Feb 24, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: By a Thread by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #6)

Urban Fantasy
February 28 2012
Mass Market Paperback
384 pages
Pocket Books
Received from author

Kick Ass Chick – Gin Blanco

From Goodreads –
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.


By a Thread is the sixth book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series and it continues to demonstrate how awesome this series is.

This time around Finn suggests that it may be time for Gin to take a vacation.  A weekend away with Owen, Finn and Bria.  You see, since taking care of business back in book five, Gin’s alter ego as the assassin The Spider is starting to become public knowledge.  Well, that’s not completely true –  It’s becoming public speculation.  Therefore every idiot hotshot is trying to kill Gin to prove that they are better than the ‘maybe’ Spider.  So after some consideration, and being attacked one more time, Gin agrees to Finn’s suggestion.

They decide to go to Savannah, Bria’s old stomping grounds.  Not only will it give Gin a chance to see where her baby sister was living the years they were apart but it will give Bria a chance to see Callie, her BFF.  When they arrive, Callie introduces the sisters to her new fiancé – one Donovan Caine.

I was debating whether or not to actually talk about the bastard er…I mean Donovan.  Let me explain something…I sometimes read blurbs and I sometimes don’t.  I post blurbs on my blog yet I don’t always read them.  The blurb for By a Thread I did not read.  Why?  No clue.  So I went into this book pretty much clueless as to what was happening.  I only knew Gin was going on vacation with Finn, Owen and Bria because Jennifer told me so a while back while we were discussing Spider’s Revenge.  When Donovan appeared on the page, I was shocked.  I didn’t see it coming at all.  I messaged another blogger and asked if they were going to talk about Donovan because it’s a big surprise but it’s very tricky to talk about this book without talking about the bastard er…Donovan.  I asked her if it would be too spoiler-ish.  She’s the one who told me to read the blurb…and sure enough, it’s right there.  *facepalm* So I guess it’s not a total surprise…I’m just a little slow.  *g* The fact that he appears in the blurb also made my mind up for me.  We are going to talk about him.

I always wondered why Gin was so hung up on Donovan.  I mean, the guy has never been nice to her.  Yes, he’s a cop and yes, she’s an assassin.  But she’s a ‘good’ assassin and she’s lovely!  How can you not love her?!  When he left I was happy and I was hoping to never see him again.  But Jennifer said she wanted to bring him back to bring Gin closure.  Well, I didn’t think Gin needed closure.  I thought burn the photos and throw a party, he’s gone.  And besides, she has Owen!  Yummy, amazing, yummy Owen!  My initial reaction to seeing Donovan was shock.  Then I was grr… And yes, grr is totally a feeling.  But you know what?  He worked in this book.  By the end of all things, I was very happy with what Jennifer did with him and Gin and everyone.  And I did feel like Gin got her closure.  And I felt it made things that much stronger between Gin and Owen, yummy Owen.  So all in all, I am happy he was in this book.  But I am still hoping to never see him again.  *g*

Not only did Gin get her closure with Donovan but she also got closure on many other things, including her relationship issues with Bria.  I was really impressed with how Jennifer did all that.  It’s like this book is the ‘clean slate’ book Gin deserved and needed after Mab.  Everything is on the table now and everything feels right with the world.  So now the rest of Gin’s life can happen.

I guess I should mention a bit about the story other than Donovan and closure and holiday.  Of course, there is no such thing as a vacation for Gin and her friends.  They find out upon arriving in Savannah that Callie is being threatened by the local big wig who wants to buy her restaurant for the land it’s on.  Callie is not accepting his offer so he is getting more aggressive with his ways of persuading.  Dekes, the bad guy, happens to be a vampire.  And when vampires drink an Elemental’s blood, they temporarily acquire their power.  Yes, that seems sort of random but it’s important to remember.  So we have Callie being threatened by a man that almost makes Mab look like a sweet little old grandma and lots of action and plots to keep you on your toes and turning the page.  By a Thread is a ride and really fun to read.

Man I love this series.  Yes, the repetition is a little bothersome at times, but if you can push through that you are in for some amazing stories.  And the characters…you just can’t beat characters like Gin, Owen, Finn and pretty much everyone else that you meet in this world that Jennifer created.  By a Thread shows us that there are many more great adventures waiting for us from Gin – that even after taking her revenge after so many years, there are many more stories to tell.

The next book, Widow’s Web, is due out August 21st 2012.  This is the book where we are to find out more about Owen, Gin’s love interest, and I can’t wait.  Owen has quite the story…I don’t know what it is but I can tell it’s a good one.  I have marked my calendar for Widow’s Web’s release and you will too especially after reading By a Thread.

4.5 stars

Giggle worthy quote

Being on vacation is . . . harder than I thought it would be.”

“How so?”

I rubbed the spider rune scar on first one palm, then the other, struggling to put my feelings into words. “Because I don’t seem to be very good at it. We haven’t even been gone a day, and it feels like I’m right back where I started. Like I never even left Ashland and the bad guys behind. I was looking forward to relaxing. And I tried today – I really did. I let Bria drag me around all afternoon, and I even oohed and aahed over tacky T-shirts and cheap seashell necklaces just like you’re supposed to when you’re on vacation. Can you believe that? I don’t think I’ve ever oohed and aahed in my entire life.”

Owen laughed again.

“What? It’s not funny,” I grumbled. “It’s downright embarrassing.”


“We’ve got work to do this morning, remember? Finn, did you bring the information that I asked you to? Finn?”

He was too busy bending Bria over backward and planting a sound, lingering kiss on her to answer. It took them even longer to come up for air than it had Owen and me, and by the time Finn set Bria back up on her feet, most of the people in the restaurant were staring at them. A few of the wives were even poking their husbands in the chests, muttering about how they never got kissed like that anymore.  Finn grinned, gave an elaborate flourish with his hand, and dipped into a low bow before straightening up and addressing the entire restaurant. “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it is done.”

Books in the Elemental Assassin series –
Spider’s Bite
Web of Lies
Tangled Threads
Spider’s Revenge
By a Thread
Widow’s Web (August 2012)

  1. This is the best book in the series so far for me. –And I’m with you on Donovan. He is such a toad.

  2. I’m one of those that didn’t read the blurb. I didn’t even want to read a review before reading the book but after seeing something about Donovan on Twitter I came running to read your review and oh surprise YES! he’s in the book!! We share the same feelings for him, I hate him! But now I want this book more than ever.

  3. Jen – Yes, he really is a toad. lol

    BookaholicCat – I am really looking forward to seeing what you think of him and of the book. It’s good…all of it. 😉

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