Review: By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

Posted February 22nd, 2012 in book review / 10 comments

By a Thread

Book #6 of the Elemental Assassin Series

by Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Pocket Books (February 28, 2012)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384 (eBook)
Source: Author supplied me the ARC
Purchase at: Amazon / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

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.

The Good
My Happy Place…
I am so giddy right now I just want to punch someone in the face. Okay, yeah, my happy place is a little violent but that’s okay because I can blame it on Gin. She just brings out my feisty side. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVED By a Thread. It had everything: fighting, violence, suspense, horrible villains, kickass heroes, and a little side of romance. It’s no secret that Gin is one of my favorite protagonists ever. And she’s only getting better book by book.

Trouble with a Capital ‘T’…
So Gin takes a vacation. What? Oh yeah, you heard right. Our lovable assassin (please don’t tell her I called her that, I ‘d like to keep all my appendages attached to my body) has finally decided to take a break. It’s the only logical decision since everyone wants a piece of her after she came out of the assassin closet. But don’t worry, we are talking about Gin here. Where Gin goes, trouble follows. This trouble happens to be a very powerful vampire (Dekes) who wants to obtain Callie’s (Bria’s best friend) restaurant by any means possible. Callie has no interest in selling her restaurant but as Dekes’ goons like to say, “Accidents can be arranged.” In steps Gin to save the day. But Gin might have bitten off more than she can chew because this vampire knows way more than he should. And we all know the saying, knowledge is power.

‘D’ is for Drama…and Donovan
I can’t stress enough that this book had EVERYTHING. We get what we always expect from Estep: descriptive writing, dynamic characters, action galore, and drama, drama, drama. And when I say drama, I mean Donovan Freaking Caine. I actually hate Donovan more than I hate the villains. Why? Because we know the villains are bad guys, we expect it. Even they know that they are bad. They don’t try to hide it. Gin knows the bad guys are going to come after her, hurt her, and she prepares herself for it. But Donovan is a whole nother story. He is the good guy, the detective who we should all trust. And he has hurt Gin more than anyone else ever has. His hatred for what Gin is is so strong that even our cold-hearted assassin breaks just a little under the scrutiny. Assassin’s have feelings too, people. Donovan’s conviction has uglied him in my eyes, and there is no coming back from what he did to Gin in the past. So when Estep brought him back for this book, my heart sank, but in a good way. I think it was time for Gin to finally confront him. I have to admit, I was stressed out over what would happen between Owen and Gin when Donovan came back into the picture. And that’s all I am going to say about that because I don’t want to spoil what happens.

Slices and Dices…
Gin was her old kickass self. She still slices and dices when the need arises, she still has her family to support her, even if Bria and Gin’s relationship is a little strained, and she’s still the ultimate survivor. I literally had to put the book down three times because I got so flustered and became a nervous wreck when she got into some hairy situations. I, one hundred percent, didn’t have a clue how she was going to get out of this one situation. It seemed impossible. But Estep amazed me once again with her plausible and creative twists. Her writing actually pulled me into the story so much that someone was calling my name for five minutes and I never heard them until they shook me out of my reading coma. True story.

I am so happy Estep finally brought this certain concept up for a plot. I am not going to tell you what it is because that would ruin the surprise, but I have been thinking of this certain connection with vampires from book one, Spider’s Bite. So to finally have it addressed and fully explained was very exciting.

The Crew’s All Here…
Owen, Finn, and Bria were all there and awesome as ever. Bria still carries resentment towards Gin for being an assassin, which broke my heart because it’s really starting to get to Gin. But how Estep addressed this issue was perfect. It all tied in very nicely. Owen is still the sweetest boyfriend ever. I don’t think anyone could have written a better partner for Gin than Estep did. He is everything Gin needs: someone who loves her for who she is, not despite it, has the same need to take care of his family no matter the means, and who sees her strength and determination as something to admire, not belittle for. He is a male lead to revere and drool over. *Owen, will you marry me? Woah, Gin, I was just kidding. Put the knife down.*

When I turned the last page, I actually let out a breath of satisfaction. By a Thread addressed a lot of problems that have been weighing on Gin for a long time. Her life may not be perfect, but it’s getting damned close. Which kind of makes me suspicious, like something bad is going to happen soon. But I will take my happy ending and sleep well for now.

The Bad
I truly can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. I use to complain that Estep wrote too much backstory and recap, but I didn’t feel this way about this book at all. I am starting to think that the recap bothered me only because I read the first five books in a row. This book had the appropriate amount of recap that helped the reader get back into the story very easily.

The Snuggly
We get our token sex scene that is oh so naughty but not too risque. It’s just enough to show us how much love Owen and Gin have for one another. How they crave each other no matter each other’s pasts. Owen is the perfect man for Gin, and I can only hope that they stay together. Even Gin, with her coldness, has warmed up because of Owen and his unconditional love.

If you don’t want to read this book or series, then something is wrong with you. lol. Just kidding. But come on, people, this is a fascinating series and book. It shouldn’t be passed over. This is a true urban fantasy story that hits all the levels of perfection. I read By a Thread in a day and my nails were all but bitten off because the heart-pounding suspense on almost every page. A highly recommended read.


“Yeah, yeah,” I said. “I know exactly what you’re going to say. I’m a bitch, this isn’t over, and I’ll be seeing you again real soon. If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard that, I’d be even richer than I already am.”

Pete kept glaring at me, so I leaned forward so that my face was level with his.

“Trust me, dude,” I said, letting him see the cold violence that always lurked just below the surface of my wintry eyes. “You do not know who you are messing with, and you do not want to find out. Do yourself a favor. When your boss Dekes springs you from the pokey, tell him that Callie Reyes is off-limits and to find somewhere else to build his fancy resort—or he will be sorry that he didn’t. You got that?”

The Elemental Assassin Series:
Spider’s Bite, Book 1
Web of Lies, Book 2
Venom, Book 3
Tangled Threads, Book 4
Spider’s Revenge, Book 5

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10 Responses to “Review: By a Thread by Jennifer Estep”

  1. Sarah (saz101)

    Everything you’ve spoken about is EXACTLY what I LOVED about this series! Gin! Owen! The tension between the characters and the evil villains! And I am so excited to see how this thing with Donovan plays out now you’ve gotten me past the fear that it’ll complicate Owen and Gin! EEEEEEE! *freaks out*

    • Sarah (saz101)

      *angst angst angst* wanna read it noooooow! I’m so excited to read it with some space inbetween it and the last one, if you know what I mean?

      Ooooh, and I just read Darkfever, and I was about to fangirl at you about it, but then I just saw Goodreads, and you haven’t read it! :OOO

    • Jennifer L. Bielman

      I have read Darkfever, silly. It’s in my read shelf, I just haven’t done a review on it yet. It’s going to take forever to review all the books I have read in the past. I need like 36 hours days cuz 24 is not enough!

    • Sarah (saz101)

      Wha? Seriously? *head-desk*
      Sorry, I CLEARLY didn’t read that one straight. Oooh, just looked again, and it doesn’t show ‘read’ on my screen, it just shows ‘Jennifer added it’, and I didn’t use my brain >___<

      Also, for some reason I enjoy you calling me ‘silly’ immensely. It seems like an endearment 😛

      Seriously. Can we have 36 hours days? I’d LOVE that… err… espcially on the weekend… and… wow, I’m retarded. You even have the banner in you ‘Series I love’. *head-desk*

  2. Melissa (My words and pages)

    Okay, I kind of skimmed through the review. 🙂 I have the first 2 books here to read and really want to get to them soon. Actually I think I’m going to have to pick up the first book with in the next few weeks only because I can’t wait any longer. 🙂 Thank you for the review!

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