Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

So, guess what? I signed up for the gym again this year and today was the first day I went to work out. I still don't like it at all, but I really need to move and do something as I've gained even more weight :( At least, this time, my sister signed-up with me... so hopefully, we'll be able to motivate each other.

Aside from that, nothing much is going on in my life. I was hoping to get this review up earlier, but now is not too late :) I hope you enjoy!!

By the way, who plans to wake up to watch the royal wedding? LOL, I know I won't, but apparently, my sister and mother are going to try :P


***Warning: There are spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!***

Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep
published by Simon & Schuster
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...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin series, Book #4

The Story: Tangled Threads takes place only a few weeks after the events of Venom in which the Spider, i.e. Gin, has declared war to Mab Monroe. As Ashland's underground lord, Mab is not about to let herself being threatened and has taken the necessary measures against Spider - hiring an assassin of her own, Elektra LaFleur. LaFleur fits right in Mab's crowd as not only is she good at killing people, but also enjoys it. However, the Spider is not the only name on LaFleur's list and when it comes to Bria, Gin's long-lost sister, all bets are off. Also, Gin continues to struggle whether to let Bria know of her identity, as both Genevieve and the Spider. As if she has not enough things on her plate to deal with, there is also this new relationship with Owen Grayson... the man who seems to accept who and what she is and is content...

My Opinion: Overall, as a fan of this series, I was satisfied after reading Tangled Threads. I think that Ms Estep did a good job and delivered a solid installment. However, as a reader, the more I thought about this book, the more I had issues with it ^_^; I'm not going to go too much into the details of the storylines or the characters because I've gone through it in the previous reviews :)

As a fan, I was satisfied because I enjoyed the story that was told; it was interesting, fast-paced, action-packed and a nice continuation from the previous events. I enjoyed the characters and their dilemmas, especially Gin. There's a lot going on in her life and she also has to worry about Bria and her new relationship with Owen. All in all, I liked how everything was handled and resolved. I liked seeing the familiar faces - Gin is having quite the entourage for an assassin :) I also liked that some light was shed on some issues - that's always nice. Also, I thought that Bria's reaction to Gin's identity was quite realistic and obviously, she'll need time to come to terms with it which I guess is what we'll see in the next book.

My favorite part of the book was without doubts the growing relationship between Gin and Owen. It bothers me a little that Gin is still so uncertain of Owen - especially since the man has been such a rock, but then it's only been a few weeks they've been together. I really like Owen and he's really what Gin needs. He doesn't condemn her and understand the path she's taken. I'm actually surprised though, I thought Owen was a bit darker and grimmer than he really is. In any case, it's a joy to see their relationship deepens.

All in all, I think that if you've enjoyed the series so far, you'll like Tangled Threads :) Ms Estep takes what has worked in the first three books and continues with it in Tangled Threads which explains why this is a good installment... At the same time, it's essentially where my first issue lies. There's nothing new to Tangled Threads. In the beginning, I felt that the writing style and the character were refreshing and original; however, after three books, they've become familiar. This is not a bad thing, familiar is good, but it also means that you have to compensate somewhere else and this is usually done through details or storylines. Unfortunately, there hasn't been many twists and surprises in the Elemental Assassin series. It seems to me, when Ms Estep sat down and thought of this series, she wrote down an outline of the main events that would happen and she's been sticking to that outline a bit too closely and too much to the point. And because of this, the series has become a tad too predictable. I mean, at the end of Web of Lies, when the new detective is mentioned, I knew right away it would be Bria. From the events in Venom, I knew that Bria would learn of Gin's identities in Tangled Threads... In the next book, I know that there will be a big show-down with Gin whose magic has grown so much and Mab. What I'm saying is that there's not enough subtlety in Ms Esptep's writing. If it's in the story, then there's a reason to it and from there, you can extrapolate and there's not a thousand possibilities ^_^; While it doesn't stop me from enjoying this series and Tangled Threads, I think it is holding back the storyline from being an absolute wowzer.

The other issue I had with Tangled Threads and this one with a lesser impact was the amount of recaps the book had. Gosh. I understand the need to remind the readers and inform the newcomers what has happened, but in this case, it was too much and simply bogged down the storyline and probably made the book thicker by 1/3 ^_^; Usually, main lines are fine but in Tangled Threads' case? It was every single event of importance from Spider's Bite to Venom: Fletcher's death, Gin's past, all the secondary characters, Donovan Caine, the previous books storylines, Gin's magic and so on. Really too much! Obviously, Tangled Threads cannot be read as a stand-alone and I'm sorry but for those who have short memory, well too bad for you!

My Grade: At first, after reading Tangled Threads, I was going to give it a B+. However, upon reflection and to be fair, it's really a B. I enjoyed Tangled Threads, there's no question about it; it was definitively a solid installment. Unfortunately, there are issues that cannot be overlooked and need to be rectified if the 5th and final book is going to be a wowzer.

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful review! I had the same issue as you with the amount of recap, at a certain point it made my lose my rhythm as a reader. Estep is also hinting at something between Bria and Finnegan, I love their interaction, so I wouldn't mind that ;)

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  2. I finally have the first book in this series, Nath. Finally! It looks solid at this point and although you had a few issues with this book, the series maintains. So... you know me, careful about beginning UF series, and this one is next. :D

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  3. Leontine - Actually, it's reading your review that reminded me how annoying the recaps were! So thank you, Leontine. I agree with you, it did slow the pacing at times.

    As for Bria and Finnegan, I'm looking forward to their relationship and wonder if this could be the spin-off Ms Estep has alluded to. She says that the Gin storyarc would be 5 books, but she wants to write more books in this world. My only issue is that the Bria and Finnegan coupling could be seen from a mile away ^_^; Still, I do love the pairing :P

    Hilcia - I really hope you enjoy it, Hils!! I do think you will though, because the storyline is really interesting :)

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  4. I reviewed the first three books in this series for The Book Binge and at first I didn't think I would like them. Actually, I loved them and am looking forward to and hoping to read this fourth novel in the series. Estep is one grand author and so far has kept both the story, the characters, and the tension consistent. Not an easy thing to do. Thanks for the very fine review.

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  5. I wouldn't mind a spin-off at all revolving around Finn and Bria, they're both fantasti characters :) You're right we can see the coupling a mile a way but as long as Ms. estep makes the journey an exhilirating one, I don't mind it :D

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  6. Dr J - I really enjoyed this series and at first, I thought it was different, especially since the heroine is an assassin. Overall, I think this is a really enjoyable series, but I still have a few quibbles :P

    Leontine - I'd like that too, LOL. I'd love to see how the relationship between the two would evolved :)

    And you're right, as long as Ms Estep keeps the journey fun and enjoyable, that all it matters... but it's also the hardest to do :P

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