Sting is a bit lighter in comparison (though still plenty violent as Gin is physically incapable of going any length of time without finding trouble). While certainly action-packed with Gin demonstrating her many and varied skills with a silverstone blade to protect those she loves, this latest Elemental Assassin novel feels more like a middle book than any of the previous installments, the focus remaining almost solely on Gin’s battle with her newest villain as the emotional intricacies that bind our hearts to Gin’s are temporarily placed on the back burner.

The beautiful juxtaposition of Gin’s deadly fierceness with her quiet vulnerability when it comes to matters of the heart has always been a highlight of this series, cementing our bond to a woman we can’t help but feel inordinately protective of despite her obvious capability when it comes to protecting and defending herself. Though she’s proven again and again she’ll let no physical assault from anyone go unanswered, that reaction does not extend to emotional blows, and her tendency to continue to protect those around her from further hurt by not expressing her own is front and center in this installment. While typically this behavior of hers is admirable–something that makes us want to wrap our arms around her and hold tight–there are times when we feel smothered by her capacity for understanding and her rationalization of the feelings of others, her continued silence a heavy burden given we want nothing more than to shout out her pain to those who should be most aware of it even without it being given voice.

Much of our frustration is with regard to Owen (and his relationship with Gin), someone who previously has been a fundamental supporter and champion of Gin and all that she is. Though we certainly understand his need for space after the death of his ex-fiance at Gin's hands, his inability to acknowledge Gin’s feelings because he’s too consumed by his own knocks him down a peg or two on the ladder of our esteem and regard. The fault can’t simply be laid at Owen’s feet alone however, Gin’s aforementioned tendency to keep things bottled up only adding to our collective misery as she continues to spare his broad shoulders the additional weight of her own heartbreak. Just once we would love for the aggressiveness Gin shows in physical situations to extend to emotional ones, wishing she would make Owen (and previously Donovan and Bria before him) aware of how deeply his actions– or inaction–cut.

Even though Deadly Sting isn’t the strongest addition to the series and Gin’s trademark stoicism causes our protective instincts to flare–this time with the desire to guard her against her own silence–we’re still undeniably entertained. Ms. Estep never fails to write a good story; one that keeps us up late reading and then rushing to look up the release date for the next book upon finishing.

Rating:  3.5/5

30 comments:

  1. Well, it's good that you liked this overall, but it's too bad about the middle book syndrome. Not having read any of these books, I can't say for sure how I would feel about the characters, but your descriptions of them sure sound frustrating. Here's hoping they make a turnaround in the next book!

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    1. I have mad love for this series, so it can never truly disappoint me, I was just really frustrated with Owen's reaction to the things that happened in the last book. I thought he was being grossly unfair to Gin. We'll see what happens with them in the next one though!

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  2. It's horrible having to watch some of your favourite characters go through a tough time and lose some of their resilience that they'd shown in previous books. This has happened to me with a few of my favourite characters and all I've wanted to do is give them a big hug and wrap them up in cotton wool! Jenny this sounds like another series that I will enjoy! I think I will have to check this out soon! Great review! :)

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    1. It is hard to watch them go through things and be utterly helpless to do anything about it. I just want Gin to stand up for herself every once in a while and I thought Owen deserved a MASSIVE talking to for the way he was treating her. I wanted to stomp into the book and tell him off myself:)

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  3. OWEN! This man is KILLIN' ME!! I get that he was seriously attached to his ex but she was a raving lunatic. How could he not see this? Gin did what she had to do. She didn't want to (well, she kind of did) but that's her JOB and he needs to get the f- over it because I like Owen and need them back together. /Owenrant

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    1. RIGHT?! And he seems to have conveniently forgotten that SHE TRIED TO DROWN GIN! How is he not as upset about that as he is about the fact that the crazy one died? I get he's dealing with how wrong he was about Salina, and knowing he made such a grievous error in judgment would definitely be hard for a man as protective as Owen, BUT, nursing his own hurt while not seeming to understand Gin's own was hard for me to deal with.

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  4. Dunno why but I just never got past book 1

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  5. This sounds good, and I love all the kick-ass action going on. This series is one I hope to start, as I did snag a copy of book one. What I need is more time.

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    1. Oh yes, Gin is the epitome of kick-ass. I adore her:) I completely understand about more time, I have about 15 series I would like to start but there just aren't enough hours in the day!

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  6. *Facepalm* Why haven't I picked this series up??? I have book 1 sitting and staring at me from my bookcase. I must change this soon. I'm hoping I can get some time in for Spring Break.

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    1. I DON'T KNOW RUMMANAH BUT YOU SHOULD! I love it, even when the characters frustrate me as the did in this one:)

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  7. There are now 8 books in this series?! I have some serious catching up to do!

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    1. I know, these books come out relatively quickly. Love that:)

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  8. Wow, book #8? I'm woefully behind! It's a great sign that you're still so invested in the series, even through the more middle book installments. Gin sounds completely kick ass and awesome, though it seems like she needs to speak up when it comes to her feelings. Lovely review, Jenny!

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  9. I still haven't read this series. Even though I won the sixth book from a giveaway on your site. I keep meaning to.

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  10. Crap. I'm still so far behind in this series. Will you ever forgive me?? ;)

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  11. Love this series. Jennifer definitely knows how to torture us and keep us coming back for more. Thanks Jenny for hooking me on this series :}

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  12. I am going to get this one on audio so I can stay up to date. I am still smarting over the last one and someone warned me that there is a "moment" in this book but on a whole resolution is still far away!

    DARN OTA "___ the *ss"

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  13. *sigh* Here's a confession: I'm not exactly the patient sort. Even though I like the action in this series (admittedly, it does get a bit repetitive), I was disappointed by Gin's silence and the fact that she allowed DonovanCaine to treat her any way he wanted in those forst few installments. She was supposed to be tough, but he just stomped all over her. So when Owen came, I figured, okay, I can live with this! And then things started getting complicated between them and he changed so radically and I just gave up. I can't take the angst anymore.
    I'm glad you're still enjoying it though.
    Fantastic and detailed review as usual, Jenny! :)

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  14. I love this series too but I'm worried about Owen. Do NOT go down the route of Donovan. NO! At least Gin had the boobs to demand that Owen accept ALL of her. Plus, he is so forgetting all that she did to Gin and his sis? I mean you can tell that he does remember, but does he remember???? Heh... I think you know what I mean. LOL

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  15. Jenny, you KNOW how much I have to read. I've lamented about it tirelessly, right? Occasionally I am so overwhelmed I feel I must take to the bed to chill.

    That being said, I think I'll probably pass on this one since it wasn't one of your faves. I'm super-selective about the adult novel I read since I'm always so mired in the YA/NA/MG world. I'd rather wait for one you rave about.

    Now I will again take to my bed. *swoons*

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  16. Yet another series I haven't heard of, but this sounds fantastic! I'll have to check it out soon for sure. Thanks for introducing me to this one, Jenny!(:

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  17. I really like the covers of this series, they all go together but all have an individual look and they are memorable. I haven't read this series yet but I'm enjoying her YA one so I will likely give it a shot in the future!

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  19. I can't believe this is already on book 8! I promised to start this series this summer and it is scheduled on my blog, but I have a lot of catching up to do. I like that Gin can't keep out of trouble and I think Jennifer is a classy lady!

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  21. That happens with series. Some books have lots of umph and others don't. Still, I like that feel of the story remains the same. Not to mention that I love Jennifer!

    Thanks for the nice review Jenny!

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  22. I'm glad this still entertained, even though you didn't think it was the greatest addition to the series. Though I suppose when we're eight books in, there is always a risk of a slightly quality drop. I still need to pick up the first one! ;) Fantastic review, Jenny.

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