Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Release Day Review: Black Widow by Jennifer Estep


Black Widow
(Elemental Assassin #12)
Jennifer Estep
Release: November 25, 2014
Links: Amazon Goodreads
Summary:  There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan.

With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.

The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.
Review: Black Widow is definitely one of the best books in this series. It has several awesome action scenes throughout the book and a super twisty plot.

Gin Blanco really gets put through the wringer in this one. First Madeline Monroe attacks her friends and family, setting up legal and business problems for each of them. Gin feels completely powerless because those are things she can't stab. It also keeps them all occupied, leaving Gin alone and more vulnerable when she's attacked personally. It's unusual to see Gin feeling helpless, so I really felt for her.

Madeline's behind the scenes manipulations are unexpected and probably the most effective way to attack Gin. Gin has been pretty honest about who she is and what she does ever since she killed Mab Monroe. And even though she kills people, there's a kind of morality involved. Madeline appears to be beautiful and pristine in her all white wardrobe, but she's deceptive on so many levels. And once she actually shows her elemental power she is truly horrific. Estep really created a great villain and a great foil for Gin's Spider.

I love that the supporting cast seems to get more page time in this one. Philip Kincaid is one of my favorites and he's not around much in some of the other books. I also love the addition of Silvio Sanchez to Gin's entourage. I hope that his character continues to develop - it would be nice to see him in a relationship - and that he differentiates himself from Finn. The revelation that he's an attorney does that to some extent, but they still fill a lot of the same roles in the gang. Their rivalry is often amusing though.

I can easily see how this book could have been the last in the series. Though if it were I would have liked to see more development of Gin's relationship with Owen. But most of the other plot threads are wrapped up neatly. Since there are at least two more books coming, I'm really curious about the new direction Gin seems to be taking in her career as the Spider.

Recommended for fans of: Badass heroines like Kate Daniels and Jane Yellowrock

ARC provided by the publisher

4 1/2  stars

Our reviews of other books in this series:
Spider's Bite reviewed by Goldilox
Web of Lies reviewed by Goldilox
Don't forget to check out my Q&A with Jennifer Estep and enter our Black Widow giveaway here

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