Tuesday, February 5, 2013

VENOM by Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep

Rating: A+
What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a bad ass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. 

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. 

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

My thoughts on the book:
So far Venom is my favorite book of the Elemental Assassin series. The character growth, again, is amazing. The plot is ridiculously suspenseful, the romance is steamy, and the pacing is perfect. This book blew me away. I'm completely in love with this series. I love it as much as I love the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, and that is my favorite series of all time. Estep is a fantastic writer, and this installment does not disappoint. 

Gin keeps evolving, and I really like who she's turning into. She's still a bad ass, but she's also showing more heart. Yes, she's still cold, logical, and brutal, but she also has a soul. She's definitely a heroine I can get behind. I love reading things from her perspective, too, and I really admire the lengths she's willing to go to in order to keep her friends and family safe. She's selfless in many ways, but she's still a fighter. She's one of the best female characters I've ever read. 

The secondary characters are all amazing, and I am enjoying getting to know more about all of them. I still adore Finn, but Owen has really grown on me too. He's pretty much perfect for Gin, and I hope he sticks around for a few books (if not the rest of the series). He's a ton better than Donovan, that's for sure. Violent is another pleasant surprise. She's a tough girl, even though she didn't seem like it when she was first introduced. Also, Roslyn is an impressive character, and so is Bria. This series just has an amazing cast. Even the bad guys are complex and intriguing. Each character is an individual with his or her own voice, and none of them are stereotypes. Each character is fleshed out and interesting in his or her own way. 

The plot is action-packed and full of suspense. There isn't a ton of mystery, but I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. The pacing is perfect, and I didn't get bored at all. I'm not completely clear about how Gin gets the knives to stay in her sleeves, and I keep trying to figure out the schematics of it. I think I'm going with she has them strapped up in there, though nothing like that has been mentioned... Random, I know. Anyway, I couldn't put this book down, and it was a super quick read for me. I really like where this series is going. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to everyone who enjoys kick ass female leads and urban fantasy/supernatural novels. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of supernatural series. I only read Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Chloe Neill, and Kelley Armstrong. That being said, I am completely in love with this series. If you like any of these authors, then I'd definitely recommend giving this series a try. 

Buy Venom!

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