September 24, 2013

Pack Review: Venom by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin 3
Format: Mobi
Eelease Date: September 28, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Books
Recommended by: Amber I.
Source: Awesomesauce Book Club
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most.

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists.

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.
I'm getting fonder and fonder of buddy reads, I've been reading Elemental Assassin with my dear She-Wolf, Lee, and though we are so behind the series, experiencing Jennifer Estep's world and writing with her is such a blast! 

Here's half of our new reading enterprise we call

Plot and Conflict

SHE-WOLF READS:  Gin Blanco is back!  And I just have to say that this series keeps getting better and better.  VENOM, the third book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, didn’t let me down in terms of the action, the intrigue, and the romance. As usual there are two storylines that feed into each other in a very tightly knit, well-paced plot. One is the overall story arc of Gin and her quest to revenge her family’s murder and the other is the abuse and victimization of Roslyn Phillips by Elliot Slater.  Gin takes on the challenge of helping Roslyn against Slater. The fact that she’ll have to get rid of Mab’s right hand man in the process, well, that’s just a perk. I think what I found most exciting about VENOM was the development in the overall storyline. Estep provides enough answers to satisfy curiosity while also giving readers new developments that whet your appetite for Gin’s ultimate vengeance. One of the complications Estep throws Gin’s way is a new member of the Ashland police force who brings Gin’s past right into her present. I am so looking forward to seeing how this relationship plays out – it’s complex and has the potential to be either devastating or life-affirming for Gin.  Estep also gets Gin to make a major move against Mab, and, at the end of VENOM, I thought to myself, sh*t just got real.

BRAINE: Perfectly put, Lee! I am loving how with each book we get to know the other players in the series. Roslyn has been a recurring character and we know that her life as a Madame isn’t easy and VENOM really depicted the ugly side of her life. I would think she’d have more clout being the secret keeper of sorts of Ashland’s thugs but obviously she’s powerless like the rest of the town’s residents. As for the surprise character, my jaw dropped and I got so excited and couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got to that part! I started VENOM late into the night and I was so tempted to pull an all-nighter just to see if it’ll lead to confessions and revelations.
Favorite Quotes“I’m just wondering how exactly I went from being the Spider to the Robin fucking Hood of the greater Ashland area.  Three months ago, I was killing people for money.  Lots of money.  Buckets of it.  Now, tell me a good sob story instead and I’ll take care of your problems for free.  Instead of stealing from the rich, I’m stabbing them to death for the poor.” - Lee, She-Wolf Reads

“I didn’t kill people because it brough me any great pleasure. I did it because it was a job that I happened to excel at.” - Braine, Talk Supe

“I’d never killed anyone with a paddlewheel before. I might not officially be the Spider anymore, but I was always on the lookout for new experiences – and new skills to add to my deadly repertoire.” - Braine, Talk Supe

Final Verdict

SHE-WOLF READS:  VENOM was a great book, another solid addition to an urban fantasy series that is quickly clearing some space out on my Favorite’s Shelf.  Gin Blanco defines the urban fantasy heroine – smart, tough, vulnerable (though she won’t admit it), and hell bent on a righteous vengeance. Estep populated Gin’s world with equally fascinating secondary characters, and she created a series story arc that is ripe with dramatic potential. The only issue I have is that some of the writing still has the tendency to get repetitious but that is now a minor gripe, one that has waned over the course of three books. This is a great series.  Do yourself a favor and start it.

BRAINE: Amen, sister! When I was checking the book details VENOM is close to 400 pages and it seriously didn’t feel that long. It was a breeze reading Elemental Assassin 3 and if not for my book tours and all that, I could seriously binge on the series. But the best part I guess is it doesn’t look like the series will lose momentum or have “filler” novels like others. It’s solid, packed with action, mysteries piled on each other, a fantastical Urban Fantasy series through and through.



  1. I'm loving this whole buddy review thing you guys are doing! I haven't tried Jennifer Estep yet since I've only started reading the Adult Paranormal/Urban Fantasy genre (which I'm loving, btw) but from the raving review I see that I must.

    A female assassin sounds fascinating and from the quotes you guys shared Gin Blanco sounds awesome.

    1. You'll love this series.

      We should do a buddy review one of these days too! I'm not a big fangirl so reading with someone brings that out in me a little bit

  2. I've been hearing so many great things about this series! I need to catch up on some of the UF series I've started, but when I'm able I'm definitely adding this series to the pile!

    1. Do that! If not for my book tours, I could easily binge on this series.

  3. I love this series and even though I only read the first book in the series. Gin has got to be one of the best heroines I've read thus far. Complete & total bad ass.

    1. We're doing book 4 next, we'd love to have you join the read along when you're able to catch up. Doing this is so much fun!

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