With the eleventh book in the Elemental Assassin series, Jennifer Estep continues to deliver and deliver big. For those readers who were afraid this series was going to go stale at the conclusion of the original story arc, you can rest easy. This series just keeps getting better and better with every new installment and Gin remains one of the most kick ass heroines in urban fantasy.
Running the Pork Pit, taking classes at the local community college, fighting off would be assassins trying to make a name for themselves by offing the Spider, it’s just a normal day in the life of Gin Blanco. Her only real problem right now is figuring out what Finn’s plans are concerning her upcoming birthday. That is until she overhears one of her waitresses being threatened in the parking lot of the college and steps in. Apparently there’s a new and dangerous drug going around and one of the local dealers wants to expand his sales off the college grounds and he believes his ex-girlfriend, Catalina, should help him. Now that Gin is involved and has grabbed the attention of the biggest drug dealer in Ashland she realizes that this is an ongoing problem that has also effected her sister, Bria. Being a cop should put Bria on the right side of the law, but Gin doesn’t know what to do with her sister right now. This isn’t the woman she knows and loves. This Bria is cold, and unreasonable and wants vengeance. The only problem is the vampire they are up against doesn’t just drink blood, he feeds off emotions and has remained at the top of the bad guy list in the Ashland underworld for years. But he hasn’t come up against the Spider yet.
Even as Gin gets drawn deeper and deeper into another mess, she is desperately trying to figure out her best course of action. Her first inclination is always to protect those she loves, no matter the consequences. Bria is acting rash and making decisions that will ultimately endanger not only herself, but Catalina and while Gin might want to step back, she knows she can’t. Being outed as the Spider has led her to start thinking of where she is in her life and the direction she intends to go. Fighting with every small time crook wanting to make a name for themselves gets old, but now with this newest battle Gin must really decide how she intends to go on as her alter ego. Let me just say this…. Gin has fought some dangerous and difficult battles in her time as the Spider, but this might just be her hardest one to date.
This series always impresses me with its ability to stay fresh and exciting. Even though I know Gin is going to come out on top at the end, I remain on the edge of my seat throughout every book wondering how she is going to do it and what sacrifices she will ultimately have to make to her physical and mental well-being to overcome the odds. She always has her family and friends around her to help, but in the end it’s always Gin who has to make the tough decisions and take the brunt of the pain. I think with this installment there’s been a bit of a shift, she’s once again surrounded by people and this time it’s those people who ride to the rescue to save her. Once again readers find out more about Gin’s past and how it has shaped her life. In Poison Promise we get glimpses into her time on the streets before she was rescued by Fletcher. It’s those little pieces of her life before that continue to help me understand Gin’s motivations and how she makes decisions. She relies heavily on her stone and ice magic, but her real strength as a heroine is her overwhelming protectiveness and vulnerability to those she loves.
The big showdown at the end is epic and completely bad ass. I absolutely loved that Gin went into it with every single secondary character that I’ve grown to love at her back, ready to protect her just as she’s spent eleven books protecting them. The revelation of the identities of the villains in the next installment had me once again excited to see where Ms. Estep plans to take Gin and the gang next. The Elemental Assassin series is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down. I’ve already put book twelve, Black Widow on my must read list. Final Grade- B+
But I would never, ever get tired of protecting the people I loved.