The hotly anticipated ninth novel in the hugely popular Elemental Assassin series finds Gin Blanco on a dangerous mission to rescue a friend.
When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point - can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out....
©2013 Jennifer Estep (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger
There’s only a handful of series’ where I will literally count the days between releases and Elemental Assassin is one of them. Gin kicks this installment off in true Spider style with blood on her hands and a body to dispose of. In Heart of Venom we finally see Blanco’s cool, patient demeanor slip only to be replaced by an emotional, risk-taking one which is incredibly dangerous in her line of work but also an as-of-yet unexplored side of her character. It’s personal this time around; you don’t mess with Gin Blanco’s friends and expect to live.
Part of the reason why Gin’s been so successful in her career as a hired gun is in large part thanks to her ability to shelve her emotions while on a job. She does her homework, waits for the perfect shot and then makes her getaway. Granted, even the best laid plans tend to blow up in her face but regardless of the outcome, she always goes in with a cool head. Not this time. Blanco just reacts. Her friend is threatened and she goes barreling into an impossible situation guns blazing with no regard for her survival. The fact that Gin favors fire power over her trademark blades in this installment further reinforces her fragile emotional state by demonstrating her willingness to throw caution into the wind and let stealth be dammed. The Spider is s-c-a-r-y when she’s mad; I pity the fool who incurred her wrath!
Sophia’s always been a bit of a mystery; she doesn’t talk much and is a pro at body disposal. The Deveraux sisters are an integral part of this series so I was thrilled at the prospect of learning more about one of my two favourite dwarves. We finally uncover the whys behind her goth wardrobe and her knack for getting rid of corpses. As anticipated, her reasons are even more disturbing than I could have possibly imagined. There’s a nice little flashback to a scene that showcases the earlier stages of Sophia’s friendship with Gin that took on a whole new meaning given the current circumstances. It was a fun extra and got me psyched for the next novel where we get to go back in time and witness the making of the assassin, The Spider. Fletcher’s also still ever present in this series and I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed when Gin finds his file on Grimes. I’m hoping for more of him in the next installment as well.
Now to the crux of the matter, the question that everyone’s been asking me since I read this book; what’s the 4-1-1 on Owen? As the blurb suggests, there is progress on that front and I was satisfied with the way Estep attempted to redeem his character. Grayson really messed up, his heartfelt apology and actions speak volumes but the road to forgiveness is long and I approve of Gin’s caution where he’s concerned. As much as I love him and want them to get their HEA, I’m happy that Blanco didn’t completely succumb to his boyish charm. Heart of Venom is definitely a turning point in their relationship and I think that readers will be appeased by this installment.
Heart of Venom exposes a different side of Gin, which after 9 installments is a feat in itself. I loved watching The Spider wreak havoc on her enemies in the name of friendship and family. Seeing Sophia, an incredibly resilient character, brought to her knees by her past was as emotional as it was enlightening. I’ve spent two books waiting to witness Owen’s fight to win back the love of his life and he does not disappoint. Jennifer Estep and Gin Blanco are a winning combination that never gets old; all hail The Spider!
In my opinion, a good story evokes emotion. It'll make me laugh, angry, or cry. But it can't just be words on a page. It has to do something
I missed really missed that line Gin says about someone "needed to get dead in a hurry". I don't recall that in this book. But it always makes me laugh in the other ones. The voice actress has the perfect accent for the characters in the book. I know many people who have that accent, so it is very believable. And reminds me of people I know. After seeing how choppy and strange a great audio book series becomes when the author suddenly decides to switches narrators, I'd definitely quit reading this if Lauren Fortgang wasn't reading it anymore. To date I've quit buying two series because I couldn't stand the switch.
Gin and Owen.....another good listen.
Im glad to see Gin opening up with her feeling for her friends and letting them know it. I was a little worried that maybe I had enough of Gin as she really was staying closed up not letting her friends in, but this story change that.. A very good listen
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
This addition was a good one, almost the whole book was was filled with action. I liked the beginning of it and how our spider took action immediately and kicked butt.
The spider deals with a crazy person here, a really crazy one.. and i was happy with the ending how it it concluded.
You also get to know a bit more about the mysterious M.M.M. but its all questions, really wondering what will happen here and how it will end up when that person appears later one the future books.
Looking forward for the next book.
On the plus side, Sophia is one of my favorite characters so I was happy that this book gave us some background on her and her sister. The only complaint I have is that my other favorite, Finn only plays a small part in this book. Estep told a great story this time around. The bad guys were truly bad, and it was pretty awesome. Estep has a short e-novella out told from Owen's perspective that happens chronologically before the events in this book that gives a little more insight to him. Fortgang does a great job, the drawl she gives Gin used to get on my nerves but I can't picture it any other way now.
Reviewing Romance & Urban Fantasy
Heart of Venom is a bloody fast pace ride through the backwoods of Ashland with a heroine that shows no signs of slowing down.
I’m a HUGE fan of the Elemental Assassin series. I love how we are 9 books into the series and Estep still manages to deliver great storylines. Books 1-5 has one story arc about Gin’s past and the person that was responsible for the death of Gin’s family.
The second half of the series has more wiggle room for other storylines and we are slowing building to what could be another arc with a new evil on the rise. But before we get there we take a side trip to deal with a story that has been building for a while about one of the beloved secondary characters, Sophia Deveraux.
I have always wanted more info on Sophia’s history. Estep has teased us here and there about how she got her ruined voice. Now we finally get the whole story on Sophia and it gives Gin’s back story a run for it’s money.
Several years ago a brother and sister, Bonnie and Clyde act kidnapped Sophia after the brother, Harley Grimes became obsessed with her. The part did horrible things to Sophia, leaving her with the ruined voice. All those years ago Jo Jo went to a little known assassin called The Tin Man. That’s right Gin’s foster father and mentor, Fletcher is the one that rescued Sophia. Now with Fletcher out of the way Grimes thinks it’s safe to take Sophia again.
Heart of Venom follows Gin trying to save Sophia after Grimes grabs her during a by a person a girls’ day at Jo Jo’s salon. Gin is always cool and collected when it comes to being The Spider. But she loses it all when Sophia is taken. She tries to run off with guns knives ablazing until her friends make her see that it would be suicide to go up on Grimes’ mountain alone.
“Grimes might be a bad, bad guy, but I happen to be a bad, bad bitch.”
Gin gets unexpected backup from Owen, her estranged lover. Gin agrees to let Owen come along with her. leaving the rest of the group to protect an injured Jo Jo. But it’s not just Gin and Owen to the rescue, they pick up an guide for the mountain hike. And of course Gin and Owen get a little time for an heart to heart between all the killing. ( I highly recommend you read the short story, Kiss of Venom that’s told through Owen’s POV which takes place after Deadly Sting and Heart of Venom).
As Gin and her small crew make their way up the mountain we get flashbacks about Fletcher (I love these) like it other books in the series, along with flashbacks on how Gin and Sophia interacted in the early stages of their friendship.
Heart of Venom is fully charged with emotion and adrenaline. Gin really is a one woman killing machine and I loved every bloody moment of it.
“Even my socks squished with blood….. Please, …. step up and die.”
Lauren Fortgang is on my top 5 favorite narrators list. She does an outstanding job with Gin and all the other characters. I’ve done most of series on audio and when reading the few books I've not listened to I have Fortgang’s voice in my head.
This was a slight variation for the Gin Blanco series and it was GREAT! It was suspenseful and interesting. Fans of the series will enjoy this book greatly. Praise to both Jennifer Estep and Lauren Fortgang for a riveting, well narrated story!
Reading is my favorite past time.
This series can't come out fast enough for me. I can't wait for the next book. PLease hurry with book 10.
O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught. Ralph Waldo Emerson. I Love to read, a great time for me is curling up with a great book!!!
I will start of by saying that I am not too pleased with the O.G. situation, that was way too easy.
Other than that, it was Gin at her best. She kicked butt and took names!
I got more of the back story on Sophia and how Jo-Jo met Fletcher and that was cool.
All in all it did not disappoint
the story and fight scenes were so similar to previous books, it felt like deja vu
the narrator was ok but ill timed pauses get a little annoying
The first books in this series were ok, at times enjoyable, but this one had little new to offer
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