A more in-depth look into Gin's personality and additional details to her childhood. And of course the showdown with her nemesis!
I'm new to this genre, but I'll compare the suspense with any Grisham, De Mille or Clancy novel.
Her lazy drawl just pulls you into Ashland and poof, reality disappears.
Both. In a good way 😄
Definitely continuing with the next book in the series...
The only reason I got this far in the series is that I bought all 3 before listening to any. If I had just gotten the first I wouldn't have continued with the series. However, #2 was a step up and #3 is OK. The author is getting better. Not sure I'll continue past here though.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Venom is the third book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series about Gin Blanco, an assassin who runs The Pork Pit, a barbecue restaurant in Ashland, Tennessee. My review will contain spoilers for the previous books, so you might not want to read it if you haven’t yet read Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies.
Gin has been trying to retire from her assassin’s trade, but as long as the Fire Elemental Mab Monroe runs Ashland as if she’s a crime boss, there will always be people in distress who need Gin’s help. Gin is all too happy to help them because her eventual goal is to take Mab down because Mab killed Gin’s mother and big sister about 15 years ago.
This time the damsel in distress is a vampire named Roslyn who is being stalked by Elliot Slater, the giant who’s Mab’s top security guy. Gin knows that Elliot is a serial killer who enjoys stalking women before he finally rapes and kills them, but the Ashland police have been ineffective, as usual, at bringing him to justice. That’s because the police are also under Mab’s long-armed influence. All except for Donovan Caine, Gin’s part-time lover who left town because he couldn’t handle having a relationship with an assassin, and Bria Coolidge, the new detective who recently replaced Caine. Gin immediately recognizes Bria as the “baby sister” who she thought had died at Mab’s hand all those years ago. What is Bria doing in Ashland? Gin wants to figure that out before revealing herself as Bria’s sister. As Gin and her friends plan and maneuver to kill Elliot Slater, Bria keeps showing up. Gin is impressed with her courage and sense of duty. She’s a female version of Donovan Caine.
The plot of Venom moves quickly and is fairly exciting. It’s easy to care for Gin and her friends as they are essentially vigilantes in a town where the authorities aren’t doing their jobs. Gin’s personal life is interesting, too. She still has a thing for Donovan Caine, but they’ve been out of touch and there’s a new man in her life — Owen Grayson, a rich businessman who, it turns out, has some secrets, too. And then, of course, there’s the relationship with her sister. When will Gin reveal herself? What will Bria say? Will they team up together to take Mab down?
Despite the fun story, there are so many irritating little things about this series that I feel I can only recommend it to those who can just enjoy the plot without scrutinizing it and without being annoyed by Estep’s writing quirks. (If you managed to get through Web of Lies without being irritated, you’re probably fine and you can just skip the rest of my review.)
The plot is fun if you’re willing to not think too much about it. (I’d love to do that, but since I’m supposed to be writing a review, I feel like I can’t.) Once you start asking yourself whether their might be better ways to accomplish Gin’s goals (remembering that she is the best assassin in the city and the ultimate goal is to bring down Mab), you start to notice how convoluted Gin’s plans are and it gets harder and harder to suspend disbelief. For example, why does Gin carry only five short silverstone knives as weapons? Wouldn’t a gun make much more sense? Why doesn’t she ever call the police for help or give them information about the bad guys? Estep tells us that the police are corrupt, but so far we’ve seen their leaders (Caine and Bria) act admirably. Why doesn’t Gin use her magic when she’s getting beat up by one of Mab’s goons? She is constantly being beaten nearly to death and she uses the lame excuse that she doesn’t want to give herself away as an Elemental, yet we see her using her magic to chill the milk in The Pork Pit, a public place. Gin is trained in all sorts of weapons, including guns and the crossbow. Why not just hide in a tree or a building and shoot Mab when she walks by? This works for major world leaders, why not Ashland’s crime boss? If Gin’s such a great assassin, why can’t she kill Mab and get it all over with? Obviously the reason is that if she did, the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series would end. So, in each installment, we get an elaborate scheme to take down one of Mab’s associates, not Mab herself, and Gin is always almost killed. Again, if you’re willing to just go with it, the plot is fun enough, but it’s definitely sloppy.
Another issue is the writing quirks, and these are so noticeable that I suspect they bother many readers. There are many examples such as Gin’s tendency to use most of the characters’ first and last names most of the times she mentions them, the way she talks about people “getting dead” instead of being killed, the fact that she always has to say baby sister and silverstone knives and chicory coffee, the way that each character’s eye color and their clothing and jewelry are described each time they appear on the scene, and the huge amount of recapping of old events. Every time one of these things happened, I had a negative physiological reaction. One of them did make me laugh, however:
"…Sophia … was a cook down at The Pork Pit, the barbecue restaurant Fletcher had left me upon his death. Sophia was also rather handy at disposing of the many bodies I left in my wake….”
Every time we see Sophia in The Pork Pit, she’s stirring a big pot…. uh, remind me never to eat there.
The audio versions of the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series, read by Lauren Fortgang, are wonderfully done. I recommend them if you’re going to read this series.
Yes!! If I hear "Sloppy, sloppy,sloppy" or "gray on green" or "gray on blue" (describing their eyes meeting in EVERY scene) I'm going to need a drink! There are things I like about this series which is why I've continued through 3 books so far but the repetition is driving me slowly nuts.
Gin is an interesting character and now that they've gotten rid of that annoying love interest Donovan Caine for a more multi-dimentional one, that part of her story is better too. She has a good backstory...please stop repeating it. I heard you the first 20 times.
Lauren is a great narrator. Perfect for this part, to me she IS the voice of Gin.
Yes, in hopes that they'd edit some of the repetition out of the movie script.
I'm undecided if I'll continue this series. One more and I'll see how I feel about it...
I love all the supernatural love stories. Vampires stories are my favorites.
I really like the story line but can't take the constant repeating of previous books. I little here n there is ok but it's almost like it was "copy & pasted." I also can't take the amount of description and details given in between Character questions. By the time she was done describing how she felt, prev book info, lay of the land and weather I forgot the original question from the character. I also can't stand any longer how Gin is such a "Bad Ass" YET she is always beaten to a pulp!!! Enough is enough!! She is an Assassin!! At least let her kiss A$$ here n there please!!! I got small satisfaction when she killed 4 giants in a row but it just made all the other times she was beaten even worse cuz she should have done the same to them!!
Less details or better placed
Her voices are GREAT
Sorry I don't think I want to spend the money on repeated info and a horrible assassin. The love plot is good but too much "STUFF" surrounding it. I listened to alot of it in Fast Forward
It's been said before, and like Ms. Estep, I guess it needs to be said again, the concept is fun,and has a lot of potential, but the story lines are thin. The repetition of back ground material and what has gone before ruined this series for me. Just read the last one and you will know all that has gone before. drat.
I am a registered nurse and a father of four great kids. I live in a rural part of Oregon and love it. I enjoy books, but Sci-Fi Fantasy has allows been the ones I reach for more than others.
This book is among the top 10% the narration and tempo were great.
The moment when Gin finds out that her baby sister is a detective on the Ashland police force and how this will change her life. Then at the end of the book he has to forget that her sister will start hunting her when she takes claim to a killing of a minion of the Fire elemental who not only scared her hands but killed her family. But revenge is more important at the time than trying to mend fences with her sister especially since her sister doesn't know Gin is her sister or that she is the Spider.
I have listen to the first two books of this series and continue to listen to this series not only because of the storyline but because Lauren's narration is naturally flowing that the story just comes alive and the characters become interesting and worth the time to invest interest in.
Can she find love, revenge, and family or is Gin going to have to kill to get one or all.
If you enjoy Urban Fantasy you will enjoy this series this some adventure, some romance, and definitely some killing.
I have always been a reader, until my 3-hr a day round trip commute. Now, I am a listener - and I am hooked on audio books!
Overall I like these books, but my goodness! She goes on and on and on about how much planning she did and how smart she was and how successful as an assassin, yet makes so many mistakes, or overlooks simple things. It gets kind of annoying, but if you can get past that, it is a pretty good story!
I've made it through 3 of these books now and, for me, they are getting better with each book. I'm happy to hear in this book much less of the erotica that has been in the other two, erotica that was a little blatently crass, in my opinion. I'm hoping future books continue to focus on the evolving storyline, shaping the characters, and furthering the relationships between all the characters.
This is Jennifer Estep's third book in her Elemental Assassin Series. Pretty good book. Some nice twists here and there that keep it interesting. II really like the southern accent the narrator uses and since this takes place in Ashland it makes sense. The characters are well fleshed out and likeable. She's got some literary quirks like using characters full names a lot and it bugs me but not enough to keep me from reading the rest of the series.