By a Thread (Elemental Assassin #6) – Ain’t no rest for the wicked

By a thread, jennifer estep, Elemental Assassin, Gin Blanco, SpiderIt seems as if Gin Blanco can’t catch a break no matter how hard she tries. As Jennifer Estep’s prior novel, Spider’s Revenge, and short story, Thread of Death, wrapped up the first major arc of this series, this book was more of a cool down with Gin taking a vacation with her sister, Bria, in an attempt to bond and heal after all they’ve been through.

The location of choice for this vacation is Bria’s old hometown, a swanky beach town where all looks fun on the surface.  But we soon learn this isn’t the case with a big bad vampire running the show and flexing some muscle; he threatens and terrorizes one of Bria’s childhood friends and that doesn’t sit well with Gin.  The moral of this story is that you can take the Spider out of Ashland, but you can’t take the Spider out of Gin. She works to help Bria’s friend by any means necessary, much to Bria and…Donovan Caine’s chagrin.  The only question is if the Spider can win on someone else’s turf.

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, as I started progressing with this series, the amount of summarizing and rehashing grew fairly tiresome for me and distracted me from enjoying the novel as a whole at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I still managed to do it, but it affected the overall quality for me.  This time around I think Estep got the memo because it was kept to a minimum.  I was actually surprised that we didn’t get a summary of the Thread of Death short, but I’m not complaining.

While the rehashing is down, I still found a new set of problems with this book.  Number one: Donovan Caine.  It’s been several books and for the life of me I still don’t understand why he’s worth any kind of page space anymore.  A huge “thread” of the plot was about Gin finally getting over her two romps in the hay with him that oh-so-emotionally tormented her because he was everything she wanted and she couldn’t be what he needed and blah blah blah.  Good riddance then and good riddance now to that storyline.

Another area that irked me was that the whole reason for her to be on vacation was to take her out of her element. I was really hoping to see her adapt more. ***slight spoiler***I was not a fan of the whole crew eventually finding their way to the beach town, pretty much bringing Ashland to Gin.***end spoiler*** Either send her back home or switch up her options; how it turned out didn’t really work for me.

The romance aspect of this series has never done anything for me, and at this point I doubt it will. Bria and Finn annoy me.  Their interactions feel so totally high school-like and instead of giving me the warm fuzzies, it makes me roll my eyes.  I’m not the craziest about beach sex scenes either. It’s totally unrealistic and this may be TMI, but I am not sure how hott or romantic it is to have sand up in your junk, but maybe that’s just me.

I also kind of wished Gin would stop talking about how unlucky she was while during every fight a lot of things happen out of sheer luck to give her the upper hand.  The action is really THE main reason I crack open these books and find them to be easy reads.

Overall the action was still up to the usual standards, but it’s sort of feeling like the same old same old since Gin didn’t evolve much.  The villains are usually very well done and this one was no exception. I felt like he was developed well and he was really the best part of the book for me.  He was definitely one you loved to hate.

This read was mainly about dealing with Gin’s personal life emotionally, settling issues with Donovan Caine and Bria. This is amped up in the last 10% which felt really drawn out to me after a while.  It’s sort of hard to wonder what’s next for Gin and if it will be as interesting or engaging as her arc with Mab.  The preview for the next book looks like it will begin to focus a more on a new character that we met in the Thread of Death short story, but this is only my guess based on a couple of subtleties.  Book 7, Widow’s Web, is due out later this year.  It will determine if this series has jumped the shark for me and if I should hang it up for good.

10 responses

  1. Hmmm. Some valid points. But what can I say, I LOVED this book. Hopefully it gets better for you next book.

    March 19, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    • We’ll see! I’m really trying to give this series a chance. So far Venom (Book 3) is still my favorite. I know what you mean though. Like, I personally loved A Perfect Blood despite the issues other readers found with it. And it’s not like I’m a blind Hollows fan. I’ve given five books a 3 or less. There really is no perfect book. It’s just a matter of whether or not the reader’s overall enjoyment outweighs its flaws.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:36 AM

  2. cher

    I knew Caine would show up somewhere in this series but I honestly thought he’d be attracted to Bria. Please tell me, there’s an exit in this book for Caine.I still haven’t decide if i want to go on with this series.I loved Owen but thst’s about it.Great review

    March 19, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    • Thanks! If you really want to know *****spoiler****Yeah, she seems to have finally shut it down****/spoiler**** Owen is okay as a character, but for some reason I’m just not invested in his relationship with Gin.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM

  3. Diva

    I agree that the rehashing was toned down. But Gin’s emo act over Donovan Caine was just…ugh. She has Owen at her side, a man who loves her and accepts her 100%, warts and all, so the fact that she would spend even an ounce of mental energy thinking about Donovan and what she may or may not still feel about him just made me want to rip out my hair. I think it would have worked much better for mer if Gin had gotten her closure earlier in the book.

    The villain was pretty good.

    I also agree that the novella gave some clues about what might be coming in the next books. It looks like we’ll be finding out some more about Owen. I love Owen so that’s fine by me.

    In fact, aside from the action and a heroine that is totally not averse to shedding some blood in some pretty brutal ways, the main draws for me with these books is the relationships that Gin has with both Finn and Owen. The love and bond she shares with Finn, her foster brother, seems much more real to me than what she has with Bria. It wouldn’t bother me if Gin ever lost Bria but I’d be devastated if she ever lost Finn.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    • Tiki

      Totally agree! The relationship with Owen and Finn are what’s keeping me hanging on.

      March 19, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    • I like her and Finn’s relationship. I just don’t like Finn and Bria together romantically. Her and Owen is just kind of meh for me. In this instance I sort of have your issue where you don’t like when the characters get together so fast. I think I would have liked this one more as a slow build.

      March 19, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      • Diva

        Well, I picture David Gandy as Owen so that probably helped. lol

        March 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        • Diva

          And the actress who played Cara on Legend of the Seeker, Tabrett Bethell, is my Gin. Just sayin’.

          March 21, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        • I already see Gandy as Barrons so that option is out for me. I don’t really picture Owen as anybody in particular. I picture Gin as how we see her on the cover since we can see her face.

          March 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM

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