Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin #4) by Jennifer Estep
I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.
But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past-or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur-or die trying-because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . .
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Amazing. That’s the only word that comes to mind when trying to sum up Tangled Threads. Well, not the only one, as you’ll see in my (positive) adjective-ridden post. But “amazing” does a pretty good job of describing how I feel about Gin Blanco’s fourth foray. The action scenes are fast-paced and well described, Gin’s continuing romance with Owen is thoughtfully explored, as is her relationship with her sister Bria (or lack thereof), and I was so excited to learn more about Gin’s magic, particularly her newly-freed Ice magic.
I was particularly taken by how Jennifer Estep portrayed Gin in this romantic relationship with Owen. Burned by Donovan Caine’s inability to accept his feelings for an assassin he’d sworn to catch, Gin has a lot of trouble with her feelings for Owen, who cares for her and is wholly aware of her life as the Spider. Gin’s full of doubts and I love how Owen is worming his way into her heart. I also think Owen’s a great character in his own right and there’s a scene in Tangled Threads in which he discusses his relationship with Gin with his sister, Eva, that’s quite charming and endearing. Plus, having the novel set around Christmastime forces Gin to agonize over gifts, which was hilarious and awesome.
Tangled Threads also shows how far Gin has grown since Spider’s Bite. Even though only a few months have passed since the start of Spider’s Bite, Gin’s become more compassionate, both toward strangers or acquaintances and also toward her loved ones. This, of course, raises the stakes in her quest to kill Mab Monroe, which is fantastic, but it also gives Gin even more dimension. After all, she remains an extremely effective assassin whose family has grown from just Jo-Jo, Finn, Fletcher, and Sophia in the first book, basically doubling in size with the inclusion of Owen and Eva and a handful of others. Gin also reveals herself to Bria in this novel, which causes a lot of tension and drama.
Another way in which Jennifer Estep increases the tension and drama? By making LaFleur just as deadly as Gin, but with a psychopathic twist. And the ability to electrocute people. It’s thrilling to see Gin face down an opponent she thinks she might not beat, to see her deal with a true challenge. A bit of adversity goes a long way in a story and a lot of adversity just makes it better in my opinion. I think the author might feel the same way from the manner in which Gin gets abused in Tangled Threads. However, the bad moments are nicely balanced with lovely scenes between Gin and Owen and Gin and Bria, and I can’t wait for Spider’s Revenge!
Book #4 in Dark Faerie Tales’ urban fantasy challenge for this year.