Author: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books
Elemental Assassins #6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Author
About the book:
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.
Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun.
But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.
What I’m talking about:
As I stated when I reviewed Thread of Death (review HERE), I am new to Ms. Estep’s Elemental Assassins series, but with the “blessings” of the author herself, I jumped into the series with both feet, and am I glad that I did!
The story takes place shortly after the events in Thread of Death, which featured the funeral of underworld figure Mab Monroe. Our heroine, Gin Blanco defeated nemesis Mab in book #5, Spider’s Revenge, in a climatic duel. Now the word is out that Gin is in fact the assassin known as the Spider, and everyone wants a piece of her, especially Mab’s former associate, Jonah McAllister. So at the suggestion of her friends and family, Gin takes a long overdue vacation with her younger sister.
I could go on and on about the plot of By a Thread because it was such a fun story. It had all the right elements – action, love, intrigue – but what I adored most was that we watched Gin’s relationships with her sister, Bria, and her lover, Owen, grown and deepen. By the end of the book I had tears in my eyes because of the emotional bonding I witnessed.
However, let me back up a little here. This book is action packed! I was literally skipping words to find out what was going to happen next – I could not read fast enough. I was often on edge, sometimes even mentally “covering my eyes” because I was continually waiting for something else to go wrong with Gin. Even though she agrees to go on vacation, trouble has a way of finding her. I felt bad for Gin as she fought to protect her sister’s BFF, unpacking her numerous weapons, doing the tough jobs, while her sister watched her with an eye of almost disgust. But it was a good thing Gin doesn’t know how to take a break from the life of an assassin, because this time they tangled with one of the most vicious vampires known to walk the earth. And let me tell you, parts of this book were a bit gruesome, made more cringe-worthy out of concern for Gin.
Randall Dekes is a evil, sadistic vampire with no redeeming qualities. He makes an excellent villain, especially when he takes on and tortures Gin. He also has ties to Jonah McAllister, which makes him enemy number one.
As I said earlier, although a thrilling ride, the best parts of this book are the emotional pieces which stirred my heart. I loved the little nuggets and memories from Gin’s deceased foster father, Fletcher. In addition, Ms. Estep does a superb job portraying Gin’s longing to be close with her sister. In opening scenes when she travels with Bria to Blue Sands–it was heart breaking. I could feel Gin’s self-doubt and her desire for her sister’s love.
And when it comes to love… I ADORE Owen! Owen and Gin are ideal for each other. Individually, they aren’t perfect, but accept each other for who they are, even when they make mistakes. It’s like they know each other on a sub-atomic level and are just content to admire and love the other as is. And when Owen says to Gin “You’re mine,” rawr!
This was my first full-length Elemental Assassins book, but I easily jumped right in. Gin reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: sometimes the battle is hers alone to fight; she wants to help others; she has a good heart. I loved how Gin really came into her own and accepted who she is and what she does. I think you will too!