While I enjoy the premise of these books, they've been like book candy - good for half-listening while doing chores. That being said, I still want to at least like the characters. I cannot stand the contrived relationship between Gin and "Detective Donovan Kane." It's forced and the drama is excessive. And while I accept that these types of books have a general plot line that involves getting into bad situations and barely getting out of them, I wish the heroine had a few more brain cells. I'm not liking her so much lately either. I had to quit listening because they were all irritating me. No more wasted credits.
Words/phrases I would be happy to NEVER hear again...silverstone knives (by book SIX we know her knives are silverstone AND what silverstone is!), goth dwarf (yes, Sophia is "goth"...I don't need that beaten into my head repeatedly), little white pills (for the love of god this one is RIDUCULOUS...enough said), my lover (yep, we get it, you and Owen are lovers...thanks for the repeated reminder. Ugh.) ...I could go on and on...
Note to the author: Its safe to assume your readers have a memory! I found myself fast forwarding through much of the repetitive nonsense in this book and am really questioning whether or not I want to continue. If you plan to continue this series, there must be less filler and more substance. If I continue this series, its safe to say I've been turned off of trying another by the same author which is unfortunate because the plot is new and fresh and I would expect the same from another series, just can't handle the repetition.
And to give the author a little leeway...editing anyone?!?
The surprises and suspense but not disappointed.
She transitions from character to character seamlessly with voices that help me form what the characters look like.
LOL and cheer!
Love fantasy books, usually with a strong female character. I also enjoyed just about anything from J.D Robb I am a fan of mysteries as well. I also enjoy funny and quirky novels anything from Molly Harper is a winner in my book. Since listening to audio books is important to me while I travel I also follow certain narrators as well.
Wow, I never thought I would enjoy a book about assassins but I tell you what the Spider is not a typical assassin and she will pull you into her web as well, and you might just agree with her methods. In a world were the weak are crushed by the power struggles of the rich and cruel its not so hard to understand why Gin is the way she is and how hard it is for her to ride the line.
I really enjoyed the first few books in this series and so was looking forward to this installment. Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to my expectations. I actually contemplated stopping listening a number of times but the story held my interest just enough for me to finish it.
I had three main problems with this book: 1) The narrator irritated me with some oddly placed emphases and unbecoming characterazations (especially of Finn). 2) The amount of time and energy spent inside Gin's head dealing with (and stressing out about) relational difficulties left me feeling annoyed rather than compassionate (too much "telling", not enough "showing"), 3) Gin's interactions with the villain were painful and distressing without being compelling.
Overall, I appreciate the way the characters were developed, the choices that Gin made regarding Owen, and the battles and struggles Gin faced, I just feel like the level of the writing wasn't as high as in the previous novels.
A little more into the character relationships than previous books. It reads like it might be a pivotal book in the series..but I haven't looked at the website to see if the series will be ending anytime soon.
This was a great book. I could not wait for it to come out. I was afraid it would be a let down after the first 5 book dealt with one main character that dies. But, Jennifer, nicely transition from one crisis to another. I love the characters Gin. This series is so worth the credits. Start at book one and you will be hooked. Hurry with book 7...
AKA The Geeky Blogger
Listened for Fun (Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 3.50
Character Rating: 4.50
Audio Rating: 4.50
First Thought When Finished: Entirely to much repetition early in the story was distracting but the story itself (once past the repetition) was really strong!
“You're mine," "Not his. Mine. Only mine. Always mine.”― Jennifer Estep Owen to Gin, By a Thread
By a Thread was all about relationships and tying up loose ends. For long time fans of the series, I feel like this is our payoff book. We get to see Gin getting right with the people in her life. I LOVED this part of the story and really felt like Gin (and us readers) deserved this story. I marked down the story part because the first 3 chapters felt like a book review of the story up to this point. Each book seems to add more repetition and character introduction. I just feel that it was entirely to distracting. If you are a new to the series though, I am guessing you can pick it up with this book and not miss a thing because it is told to you.
Character Thoughts: I love the characters in this series. They are strong, dependable, fun, and won't let you down. I could wax on for hours about them but I have done that in the past. Another remarkable entry where characters are concerned and most of my favorites made an appearance.
Narrated By Lauren Fortgang at a running time of 11 hrs and 1 min
Lauren did excellent again. I love this series in audio format. Her voice for Gin is perfect both in pacing and attitude. I highly suggest this series in audio. Her male voices are also pretty good, especially Finn. She is dead on with him.
Final Thought: I am about to start Widow's Web and I am hoping for a little less repetition in the beginning!
Booked & Loaded
By a Thread is Jennifer Estep’s sixth installment in her Elemental Assassin Series and she is not letting up. With a main plot point solved in the last book I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to come next and By a Thread did not disappoint.
By a Thread gives a bigger insight into some of Gin’s insecurities. Jealously, anyone? Some of her past inner fears surface and it was kind of a nice touch. Gin is still Gin and proud of who she is, but we all have the little things we are deeply afraid of. Estep does a great job of not sacrificing the characters true nature, but allowing some of these fears to surface.
In the previous book the main plot line was wrapped up and I wondered how she was going to continue. Although she did a good job with By a Thread I am not sure that another full story line emerged. I am hopeful that this book was just a lead into another major conflict. The story by its self was still a great story with some fantastically unexpected events. Anther great addition to this series and world Estep has pulled us into.
Audiobook Thoughts: Well, I am sure this is getting repetitive, but seriously Lauren Fortgang just rocks. I am extremely happy that I am listening to this series. I think the narration adds a kick to an already great story.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Stop here if you’re planning to read Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series and haven’t read books one through five yet. This review is for book six, By a Thread, and will contain spoilers for the earlier books.
In the previous book, Spider’s Revenge, Gin Blanco (as the title implies) took care of Mab Monroe, her nemesis and the crime boss of Ashland Tennessee. At this point, Estep’s fans have got to be wondering “now what’s Gin gonna do?” It seems like her life is set; she’s got an awesome boyfriend, she’s reunited with her sister, business is booming, and her enemy is dead. But life still isn’t easy for Gin. With Mab gone, all sorts of bad people have been trying to take Gin out and she just can’t get a break. So Gin, Bria, Owen, and Finn pack up and go on vacation to the town were Bria grew up in a foster family.
When Gin and Bria go to a restaurant owned by Bria’s best friend Callie, they discover that the local crime boss (a vampire) wants Callie to sell her restaurant to him so he can build a casino on her property. When he sends a couple of goons to rough Callie up, Gin gets involved. Then the local police detective shows up and guess who it is? You’re right! It’s Donovan Caine, the guy who dumped Gin! And he’s engaged to Callie! So now Gin and her friends have two problems: they need to get rid of the bad vampire and Gin needs to deal with her past issues with Donovan.
OK, I pretty much lost all respect I had for this series at this point. I see that By a Thread has very high ratings at GoodReads, so I know that my opinion is the minority one. I suspect that fans are enjoying the romance and particularly the love square (or rectangle, or rhombus) of this story. Donovan is casting longing looks at Gin while Owen is clenching his jaw. Great stuff for the right kind of reader.
But this book has the same problems that I mentioned in my reviews of the last few books. The plot of By a Thread is especially sloppy with characters acting in ways we just can’t believe. As just one example, two thugs are talking about their plans out loud while trying to break into Gin and Bria’s hotel room in the middle of the night. After Gin and Bria kill them, they decide to dump the bodies in the pool (a few stories down, which takes a couple of trips in an elevator), clean up the bloody hotel room with cleaning supplies that just happened to be in the room, get the car key from the valet and give him a $100 tip (they are still in bloody clothes), walk to the parking garage themselves, then cruise around town in a bashed up Aston Martin (still in bloody clothes) before going to the house that Gin had rented and stocked without telling anyone, just in case they had to leave the hotel. Not only does this sound like a really good way to get caught, but it is totally out of character for Bria, the detective of the Ashland police department. Wouldn’t Bria insist on calling the local cops? The women were only defending themselves, anyway. It seems like it’s much better to call the cops than to try cover up what was an act of self-defense by two well-respected women. There are many other examples of sloppy plotting, too.
But the worst problem with By a Thread is its lacks originality. The vampire who borrows elemental powers by drinking the blood of Elementals is really cool (except that we don’t see him do much with it), but other than that, this plot feels like a combination of the previous plots. Even the new character, Callie, runs a restaurant just like Gin. (There’s a reason given for this, but it still feels stale.) A crime boss wants someone’s land, sends his goons to threaten the woman who owns it, is willing to kidnap and torture people to get what he wants, the corrupt police can’t stop him even though they have a good detective (Donovan Caine), etc. We’ve seen all this before, just in a different city.
Gin’s personality has changed a bit in By a Thread. Lauren Fortgang’s narration puzzled me at the beginning. She makes Gin sound angry, cynical and disgruntled which surprised me, especially after Gin’s triumph at the end of Spider’s Revenge. But soon we discover that her relationship with Bria is rocky (a little hard to believe after what happened in the previous book) and then she gets jealous of Bria’s friendship with Callie. She has an all-out pity party, which I thought was immature and unlike Gin. There are some touching moments, though, and by the end Gin learns to open up and let others in. Readers who are enjoying Gin’s relationships will probably be pleased with how that part turns out in By a Thread.