Wednesday, August 5, 2015

ARC Review: SPIDER'S TRAP by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Trap
by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin, Book 13

About the book:

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death… 

Spider’s Trap is book 13 in the Elemental Assassin series. You would think after 13 books the stories would start to get stale.  However, for me, the things that are repeated are the very things I like best about Gin and this series, and I find them comforting. I love Gin's focus on her family and friends, her steadfast commitment to the people she loves (even if it is often used against her).  I love the cast of quirky characters – Finn, Bria, Owen, Sophia, Jo-jo, Silvio, Philip and Fletcher.  I love the way Gin shows her care and love through mouth-watering recipes that sound so savory that I get almost desperate for Southern comfort food after reading these books.  But most importantly, Jennifer Estep continues to give us pulse-pounding stories and terrifying villains.  

Ms. Estep is taking us down a new road with Gin as the head of Ashland’s Underworld. This lends a slightly darker tone to Gin’s journey.  She has reluctantly taken this title, but now she must lay claim to it if she wants to continue to protect her loved ones.  She is still coming to the aid of people with righteous needs, but the people she is defending now include more unsavory elements.  

One of the best parts of this edition is the villain, Raymond Pike. His power is scary. Out of all the recent enemies Gin has faced, this guy is the most menacing.  It is clear he is a little off his rocker, and unfortunately, his power is pretty impressive.  As a metal elemental, he can manipulate metal into all types of objects including nails, spikes, and other projectiles.  Yikes. 

I like how Ms. Estep continues to mine Gin’s history, bringing us the consequences of how she came to be where she is today.   In this book, Gin protected a young girl from her abusive father when Gin was a teenager. This led to the death of that girl's father and now the son seeks revenge against his sister.  Who is this girl today? 

Without spoiling too much, I like the enemies to friends theme in concept, but it fell a little short for me. I didn’t get a connection between the Gin and the girl.  Their interactions seem to be more laced with guilt and regret (which I understand given their history), but it was missing something that defines a friendship.  Maybe the really aren’t suppose to be friends?   

I am looking forward to seeing more of Finn and Bria.  I miss them.  Although they make almost “cameo” appearances, the characters do not have a chance to grow in this book. However, I know that the next book will feature Finn prominently and I am thoroughly looking forward to that read!

In A Nutshell: 

Jennifer Estep does it again.  She gives us another Gin adventure that is thrilling and terrifying at times.  A great addition to this long-running series, Ms. Estep is still keeping it fresh.  

Thank you to the publisher, author, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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