ARC Review: Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Posted March 19th, 2013 in book review / 10 comments

Deadly Sting

Elemental Assassin Series, #8

by Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Pocket Books (March 26, 2013)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC (400 pages)
Source: From Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me — Gin Blanco, aka the Spider — it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’ priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

At A Glance
Though I had more annoyances with Deadly Sting than any other book in the series, I still loved reading it.

The Good
Deadly Sting is very different from the rest of the books in the series. It focuses on one aspect, and that’s the robbery of Mab Monroe’s valuables at a museum where all the rich and famous of Ashland are present and are taken hostage. Including Gin’s friends. And if you don’t know who Gin is by now, know this: she will stop at nothing to save her friends’ lives, even at the risk of her own.

It’s no secret that Gin is one of my favorite heroines ever. She is strong, capable and deadly. I love women who can kick ass and take names. And with each installment, Gin becomes more complex as a character. She’s also become surprisingly vulnerable. The men she has been romantically involved with have done a number on her. But through each heartbreak and let down, she still remains the fearsome and loyal Gin we have all come to love. She deserves someone who will love all of her, the good and the bad, and I can only hope she finds that someone before this series ends.

But besides her love life, Gin really shines in Deadly Sting. She takes on a whole museum of giants hell bent on killing the notorious Spider and stealing some very valuable treasures. I loved watching her take stock of the situation and determine the best way to save her friends from the wrong end of a giant’s gun. I’d like to be able to analyze and contain a situation like she does.

The action in Deadly Sting was amazing. It’s known that fighting with a giant is like fighting with a tank. Giants are hard to kill. They have amazing strength and resiliency. No one can take them in hand-to-hand combat. Even guns and knives may only leave a scratch. But Gin knows her way around a giant, and she is the best with knives. I loved watching Gin take on the giants. They were a fearsome foe, I will give them that. They were well organized and out for Gin’s blood from the get-go. But Gin never lets that scare her. She harnassed her anger which helped her take them down one by one.

Deadly Sting also addresses some open-ended storylines from past books. Some old enemies are taken care of, and a new enemy may have emerged. Gin may have ended Mab Manroe’s life, but there are consequences to killing the most feared woman in Ashland, and those consequences might just be catching up to Gin.

Deadly Sting was a thrill-ride from beginning to end. It kept my attention the whole time. The character development was, as always, off the charts. Finn and Bria are still amazing secondary characters that could easily have their own series. I love the direction this series is going, especially since it’s winding down to the end. I will be so sad to see this series go.

I want to also mention something about the whole Owen and Gin debacle before you read about it in The Bad section below. In Deadly Sting, there is this quote: “I’d rather have somebody alive and hating me than dead and buried.” That sums up Gin. Gin will always do whatever is needed to keep her “family” safe, even if they will hate her later for it. For Gin, it’s worth their hate to see them alive and well every day. That’s what Gin did for Owen, her ex-boyfriend. She got rid of a person that was bad for him and his family. Even if Owen doesn’t see it that way, Gin did the right thing in Widow’s Web and it’s a shame Owen is punishing her for it still.

The Bad
Deadly Sting picks up where Widow’s Web left off. Owen is still upset with Gin for killing Salina, his psychotic ex-fiance. Though it was hard to read, I didn’t mind that Owen and Gin broke up in Widow’s Web. I blamed Owen of course, because his past obsession with another woman was a ridiculous thing to hold on to when that woman tortured his sister when she was young. I thought Owen was going to realize that asking Gin not to harm someone who wanted to kill her and his family was ridiculous. I thought he would realize he was wrong, that this book would be Owen’s chance to redeem himself. But that didn’t really happen. He is still holding on to a crazy grudge and now I think less of him. It makes me think that he never really loved Gin for who she is. Owen has always been the loving and understanding man that Gin needed. Now he is scratching the surface of becoming Donovan #2. And I don’t think any fan of Gin wants another Donovan around.

I was surprised to see this book completely focus on the museum event with Mab’s art and jewelry collection. It felt more like a novella than a full length novel. I am use to a more complex storyline from Estep.

The Snuggly
As I mentioned above, I am so done with Owen. I don’t even think he can redeem himself in my eyes anymore. I don’t see him loving Gin for Gin. I don’t want another version of Donovan messing up Gin again. For an assassin, she is very emotionally vulnerable. So, needless to say, not much romance in this book. Just Owen messing with Gin’s emotions and giving her false hope.

Final Thoughts
Estep never disappoints. She writes exciting, character driven books that are addictive. Though I really am not liking the direction Owen is going right now, I still love this series. I can only hope Gin gets her HEA by the end. Highly recommended.

Elemental Assassin Series:
Book #1: Spider’s Bite
Book #2: Web of Lies
Book #3: Venom
Book #4: Tangled Threads
Book #5: Spider’s Revenge
Book #6: By a Thread
Book #7: Widow’s Web
Book #8: Deadly Sting
Book #9: Heart of Venom (Coming soon)

Similar Reading:
Jane Yellowrock Series by Faith Hunter
Chicagoland Vampires Series by Chloe Neill
Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost
Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews
Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh

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10 Responses to “ARC Review: Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep”

  1. Jaclyn Canada

    I really need to read this series! Gin sounds like such a great heroine. Owen needs to go, definitely doesn’t sound like he deserves her with how you’ve described his actions right now. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    This series is one I hope to read and I laughed at your opening comments..i sometimes feel that way about Cat and Bones and Rachel Morgan..LOL The characters sound complex, stubborn and well fleshed out. Awesome review Jennifer!

  3. Elisa

    I am so far behind on this series. I was talking to my cousin who is a book ahead of me and realized I needed to get cracking! 🙂 I love Gin, I love this series and I am so sad to hear Owen is being a butthead cause where I am he is Mr. Perfect. Oh well. Character development the wrong way! Great review.

  4. Tori

    Great review. I agree with your assessment of Owen. He has disappointed me the last 2 books. I do think though that his guilt is now more reflective of his own culpability in the whole situation. He allowed much of what happened to happen. My hope is Brie or someone takes him somewhere for a ‘come to Jesus’ talk. lol

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