Title: Heart of Venom
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin, book 9
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books (August 27th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
“When I say you’re a dead man, take that literally.
To me, killing people is like a day at the salon: cut and dry. Well, more like rinse and repeat when you moonlight as the assassin the Spider. But my last spa day ended redder than my freshly painted nails after a twisted Fire elemental and his goons kidnapped my close friend Sophia Deveraux and nearly killed her sister Jo-Jo in the process.
Up Ashland’s most dangerous mountains, and deep into the heart of its blackest woods—I’ll track these thugs no matter where they take Sophia. It doesn’t matter what kinds of elemental magic they try to throw at me, my Ice and Stone powers can take the heat and then some. I will get Sophia back, over their dead bodies.
Because anybody that hurts Gin Blanco’s family becomes a body.”
Heart of Venom is the ninth book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.
Since the first time we met Sophia Deveraux we knew something bad happened in her life, something that left her forever changed, but we didn’t know any details of her ordeal until now.
Many years ago Sophia was kidnapped and held hostage by Harley Grimes, he tortured her and tried to break her. Luckily for her Fletcher Lane rescued her just in time and brought her back to her sister Jo-Jo. After her recovery Sophia started to work for Fletcher at the Pork Pit and as a body disposer for his multiple jobs. Now with Fletcher gone Sophia works with Gin, but she’s more than just an employee, she and Jo-Jo are part of Gin’s family.
After many years, Grimes is back in the picture and with the help of his psychotic sister, Hazel, they kidnapped Sophia again, leaving behind Jo-Jo fighting for her life. What the Grimes brother and sister didn’t know was that attacking the Deveraux sisters was the same as signing a death warrant with their names on it, because Gin aka The Spider would never let anybody hurt the few people that she counts as family and friends.
Heart of Venom uses the same formula as previous books, somebody attacks a member of Gin’s family or a friend, and Gin comes to the rescue. The difference in this installment is that Gin is more emotionally compromised than in previous books. This time around Gin doesn’t do the detailing planning she usually does before any of her assignments, she knows every second counts and there is not time to spare, she needs to get Sophia out now.
Sophia barely survived her first time in Grimes’ hands and after learning more about that experience Gin knows Sophia will rather be dead than going through all that over again.
Despite not having planned the attacked Gin shows us how smart she is when she strategized the attack, we can see what she learned under Fletcher’s tutelage and how she puts it into practice and the best part is that she’s not alone, now she has a network of friends that will always be there for her whenever she needs their help.
One of the things I liked the most about Heart of Venom was that we learned more about the Deveraux sisters and how they came to be in Fletcher/Gin’s lives. Sophia’s past not only made me love her more but also after learning of what she has survived I can’t help it but feel a deep admiration for her for surviving, and for Jo-Jo for being there for her and understand and accept what Sophia needed when she needed it.
As with previous books Heart of Venom is action packed with fight scenes that will make you bite your nails and tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The villains are twisted and so well written that is impossible not to hate them and wish them a very slow and painful death under Gin’s professional hands. My only problem here is that for many books it’s say that Gin is a very strong elemental, one of the stronger ever to exist, but over and over her elemental magic gets overpower by others allegedly not that strong. This is something that I don’t understand, if she the strongest or isn’t she?
I know the question of the year about this book is Owen and Gin’s relationship. Did things get fixed between them or did they finally end it? The only thing I can say without giving spoilers away is that I don't hate Owen anymore, but still I don't love him as I did once. He hasn’t won me over, but he's on the right track.
I really liked Gin’s reaction to Owen’s words/actions. It shows the strong and smart woman she is.
Another thing that kind of bothered me in Heart of Venom was that Finn has come to play a second place in Gin’s life. He used to be her brother, partner and all around always in her life. Now sadly others have usurped that spot. I miss Finn and what he brought to the story; I can only hope this changes in future books.
Since the moment M.M. Monroe was mention couple of books ago we been waiting to learn more about him/her, sadly in this installment he/she is just mention in passing. What is said is worrying but we won’t know anything else until two books from now because next book in the series, The Spider, will be a prequel story about Gin’s first years and how she came to be the famous assassin The Spider.
I can honestly say that I liked Heart of Venom better than previous two books in the series. Heart of Venom made me remember why I loved this series that much. If you are a fan of this series this is a book you need to read. If you haven’t read this series this is not a book to start with, these books need to be read in order.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
Web of Lies
By A Thread
Heart of Venom (August 27th)
Other reviews Goodreads