Heart of Venom: Pretty much the same

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsHeart of Venom by Jennifer Estep urban fantasy audiobook reviewsHeart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Heart of Venom is the ninth book in Jennifer Estep’s very popular ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. I skipped it a while back because I’m not crazy about this series and I didn’t want to purchase it. I had the later volumes and went on. (I’ve only continued to read ELEMENTAL ASSASIN because I already owned most of the books and I wanted to report on it for FanLit.) However, a copy of Heart of Venom fell in my lap recently, so I read it. I feel the same way about it as I do about all the other books in this series, so I’ll be brief here.

Gin’s friend Sophia (the goth dwarf) is kidnapped by the man who tortured her many years ago. Gin must get her back because she has a hero complex — she sees it as her job to protect everyone she loves. So instead of asking her sister Bria, a top cop in the Ashland police force, to call in her troops to raid the bad guy’s backwoods compound, which he’s styled in a kind of Old West theme, Gin decides to go it alone. (I really can’t figure out why Bria never calls in the cops.) But of course her friends won’t let her do this alone and some of them show up to help, including Owen, her ex-boyfriend who came off looking like a real dick in the last book. Interspersed in the story are flashbacks in which Gin shows us her earlier relationship with Sophia. (These flashbacks have now become part of Estep’s usual technique in the last few books.)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsFans of the series (of which there are many) will enjoy getting to know Sophia better and they’ll be extremely happy that Estep fixes the problem of Owen’s recent assholery. Other than that, though, Heart of Venom is pretty much the same as all the other ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN books. We’ve got Gin exhibiting her mother-hen tendencies by cooking huge meals for her friends and brooding about her inability to keep everyone safe. Finn worries about getting blood on his wardrobe and car. The villain is a cliché — an Old West outlaw type, this time. The sex is predictable and boring. The prose is uninspired and repetitive. The story is simply a narrative about how Gin kicks ass and there’s no beauty, humor, or thoughtfulness to it.

Lauren Fortgang continues to do a brilliant job with the narration of the audiobook versions. Her voices are completely convincing and I like her performances a lot better than I like the stories. But as much as I admire the audio versions, I think I really am done with this series now. I’d be happy to try something else by Estep, but I’m just tired of the repetitiveness of this series.

Elemental Assassin — (2010- ) Publisher: “My name is Gin, and I kill people.” My name is Gin Blanco. They call me the Spider — the most feared assassin in the South (and a part-time cook at the Pork Pit BBQ joint.) As a Stone elemental, I can hear the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet and feel the vibrations of the soaring mountains above me, though I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride. After a ruthless Air elemental double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way. I may look hot in a miniskirt, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble when irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine agrees to help. The last thing a coldhearted killer needs when she’s battling a magic more powerful than her own is a sexy distraction… especially when he wants her dead just as much as the enemy.

Jennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. VenomJennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. VenomJennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. VenomJennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. Venom 4. Tangled ThreadsJennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. Venom 4. Tangled Threads 5. Spider's RevengeJennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. Venom 4. Tangled Threads 5. Spider's Revenge 6. Thread of Death (novella) 7. By a ThreadJennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. Venom 4. Tangled Threads 5. Spider's Revenge, Thread of Death (novella) 6. By a Thread 8. Widow's Webfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsVenom in the Veins: An Elemental Assassin Book Kindle Edition by Jennifer Estep (Author)

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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