Review: Black Widow by Jennifer Estep

Black Widow by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin (# 12)
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 384
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review



There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan.

With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.

The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.


Review:  I’ve been a longtime fan of Jennifer Estep.  I started with her Bigtime series and then transitioned over to the Elemental Assassin series.  For years I’ve been rooting for Gin and the gang as they come against progressively meaner and more dangerous enemies.  With Black Widow, Gin is up against the toughest of those foes to date.

This is the twelfth book in the series.  I really don’t suggest starting at this point.  You could probably read it and enjoy it, but I don’t think you’d get the full effect.  You’d probably also be a little lost in the massive cast of characters which keeps growing as the series goes on.    This particular book is tied to the first couple in the series (more than the last few), so again, it would help to have started from the beginning.

I have to say, I find it amazing that twelve books into the series, Ms Estep can still make a story fresh.  There are still some elements of repetition, and in the grand scheme of things, the plot is pretty much the same every time.   But  Ms Estep keeps finding new powers for the bad guys to possess, twisted ways for Gin to get tortured and then creative ways for Gin to get out of it and best the villain.

The introduction of Madeline and her acid magic was an interesting twist in the series.  I kept turning the pages wanting to know what was going to happen next.  And the big showdown at the end (which happens in every book) had me biting my fingernails.

With most of the books in the series, there are moments of graphic violence that are just a bit too much for my personal taste.  But it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment.  However, if that bothers you, you’ve been warned.  All in all, this is another enjoyable installment in one of my go-to series.