Thursday, April 19, 2012

By A Thread Review

Title: By A Thread
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #6
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Elemental Magic, Assasins, Vampires, Giants, Dwarves

I was surprise after I learned that Jennifer Estep released the her first official novella of the Elemental Assassin series which the story took place days after the final events of  Spider's Revenge. I considered Threads of Death to be somewhat of a "prequel" to a second arc of story in the series since Gin still has to deal with Jonah McAllister. 

Upon reading By A Thread there are still the 'patterns' similar to the previous books (the first chapter fight scenes, a lot of "coincidences" and of course the signature Gin Blanco phrase "Sloppy, Sloppy Sloppy"). 

[Note: spoiler alert!]

Despite these annoying 'patterns', the story is interesting as Gin decided to take a long vacation from away from Ashland, away from the daily annoyance of criminals trying to take her out because she is the "the Spider". Upon learning of Gin's decision of getting a vacation, Bria Coolidge suggested that they should go to Blue Marsh as she was dying to visit the place on where she grow up and also visit her best friend Callie Reyes.

Upon arriving to Callie's restaurant, trouble seems to follow Gin there also with the arrival of two goons, a giant and a human who work for a wealthy vampire named Randall Dekes. It was later learned that Dekes was trying to buy Callie's property to construct his new Casino. The scene was similar to what happened in Web of Lies when a wealthy miner tries to harass the land owner Warren T. Fox on selling his land for mineral rights to the land. With that development, Gin (good heart as always) decided to help Callie since she's Bria's best frien (and she will always help Bria no matter what), another Pro Bono work for Gin (no surprise here).

But the biggest surprise of all  is that Callie's fiance' is no other than detective Donovan Caine (the very person who broke Gin's heart during the earlier parts of the series) which created some conflicts between the two since Caine is unwilling to allow Gin to help Callie because of their past issues.

Things went bad to worse when the same men they subdue on the restaurant hunted them down in their hotel to the chagrin of Gin as she was a able to eliminate the threat with ease and decided to dump the bodies in the pool of the hotel and checked out to a beach house which Gin booked early under an alias.

Gin and company (now includes Finn and Owen who came over to help them) plan to kill Randall Dekes during a press conference held on Dekes' estate. The plan failed as Dekes has already know who Gin was and held captive and was drain of her elemental powers when Dekes sucked her blood on her neck. Desperate to survive, Gin used the ice elemental magic on her ring to render herself cold like a corpse to trick Dekes and his wife Vanessa  that she was dead as was later thrown out into the marsh. Although half-dead and all, she was able to return to the beach house and was able to heal her wound thanks to Jojo Deveraux. (If you can recall  this scene is similar to the time when Gin fought Elektra LaFleur for the first time.)

Regrouped and recovered Gin and company plan their next attack when they where greeted by a bad news when Donovan Caine came to the beach house informing them that Callie was kidnapped by Dekes' giants and has taken her to his estate.

Gin and company (Finn, Owen, Sophia, Bria and Donovan Caine) stage their final assault on Dekes' estate inorder to rescue Callie, Vanessa and her sister from the clutches of the vampire. The final battle scene was a bit favorable as Gin use Owen's staff to absord Deke's elemental attack draining him of his powers. With Dekes powerless, Vanessa then set him on fire using her Fire Elemental powers and Gin did the coup de grace by sticking the silver stone knife into his heart.

On the relationship side of things another issue was resolve Donovan Caine reveal that he still loves Gin but turned him down (payback for what he did before) and tell him that he should be happy to be with Callie.

And finally Gin was able to open up to his sister that she is free to follow what she want in life because "she will always be the assassin - the Spider" unloading her frustrations between them. Bria the confesses that she realize that family goes first despite their conflicting principles. With this development the sisters finally resolve their personal issues and travel back to Ashland on Finn's convertible.

I commend the author's take on this story as the change of scenery was a great idea yet keeping things in perspective. By A Thread was not short of action (literal and sexual) and I am excited for the upcoming book entitled Widow's Web.
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