Title: Poison Promise
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin (Book 11)
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
ISBN-10: 1476771502 (Pocket After Dark)
ISBN-13: 978-1476771502 (Pocket After Dark)
Reviewed by: Steph
In book eleven of her New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series, author Jennifer Estep continues “one of the best urban fantasy series going on the market” (Fresh Fiction).
Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.
There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…
Quick & Dirty: A new drug is on the streets of Ashland, and a dealer is starting to make problems for one of Gin’s waitresses. Naturally, Gin can’t let that continue, and her actions set into motion a series of events that will have Gin facing off with Ashland’s most notorious drug kingpin. Just another day in the life of the Spider…
Opening Sentence: “Someone has a birthday coming up.”
All I can say right now is I freaking love this series so much. I can’t even tell you why. It’s not like each book is unique. They’re not. There is a very simple formula to the plot of each one. And yet, each and every time, I find myself sucked into the world of Ashland and the story of the latest villain to try and take on the notorious assassin the Spider. This book was no different. I started it over my lunch hour, and by the end of that time period, I was 30% in and so hooked I wanted to take off the rest of the afternoon so I could just read. Again, I love this series.
Things are business as usual for Gin: running the Pork Pit, taking classes at the local college for fun, and dealing with the occasional thug who thinks he/she will be the one to finally take down the Spider. High on her list of worries right now is dealing with her foster brother Finn’s plans for a surprise birthday party for her. He always manages to do it, even though the “surprise” portion of the party always makes her want to reach for her knives. All in all, life is as calm as it’s ever going to get for Gin Blanco.
Then on her way to her car after class, Gin sees one of her waitresses being harassed by a drug dealer and two vampires. Turns out there’s a new drug on the streets known as Burn, and this guy’s wanting his ex-girlfriend to help spread the word around campus. She refuses, and the situation escalates from there. Gin’s not about to let someone she knows wind up hurt or dead, so she steps in, as only she can. After this event, Gin attracts the notice of Ashland’s most notorious drug kingpin, a vampire who can feed on emotions as well as blood, with devastating results. As tensions rise, it becomes clear that soon, only one of them is going to breathing soon. Will the Spider be able to come out on top again?
There’s not much I can say about Gin that I haven’t already said in my reviews of previous books in the series. Suffice to say, I love her as the main character. The first person narration gives the reader a great view of both the kickass side of her character, as well as the side that’s more vulnerable. There is also something about the way Gin’s voice is written that is just uniquely Gin to me. I always know when I’m reading an Elemental Assassin book, and that is a very good thing.
It’s probably best to read this book only if you’ve read the others in the series in order to fully connect to the various characters (and to be able to fully appreciate the significance of the ending). As with all Elemental Assassin books, there is a ton of action. Once the plot is set in motion, there’s no slowing down. The end is guaranteed to make fans of this series eager for more. I know I am!
“Siblings fight,” Owen said. “You know that. Eva and I have had some doozies over the years. We have always managed to find a way to get past it. You and Bria will too.”
I sighed and snuggled down deeper into the couch cushions.
“I do know that, all of that. But you should have seen Bria tonight. She was practically foaming at the mouth at the thought of using Catalina’s testimony against Benson. It reminded me of…”
Owen’s voice was gentle, but I still winced all the same.
“Bria’s a cop,” he said. “She’s just as tough as and strong as you are, and when she has a job to do, she doesn’t let anything get in her way. The two of you are eerily similar that way. Must be a Snow family trait.”
His teasing tone brought a ghost of a smile to my face, but it fled all too quickly, and my gray gaze drifted up to the fireplace mantel, where a series of framed drawings perched.
The runes of my family, dead and otherwise.
My mother Eira Snow’s snowflake, for icy calm. My older sister Annabella’s ivy vine, representing elegance. Their matching silverstone pendants draped over their respective drawings. The neon pig sign outside the Pork Pit that I’d drawn in honor of Fletcher. Owen’s hammer for strength, perseverance, and hard work. And finally, Bria’s primrose, symbolizing beauty.
“She’s always going to be my baby sister,” I replied, staring at the primrose drawing. “The one whose hair I used to brush while she drank invisible tea and chattered nonsense to her dolls.”
“I know,” Owen said. “But you can’t protect her forever, Gin. At some point, you have to let go.”
I didn’t want to let go. Because every time I did, I lost someone else I cared about. I’d watched my mom disappear in a ball of Mab’s elemental Fire. I’d let Annabella pound down the stairs at our house, and she’d been burned to ash by Mab too. I’d left Fletcher to go do a job as the Spider, which turned out to be a trap, and he’d been tortured to death in his own restaurant.
So no, I wasn’t letting go. I wasn’t losing Bria too because I’d stood by and failed to act. Even if I was still angry and hurt by all of her harsh words and actions tonight.
“Gin?” Owen asked.
“Yeah, you’re right,” I said, lying through my teeth. “I should let Bria handle this one.”
We talked for a few more minutes. Owen promised to come by the Pork Pit for lunch tomorrow, and I told him how much I appreciated him letting me vent. Then we hung up.
I tossed my phone down onto the coffee table, making the fork rattle on my empty plate. I stared at the fork, then at the runes on the mantel, then back at the fork.
What the hell. I went and got a third piece of cheesecake.
Elemental Assassin Series:
2. Web of Lies
5.5 Thread of Death
6. By A Thread
7. Widow’s Web
8. Deadly Sting
8.5 Kiss of Venom
10. The Spider
11. Poison Promise (July 22, 2014)
12. Black Widow (November 25, 2014)
FTC Advisory: Pocket/Simon and Schuster provided me with a copy of Poison Promise. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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