ARC Review: Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep

Posted August 16th, 2012 in book review / 18 comments

Widow’s Web

Book #7 of the Elemental Assassin Series

by Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Pocket (August 21st, 2012)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC (384 pages)
Source: Review Request by Author (Thanks Jennifer)
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

I used to murder people for money, but these days it’s more of a survival technique.

Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town.

Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back in town, she thinks he’s hers for the taking.

Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread. ~ Add on Goodreads

At a Glance
How does one go through life and not read the Elemental Assassin Series? It boggles the mind. It’s so full of yummy goodness in all aspects. And Estep is showing no signs of slowing down. Every book is as good as the last. Widow’s Web is no exception.

The Good
Here’s the Story
Things don’t seem too bad for Gin lately. Sure, some people are still after her, wanting to take out the infamous Gin who killed the notorious Mab, but really that’s all a day in the life of sort of thing. Gin has her lover Owen to play with at night and her restaurant, Pork Pit, to run during the day. A pretty good life all and all. Then one of Owen’s exes show up and ruins everything. Salina is gorgeous and sweet as pie on the outside, but on the inside, something cold and ugly dwells. She’s a powerful water element to boot. But that’s not the worst of it. Salina has made it apparent that she wants Owen back. And it doesn’t seem like Owen is 100% put off by the idea. Even when Salina reveals herself to be dangerous, Owen continues to be ensnared by his long lost love. Now Gin has to protect her dysfunctional little family, a maybe good, maybe bad casino owner, and her own boyfriend against an opponent who definitely has the upper hand.

A Life for Gin…
Gin is the same strong, smart-mouthed, deadly assassin we have all come to love. She has carved out a nice piece of life for herself. Her relationship with her sister Bria has developed very nicely. Bria has become Gin’s number one supporter, even when Gin’s actions go against Bria’s law-abiding tendencies. Owen and her seem solid, playing their little assassin games and getting down and dirty when the mood strikes. Pork Pit is still standing and customers are still coming even though her assassin status is no longer on the down low. And then all that sun shiny goodness is shattered as Salina walks back in Owen’s life.

Now Owen has become distant, no longer confiding in Gin nor wanting to be intimate with her. Gin finds out that Salina is a long lost love of Owens when he and his sister lived on the streets. He has never gotten over her and seeing her again has put distance between Owen and Gin. Gin is doing the only thing she can, letting him work out his problems for himself. And even though it was painful to watch, I respected Gin for putting aside her uneasiness and dread and giving Owen time to deal with this situation at his own pace and discretion. But the problem is, Salina doesn’t play fair.

Salina is that kind of person who will dazzle you with her smile and make pleasantries while signing a contract for your family’s lives. In some ways, you feel bad for Salina because her past has messed her up. She has not had a fair shake in life and all she wants is revenge. I totally get it. But she takes it farther than even serial killers would go. And that crazy wench has her claws in Owen. It was heartbreaking to see Owen being so stupid and blindsided by someone so evil.

We also get a somewhat new character in this book that will for sure be involved in the rest of the series. Kincaid is the bad/good casino boss who has his sights on filling the void of power in Ashland. We know very little about him, but page by page you begin to love him. He is like a laid back version of Owen. He also has extensive history with Owen…and Salina. That history is about to bite him in the ass as Salina sets her sights on him. Gin is reluctant to help out this “crime boss” but he really grows on her. Is he bad? Is he good? Why is he inserting himself into Owen and Eva’s (Owen’s sister) lives? Read to find out. You might be shocked by the truth.

A Better Spider…
The battles between Salina and Gin are really amazing in Widow’s Web. Owen doesn’t want Gin to kill Salina, but Salina does everything in her power to kill Gin, and almost succeeds. I also liked the dilemma Gin faces when it comes to saving the lives of the bad people of Ashland. I think Gin’s decisions in this book really helped us to realize her growth and maturity as a character. I couldn’t have respected Gin more after finishing Widow’s Web. Even when things are crumbling around her, she takes everything with a grain of salt. She doesn’t push for the things she can’t change. I think this kind of attitude will help her with the heartache she is no doubt going to experience in the next book.

More Drama to Come…
The writing was well done. The plot and pacing kept my attention the whole way through. The action was fast and rough, just the way I like it. (I am talking about the fighting, people. Get your brain out of the gutter). And the drama in this book was extremely fun (and sad)to experience as it played out. I can’t wait to see what Estep will do with the next book.

The Bad
There really isn’t anything bad about this book. Estep use to have too much background info and recap in her books but she has cut that back to perfection. The only bad thing some fans won’t like is the direction Gin and Owen are going. I won’t go into detail because you need to experience that for yourself. I actually like this new development. Keeps things fresh, even if they are depressing.

The Snuggly
Of course we get our token sex scene, which was awesome. Personally, I think Estep writes perfect sex scenes for the urban fantasy genre. They are not overly long–which you would find more in paranormal romance–and they have a great amount of intimacy and steam without getting too risque.

Estep dishes out another action packed read that barely let’s you take a breath. Though it does not end on the happiest of notes, I am excited to see where Estep is taking this plot line. Any Estep fan will be very satisfied by Widow’s Web. And if you aren’t an Estep fan, you need to be, so get reading. 🙂 Highly Recommended.

Make sure to come back August 24th for my Q&A with Jennifer Estep. She is also letting me giveaway one copy of her book, Widow’s Web.

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 (August 21, 2012)
Book #8: Deadly Sting (March 26, 2013)

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18 Responses to “ARC Review: Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep”

  1. Sarah (saz101)


    Why do I feel like I know exactly where the Gin/Owen thing is going? And Owen wanting Gin to not kill the crazy bitch when she’s trying to kill Gin? WTF?

    *is scared*
    *really REALLY wants to read* 😀

  2. JenM

    Oh noes!!!! Don’t tell me this is heading toward a Gin/Owen breakup. I think I’m going to break down and cry if that’s the case. Now I’m officially scared to read it.

  3. JustWingingIt

    Hmmm, now I don’t know if I want to read this book. This seems like a total turn around for Owen. He seemed to be so in love with Gin. 🙁

    • Jennifer L. Bielman

      He is in love with Gin. But you know how a bad past can haunt you. Don’t miss out just because they have a little rift in their relationship. It’s not that bad.

  4. Ashley Robertson

    I must be one of the few that haven’t read this series yet. But it’s definitely on my radar now. Thanks for your review. Happy Friday Jennifer! 🙂

  5. Elisa

    Lucky getting an ARC! I love Gin but have only read up to the 3rd or 4th book. I really need to get to reading!! I am so sad to hear that she and Owen are having issues. 🙁 He was so wonderful compared to Caine!

  6. Anonymous

    I’ve read all books in the matter of a week or two. She is a terrific writer. I couldn’t put the books down. The thing with Owen is sad, but everyone forgets how very attractive Gin is. Hes not going to just let her go that quick. Thanks for the inside. I can’t wait. I’m counting down the days!

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