I’ve read all of Jennifer Estep’s novels and am particularly fond of her Elemental Assassin series. A lot of times series start to get old and a bit contrived by the fourth book, not this one. Jennifer has planned out this storyline so well that I can see it continuing for many novels to come – at least I really hope that’s the plan.
The Elemental Assassin series is set in Ashland, an alternative-universe metropolis in the Blue Ridge Mountains where North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee meet. That alone intrigued me since I grew up in that area. I’m sure it played a role in my picking up the first novel but what has kept me coming back for more is the story and the characters.
If you haven’t read the first three books, I believe you could still read Tangled Threads and then go back to the first three if you like the characters as much as I do. You need to know that it’s a chronological series, and I always try to read those in order, but Jennifer has recapped just enough background info in Tangled Threads so new readers won’t be lost like they might with some other chronological series. The main thing you need to know about this alternative universe is that it contains people with elemental powers.
“Elementals were people who could control and manipulate one of the four elements – Air, Fire, Ice and Stone…Metal was an offshoot of Stone, and electricity was one of Air.”
One thing I particularly like about each novel in this series is that each reveals a bit more about Gin Blanco (Genevieve Snow), the main character, who is a top-level semi-retired assassin known as The Spider. Gin is a character with a lot of depth – oh, and she kicks some serious butt!
When Tangled Threads opens, only a couple of weeks have passed since Gin, a rare combination Stone and Ice elemental, rescued her friend Roslyn Phillips from Elliott Slater and sent him to wherever nasty giants go when they die a well-deserved death. Roslyn had run afoul of Mab Monroe, an extremely powerful Fire elemental who controls much of Ashland and who murdered Gin’s family. That Slater, Mab’s chief enforcer, hadn’t succeeded in killing Roslyn or the Spider really ticked Mab off big time.
Roslyn’s kidnapping and torture were the last straw for Gin, who is even more determined to see Mab destroyed as quickly as possible. Being semi-retired as an assassin doesn’t seem to keep Gin from going after trouble, as she continues to methodically knock off Mab’s giant henchmen one, two, three or sometimes four at a time. To say she’s getting under Mab’s skin would be a gross understatement.
Mab’s solution is to hire LaFleur, a talented electricity elemental assassin, to rid her of this Spider thorn in her side once and for all. Gin is alerted to LaFleur’s presence in Ashland when she sees LaFleur electrocute a dwarf down by the Southtown docks. It’s not hard for her to figure out why LaFleur is in town or who’s behind it. Luckily Mab and LaFleur have no idea Gin and The Spider are the same person. They think Gin is just the non-elemental owner of The Pork Pit, a great little barbeque joint downtown. When Gin realizes the Ice elemental bartender at Rosslyn’s bar, Northern Aggression, may have set her up, the plot thickens and the really fun reading begins.
“..my foster brother was right. It was time to get on with things. The sooner we squeezed Vinnie for info, the sooner I could start planning how to find and take out LaFleur – before she found me first.”
Several themes have been running through the Elemental Assassin series. Will any of those themes be resolved in Tangled Threads? Well I’m certainly not going to tell you! That would spoil everything! Here are some questions to consider:
1. Will Bria figure out that Gin is her sister or will Gin continue to keep her at arm’s length for Bria’s safety and out of fear of rejection?
2. Does Fletcher Lane, her father figure and trainer, have a secret Gin doesn’t know about?
3. Will Gin allow Owen to get even remotely closer to her or will her inability to let anyone inside her carefully constructed walls ruin their fledgling relationship?
4. Will Mab and Gin finally do their version of an elemental Mexican standoff?
5. Last, and just for the fun of it – Will Sophia, the dwarf who works at the Pork Pitt, wear anything other than Goth? We know the answer to that last one is a big fat no, as witnessed by the Goth Santa hat she dons in Tangled Threads…okay that was a small spoiler but I couldn’t resist because Sophia is so much fun.
I know you’re going to enjoy reading Tangled Threads! And to make it even better, we’re giving away a copy to one lucky reader! (See below for details)
Tangled Threads Book Giveaway!
This Giveaway has ended – the winner is LorettaLynn!
Here’s Giveaway #5 during the May Popcorn Reads Giveaway Week! A huge thank you goes to Jennifer Estep for graciously providing a copy of her latest book, Tangled Threads, for one lucky reader to win!
All you have to do is comment. Comment about the review, Jennifer Estep, Fantasy & Supernatural fiction, any of Jennifer’s novels, the Blue Ridge mountains, the Appalachian mountains, any of the creatures or characters mentioned, assassins, the elements, secrets, power – basically whatever you think could be related. Be outrageous – Have fun with it!
All comments must be submitted before Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 11pm PDST. Your chances of winning depend on the number of comments made, so go for it on the comments! You can comment every day until the date/time limit is reached, so don’t think you’re limited to your number of comments. Each comment counts as 1 entry. If you want this book, you can win it so go for it!
One winner will be chosen at random from all comments submitted and from a list of all Email Club members* who had joined by Sunday, May 15, 2011, at midnight PDST. *Email Club members only get the equivalent of 1 comment (one entry) in addition to any comments made below.
The winner will be chosen by a stranger who picks the name out of a hat filled with everyone’s names/email monikers. (If you leave 5 comments, for example, your name/email moniker will be in the hat 5 times.) We’ll announce the winner on Monday, May 23, 2011. Good luck! Whoever wins this is in for a great popcorn read!
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