(Elemental Assassin #14)
Release: February 23, 2016
Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship?Review:
It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in.
It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.
At the end of Spider's Trap, Gin Blanco found evidence that her foster brother Finn's mother, Deirdre, might not be dead after all. Bitter Bite finds her digging up Deirdre's grave a few weeks later, looking for proof before she breaks the news to Finn. What she finds is not only an empty grave, but a letter from Fletcher, her dead mentor and Finn's father, warning her that Deirdre is both powerful and manipulative. But before she can warn Finn, she discovers that Deirdre has already insinuated herself into his life in the guise of his new favorite client.
Bitter Bite is reminiscent of the early books in the series in some ways. Gin already knew that Mab Monroe was her enemy, but she never knew when and where Mab would strike. Deirdre is much the same way and it's much later in the book than I expected when she finally makes her move. The result is a suspenseful, but not very exciting first half of the story.
But it's always fun to watch Gin being Gin, cooking in the Pork Pit, hanging out with her friends and speaking in Gin-isms. I also enjoyed her memories of Fletcher, who was a character I always liked. But I wanted a little more action. And I would have liked to see more of the supporting cast outside of Finn, Owen and Bria.
Gin's relationship to her nemesis isn't the only element in the story that could have felt repetitive. Finn's story mirrors Owen's from a few books ago, when his former fiancee returned. And someone is, once again, planning to rob the art museum. But the choice to repeat those elements is a deliberate one which allows Gin's enemies to use her past actions against her. I thought that was an interesting way to spin the story.
I had some of the twists figured out before Gin did, though certainly not all of the details. And I'm excited about the direction those twists seem to be taking the storyline. So while Bitter Bite is not my favorite in the series, it's one that Gin's fans will enjoy.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley