Got a fondness for giants, dwarves, elemental magic and badass heroines who are willing to kill to protect the people they love? If you do, you might already know about Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series, the fifth book of which, Spider’s Revenge, releases tomorrow.
The series features Gin Blanco, a.k.a. Genevieve Snow, a.k.a. The Spider. When Gin was thirteen, her mother and older sister were burned to death by a fire elemental who tortured Gin and branded Gin’s silverstone spider rune into the palms of her hands. Gin’s stone magic allowed her to survive as she literally brought the house down—and now she blames herself for killing her baby sister Bria in the collapse. She spent months living homeless on the streets before being taken in by Fletcher Lane, a.k.a. The Tin Man—one of the best assassins in the city of Ashland. He traines Gin to follow in his footsteps and acts as her handler.
While we wait for tomorrow—hurry up, tomorrow!—we’ve got details (i.e. SPOILERS) on the Elemental Assassin series thus far:
In the first book in the series, Spider’s Bite (2010), Gin decides to take one final, extremely lucrative assignment before retiring from the business. The hit goes south, and Fletcher Lane ends up dead, flayed alive by a sadistic air elemental. Gin seeks retribution for her handler’s death and ends up working with sexy Donovan Caine—the only honest cop in Ashland. Despite their intense attraction to each other, Donovan despises Gin for her profession. In the end, Gin murders the air elemental Alexis James who killed her foster father, and Caine covers up the murder for her, even if he still can’t accept who Gin is and what she’s done. Gin also receives a folder compiled by Fletcher on her family’s murder. Included in the file is a photograph of her baby sister Bria—alive and well and all grown up. The file also indicates that Mab Monroe—the city’s most frightening fire elemental, crime boss, and all-around scary chick—was probably the person who murdered her mother and older sister.
In the second book, Web of Lies (2010), Gin is retired, running Fletcher’s barbeque restaurant The Pork Pit, and trying to live a quiet life. Unfortunately, trouble has a way of finding her. First, Jake McAllister, the spoiled son of the city’s most corrupt lawyer, tries to rob her restaurant and kills two of her patrons. Gin has Jake McAllister arrested, and his daddy Jonah, who works for Mab Monroe, is not happy. At the same time, a greedy Dwarf named Tobias Dawson tries to kill a nineteen-year-old girl named Violet Fox, as well as her grandfather Warren T. Fox—one of Fletcher’s old friends. Dawson wants to mine the diamonds that live beneath the Foxes’ country store. Gin decides to kill Dawson before he can kill the Foxes. She poses as a hooker in order to infiltrate one of Mab Monroe’s elite parties, kills Jonah’s spoiled son Jake, and takes out Dawson as well. In the process, she nearly dies in a mine collapse that she caused, but she has a breakthrough with her ice magic. She thought it was much weaker than her stone magic, but it was merely blocked by the Silverstone runes branded into her palms. Her love interest Caine, who reluctantly helped Gin to kill Dawson, actually seems disappointed that Gin survived, and Gin’s heart is crushed, even if her body survived.
In the third book, Venom (2010), Gin’s relationship with Caine comes to an end once and for all. His morals can’t stand the fact that he’s attracted to an assassin, and he decides to leave town. He’s replaced by none other than Detective Bria Coolidge. Gin’s baby sister is all grown up, and she’s a cop—an honest one. Gin doesn’t have time for a happy reunion, however. She has to kill Mab Monroe’s head of security, Elliot Slater—a serial-killing, albino giant who’s become obsessed with a vamp named Roslyn. Gin and her foster brother Finn are friends with Roslyn and owe her a favor—namely, the death of Slater. He’s not easy to kill, however. He’s fast, smart and protected by a veritable army of giants. The only way to save Roslyn—not only from Slater but also from retribution by Mab Monroe—is for Gin to declare open war against Mab. After Gin slaughters Slater, she leaves her spider rune to light up the night sky. Now Mab knows exactly who her enemy is, and Bria knows that her sister is still alive—and a murderer. It’s not all bad news, though. Gin’s relationship with Owen Grayson, a wealthy businessman and metal elemental, is heating up, and he accepts her just the way she is—knives and all.
In the fourth book, Tangled Threads (2011), Mab hires an assassin named Elektra LaFleur to be her new head of security and to kill both Gin and Bria. Mab wants Bria dead because of an old prophecy, which claimed that the Snow sister who wielded both stone and ice magic would eventually kill the dangerous fire elemental. Mab thinks her enemy is Bria, but it’s really Gin, the Spider. Gin uses both her stone and ice magic—along with some new knives from her lover Owen—to kill LeFleur. In the process, though, Bria discovers the true identity of her sister, and she’s not happy. She loves her sister, but she doesn’t love the fact that she’s an assassin. She was raised by an honest cop in a loving family and doesn’t understand how Gin can be a cold-blooded killer. Nothing can sever their connection to each other, however. In a touching Christmas scene, the sisters forge a tentative peace.
In the fifth book, Spider’s Revenge, Gin has to protect herself and her sister from the bounty hunters that Mab Monroe has hired. Mab senses a real threat to her organization and her life, and she wants them both dead. Gin’s tough to kill, however, and she has her strong elemental magic on her side—in addition to a growing circle of loyal friends and associates. Will the sisters’ relationship deepen, and will Bria finally accept Gin’s past? Will Gin confess her love for Owen? Will Gin’s newfound family stay safe? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.
Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.