Sunday, August 18, 2013

*Early Review* Heart of Venom (Elemental Assassin, #9) by Jennifer Estep

With the release of Heart of Venom, we actually get to see a part of Jo-Jo and Sophia Deveraux's past that they don't normally talk about: Harley Grimes and the kidnapping and torture of Sophia. We knew that Sophia suffered at the hands of the Grimes causing her to have permanent problems with her voice (raspy voice) because Estep told us this whenever Sophia speaks!

What we didn't know about was how involved Gin's mentor Fletcher Lane was or who helped him rescue Sophia from Harley's captivity or where the Grimes have been all these years. Fate is sometimes a nasty mother in that once a nemesis is gone, there is no stopping the evil minded from once again going after something that they truly want. In this case, Harley really wants Sophia back and truly believes that nobody can stop him since he and his sister are bad-ass Fire Elementals like Gin's former nemesis Mab Monroe.

Good thing Gin (The Spider) is around to fix that perception once and for-all.

Sophia, aka the Goth Dwarf, has been a character that I've wondered about since the first time I picked up Spider's Bite and every book since. We know mostly about Jo-Jo because Gin, like Fletcher before her, uses the  Air Elemental Dwarf to heal from the numerous beatings and other injuries that she's suffered in the course of being the Spider. As a reader of the series, you know that Sophia is the head cook at the Pork Pit and we also know that she handles the body disposal duties for Gin whenever she kills yet another threat to her well being.

Once again, Estep shows the extent by which Gin will go through in order to protect and save her extended family from harm which includes her sister Bria, Finn Lane, Rosylyn Phillips, and of course, the Deveraux sisters. Her motto is more or less you mess with one of mine, I will tear the world apart in order to find a way to destroy you.

Whenever I read a book in this series, I continually think of the song "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" by Drowning Pool. The intensity of the fight scenes always leaves me on edge of my seat because more times than naught, Gin walks away dripping in blood and in need of some serious Jo-Jo time. There is a level of violence and viciousness that we've come to expect from Gin's foes. There is also a code of ethics that Gin has tried to maintain since becoming the Spider. You don't expect her to throw that out the window, but, there are times when exceptions must be made in order to save the ones you love.

As we get closer, and closer to the release of The Spider, Book #10 in the Elemental Assassin series, we get more information about how Gin became the assassin she is today. We get glimpses into her past and Heart of Venom is no exception to that. Since the story is about Sophia, the flashback also includes a pretty violent scene that includes both Sophia and Gin. I have come to enjoy the flashbacks because we get a more in-depth look into Gin's past. I can't wait until December to learn more.

Now the obvious questions will be thrown my way. Yes, but what about Gin and Owen? Didn't we not just have a novella told from Owen's point of view where we all said, whoa, could we be headed for a reconciliation of sorts between Gin and Owen? What about the mysterious M.M. Monroe who we know absolutely nothing about? Will this MM be yet another nemesis to Gin?

In response to the questions above I say to thee READ THE BOOK!!!! No, really, read the book and you will find out your answers.

Heart of Venom starts out with action and violence and doesn't let up. It ends with questions as to where the series goes from here and whose next on Gin's hit parade. It is obvious to me that Gin has yet another nemesis waiting off stage but how we get from point A to point B remains in the more than capable hands of Jennifer Estep.

Author - Jennifer Estep
Title - Heart of Venom
Publisher - Pocket Books
Releases - August 27, 2013
Genre - Urban Fantasy
EBook 384 pages

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