Review: By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin (# 6)
Release Date: February 28, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 384
Source: ARC provided by author

When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.

Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

Warning:  Slight spoilers ahead for those who have not read the series.

Review: For the first five books of this series, Gin Blanco has been focused on exacting revenge against her arch-enemy, Mab Monroe.  At the end of the last book, Gin and Mab have their showdown.  I’ll admit that when I learned that the series wasn’t done, I was quite curious to see how Jennifer Estep was going to continue now that her foe is no longer a threat.  But obviously Mab isn’t the only bad guy out there and so Ms Estep decided to bring in a bigger and badder villain and an ex-lover to spoil Gin’s much needed vacation.

I’ve enjoyed this series from the very beginning.  However, I was never a fan of Donovan Caine, Gin’s ex-lover, and wasn’t exactly thrilled to see him return in this story.  I always felt Donovan was a weak character.  He had strong morals, but there was no give to them and when he got involved with Gin he felt like he was compromising those morals and then took it out on her.  Gin just took the emotional abuse and as the reader we had to watch as she struggled through it.  I rejoiced when Donovan left and Gin found love with Owen.  But to see Donovan back and still treating Gin so rudely… well, I didn’t particularly enjoy those scenes and it’s the main reason why I didn’t rate this novel higher.

But overall, I enjoyed watching Gin and her sister get closer, Gin and Owen’s relationship get stronger, and of course Gin battling a new, stronger villain. While there are some flashbacks and lots of returning characters, if you’ve not read the rest of this series, this is a good place to start.  But as always, you’d get much more out of it from starting at the beginning.

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