Saturday, 18 August 2012

Early Review: Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep

Hello!! Well today, I'm going to be raving about the brand new release from one of my favourite authors at the moment, the lovely JENNIFER ESTEP! This is book 7 in her awesome Elemental Assassin series. I've been looking forward to this for months, so lets get started :) WARNING: while this review keeps spoilers for Widow's Web at a minimum...there are spoilers for earlier books in the series.

Title: Widow's Web
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: 21st August 2012
Series: Elemental Assassin series, book 7
Source: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb 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.

First Line - 'Breaking into the building was easy. Too easy for an assassin like me.'
She's done it again. Jennifer Estep has managed to create an absolute masterpiece of Urban Fantasy, filled with action packed scenes, a good dollop of humour and topped off with a light dusting of romance.  All in all, the perfect recipe for an amazing read.
Our lead throughout this series is Gin Blanco, assassin, elemental and chef extraodinaire. Up until she killed her arch enemy Mab Monroe a few months ago (back in book 5), Gin had been leading a fairly quiet life, a few assassin contracts and pro-bono jobs were fitted around her job at the Pork Pit, no one knew she was the renowned assassin known as the Spider...but now her identity has been leaked and everyone wants to either stare at, avoid or kill her. First Phillip Kincaid, who I think will be a major character for the foreseeable future, decidedly complicates Gin's life. And now, a new threat has blown into town. However she is unlike anything Gin has ever faced before...sure she wants Gin dead, but she also wants something more important to Gin than her own life...something she'll do anything to protect. Because Salina Dubois is here to win back her ex, she wants Gin's lover Owen...and won't stop until she has him, even if it means destroying everyone else in the process.
I looked at him, at his black hair, his violet eyes, his 
rough, rugged features that were so appealing to me. All 
these emotions roared up in my chest. All my love for 
him, all my caring, all my worry—and all my fear of losing 
One of the great aspects of this series is that the villains keep getting better and better. Each new 'bad guy' Gin comes up against brings her a new challenge, tests her skills to the very limit...and always reveals more about this closed off assassin's character. And Salina is no exception, in fact, I'd say she is quite possibly the best villain in the series so far. No only does Salina test Gin as an physically, but her actions put Gin on an emotional roller-coaster...that has her questioning everything she knows about herself. Despite a pretty damn successful attempt on Gin's life and an awful secret revealed, Owen is determined to see the good in Salina, but sooner or later Gin has to make a choice. Kill Salina like she's promised, and possibly ruin her relationship with Owen, or do as Owen asks, and leave everyone she loves vulnerable to the psychotic b*tch. Can they come to a compromise, or will Salina get to them before they reach a decision...

Salina was Owen's first love way back when they were kids, but then she left Ashland and Owen never quite got over her loss. Now she's back and ready to pick back up with Owen, only there's one thing in her way. Gin. Owen loves Gin, and Gin loves Owen. They are perfect for each other, Owen is so good for Gin after the disaster that was her 'relationship' with Donovan Caine. Owen can understand Gin's past as an assassin and does not judge her for it (unlike Donovan Caine *spits* ). However, upon meeting Salina, Gin worries Salina is everything she's not...beautiful and refined, a real lady, someone Owen deserves. That is until the cold hearted b*tch is exposed for what she really is. A murdering psychopath, who gets off on repeatedly drowning people with her water magic. That eases her mind a little bit...until it comes to the question 'How do we deal with Salina?'
While Gin would almost certainly kick Salina's ass in an elemental battle, this war is fought mostly with words...Salina is able to manipulate Owen like a puppet on a string, lies mix with truth and although Owen stands up for Gin, he never exactly reassures her that it's over between him and Salina and that speaks louder than words and fuels Gin's insecurities...not that she'd ever show it ;)
Salina’s smile widened. “Why, Gin, if I didn’t know better, I would say it sounds like you’re threatened by little ole me.”
I snorted. “Hardly. I eat haughty, arrogant, manipulative, self-important bitches like you for breakfast, sugar.  And then I go back for seconds.”
As soon as I read the blurb I'd had a bad feeling about this book. I love Gin and Owen so much that I couldn't bear anything to happen to them. Gin is constantly worrying about the strain on her and Owen's relationship Salina is causing. But still, I didn't expect what happens. I'm glad it has, because we get to see so much more from Gin. We don't just see her as an assassin, we see her as a woman in love. A woman in love who is seriously afraid that her man might love another woman more than her. Salina forces Gin to grow exponentially as a character and she surprises herself with how she deals with these situations. I thought Jennifer Estep done brilliantly when she re-introduced Donovan Caine into Gin's life (book 6), but this is a whole new level. And despite the fact there is a plan and several books left in the series, I can't help but wonder where we will be taken next. I certainly will be tuning in to find out :)

All in all, I loved WIDOW'S WEB. I cannot fault this book one bit. If you are a fan of the series you NEED WIDOW'S WEB. You will not regret picking up a copy. I finished this in one sitting, staying up until 4am with eyes watering constantly from the strain...but I could not make myself stop. I was drawn in to this war between two strong but completely different women...I never want to leave...Gin, can I come live with you?

My Rating: 4.5/ 5

Join me later today when I'll be posting an interview with the one and only Finn Lane, as well as a giveaway to celebrate the release of Widow's Web!!

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