Sunday, February 3, 2013

WEB OF LIES by Jennifer Estep

Web of Lies
Jennifer Estep

Rating: B+
Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon. 

I'm  Gin Blanco.

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

My thoughts on the book:
Web of Lies is an excellent follow-up to Spider's Bite. While I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first one, I did like it a lot. Like all of Estep's books, the characters grow and change over the course of the novel. The plot is action-packed and full of suspense, and the pacing is perfect. Like the Spider's Bite, I found Web of Lies difficult to put down. It definitely held my interest, and I can't wait to read Venom to see what Gin and company get into next. 

One of my favorite things about this novel is how Gin changes as a character. She really grows and turns into someone who is more caring, yet still hardcore. She doesn't let her emotions get in the way, but she's learning that she can do good with her skills instead of always doing other people's dirty work. I enjoyed watching her learn more about Fletcher's past and more about herself through the process of helping the Foxes. 

Speaking of the Foxes, I also like how Estep had Warren Fox be a Cherokee character, but she doesn't make a big deal out of it. The Qualla Boundary (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' reservation) is right outside of Asheville (or Ashland), in the mountains, and I'm glad she acknowledges that the land is and always has been theirs. However, she doesn't depoliticize the EBCI or any of the other American Indian nations. She just states that he's Cherokee, and he states that the land has been in his family over 300 years and that he's not willing to part with it. No weirdo New Age/Pseudo-Powwow culture junk that a lot of authors try to throw into their novels when they have Indigenous peoples in them. Warren T. Fox is simply a mountain man who's trying to hold onto his family home. He's very much a contemporary mountaineer, and he illustrates that American Indians are still present and functioning in present-day society. I commend you, Ms. Estep, for handling this with such grace. 

My main complaint about this novel is that Finn isn't present as much. I missed him, haha. Also, Donovan really pissed me off. He's just a jerk. One of my commenters mentioned she didn't really like him when I reviewed the last book. I have to admit that I fully agree with her. I did love Owen Grayson, though, and I can't wait to learn more about him. He seems like he may actually be man-enough to handle Gin. 

The plot and pacing are perfect, as I've come to expect from Estep. I don't feel like things are as mysterious in this novel as they were in the last, but there is plenty of action and a little bit of romance thrown in. Again, there were times when I wasn't sure Gin would make it out alive, even though I knew the series continued. Estep is really good at keeping the reader on the edge of his or her seat. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who loves good Urban Fantasy material. I've really enjoyed both books in the series so far, and I'm looking forward to reading Venom in the next day or so. 

Order Web of Lies!

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