“I did it,” the guy finally said. “I did it! I killed the Spider! Woo-hoo!”
Okay, I thought the woo-hoo at the end was a little much, but I let the giant enjoy his moment of victory.
It was going to be the last thing he ever enjoyed.
Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep
Summary: An evil from Sophia’s, Gin’s dear friend, past has shown up and caused havoc. Gin is to the rescue, to try to save the family she has and keep them as close to her as possible. Can she stay alive long enough to resolve her issues with Owen? Can she keep her family and friends alive?
Review: The Elemental Assassin series is in my top 6. And this book had the potential to be the best book in the series. Rather, it turned out to be my least favorite.
As usual, the magical elements and the violent elements were top notch. Just when you think Estep can’t make the violence bloodier and more gruesome, she does. Unlike most urban fantasy novels, Estep doesn’t shove the supernatural elements down your face. Rather, In a world where humans have magical abilities based on the four elements (ice, stone, fire, and air), and other random supernaturals roam freely, the magical elements are always subtle and are dealt with careful craft. Human firepower and magic are just as powerful as each other.
I am glad we got the story of Sophia’s past. The past was horrifying and heart tearing. Sophia lived through torture of not one, but two serial killers. She was raped, put on fire, beaten, and everything terrible that can be imaginable. Again, I am impressed by our author’s ability to subtly send us a message, without grossing us out. The violence was, in general, upped in this book not just from the abusers, but also Gin’s tactics. We see a much crueler side to her.
And, Owen and Gin’s relationship got resolved, one way or another. (Highlight to read spoiler) Yay! I am happy about their reunion, yet I was left with the feeling of, “that’s it?” A lot of Owen’s speech was nothing new. We heard a lot of it already in Deadly Sting, and also if you read Owen’s novella, Kiss of Venom, in that one also. I think Gin’s reaction was consistent to her character, as was their reunion. Yet the original spark of their relationship didn’t feel reignited in this book. Not sure why.
And to be honest, other than the short bursts of abuse we saw at the hands of the villains, The whole book felt a bit, incomplete; almost like a novella. I wanted to see more emotion from Gin and Owen, more action from her friends and family, even more of a story from Sophia. I really wanted to see more of Jo-Jo’s emotions regarding the whole situation, but after Gin came back empty handed, she seemed almost normal.
I am most disappointed by the deteriorating of Finn and his relationship with Gin. Finn shows up less and less in books, and he barely gets any recognition for being her right hand man, her brother. He has been more of a sibling to her than Bria has, yet she crows on and on about Bria. What about Finn? We fans LOVE FINN!
I thought this book had so much potential to be the best in the series, and I was disappointed in it. Still, ignore my harping, because it was a pretty good book. In a series where I rated all the books so far 4-5, this is still a winner. And for those who are fans of this series, you should at least read this for continuation of the Gin/Owen drama.
Sex: kissing, sex scene
Violence: A lot of violence, and torture.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Next Book: The Spider, out this Christmas Eve 2013. It’s a Prequel to the whole series. I was a little disappointed it wasn’t a new story, but then I read the teaser chapter. Now I’m intrigued.