Series: Elemental Assassin 6
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books
Recommended By: Amber I. Awesomesauce Book Club
Genre: Urban Fantasy
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.
Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silver stone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.
I have to admit, BY A THREAD made me nervous because Mab’s arc was nothing short of epic and as it was wrapped up in Spider’s Revenge, I’m not sure how the heck Jennifer Estep is going to keep the excitement in the succeeding books. Lee and I have been speculating behind the scenes and the only way for us to satisfy our curiosity is to read BY A THREAD.
Elemental Assassin 6 is great and although I know that it won’t top Spider’s Revenge, at least it wasn’t a let down. The plot of BY A THREAD is a one-off and though I miss having a strong storyline like Mab’s, I’m still pleased with this follow-up. There’s still lots of action and fantastic duels but the main point for me is the romantic intrigue between Gin, her current boyfriend, Owen, and her ex, Donovan Caine.
1. So what’s your verdict? Do you like this one-book storyline or were you expecting/hoping/looking for an arc like Mab?
LEE: This is really the million dollar question, isn’t it? I have to say, for me, this book didn’t miss a beat. I think the villain was super creepy, scary, and unrelentingly strong. Just like Mab, it was unclear if Gin could take him which made the stakes incredibly high. You add to this all the personal drama – Donovan, Owen, and Bria – and I felt BY A THREAD was equally as strong and absorbing as the previous individual books. That being said, I do think it needs an overall arc and the question continues to persist…what’s next?
BRAINE: I have to say I have my doubts and although I know that BY A THREAD wouldn’t be as epic as Spider’s Revenge, I was happy that it was still a strong follow-up. I loved the duel between Gin and Randall Dekes because like you, I was doubtful of Gin’s success. Essentially Randall used Gin’s powers against her so really it’s her quick thinking that saved her once again. Overall, I love how JEstep is keeping us guessing and speculative about the direction of the series at this point.
2. I know how you feel about Caine and now I’ve come to realize what a total dick he is. I feel bad for Callie because she has WORK ahead of her knowing Caine is still hung up on Gin. What was going through your head in all his scenes with Gin? I was imagining a mad She-Wolf and I can’t help but chuckle while reading, I know you probably ripped Caine a new one.
LEE: I despised him in the earlier books and he annoyed me in BY A TRHEAD. I just cannot take his self-righteousness! I mean, seriously, you have angst and guilt and anger over your feelings for someone you shouldn’t love? Fine, but he doesn’t have to be such a douche! And his arrogance? The ARROGANCE of it all at the end! I love how Gin handled it. Owen is by far the better man. I hope Callie doesn’t get hurt and Donovan sure as hell doesn’t deserve her. Grrr….
Bahahaha! OMG! I’ll let you have it… why did you hold back, Lee?! I know your mini rant there barely scratched the surface!
3. Bria and Gin, what do you think about these two’s relationship?
LEE: I like it. It’s got its issues and I think Bria’s resentment was a little unfair but I appreciate the moment at the end when she and Gin come to an understanding. This relationship has a lot of potential to go so right or so very wrong, their emotions are so on the surface in a way that it’s exciting to see where it will go and how Gin will be impacted by it.
BRAINE: Yup, that honest conversation in the end was loaded. I felt like a huge thorn was removed from both Gin and Bria’s side because of that and I can tell they’re on their way to having an understanding of sorts. I was applauding Bria when she admitted her resentment towards Gin and how bad she felt after seeing herself in Caine, that takes a lot of humility to admit something like that.
4. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed it but aside from the recaps, there seems to be a formula in the books: Gin finds a target, Finn does the research, Jo-jo and Sophia help with the clean-up. I mean it works but I’m starting to look for a deviation from that. Thoughts?
LEE: Glad you brought this up. I would add to it “Gin underestimates target” since that seems to happen a lot. All I can say is “teamwork”? This is definitely a sort of formula for each book and while it doesn’t bother me per se, for example, each person has his or her own job, it would be nice to see something totally different. I will say in BY A THREAD, Gin did have to dispose of several bodies without Sophia’s assistance and that was new.
True, and I wonder why she’s still doubtful about herself after killing Mab. Although I know it’s prudent not to be cocky but she’s not The Spider for nothing. As for the formula, I’d like to see Gin without her team, that would be an interesting situation since her buddies always manage to save her just in the nick of time. I want JEstep to really push Gin outside the safety her “team” gives her.
5. What do you think of Gin’s character development so far? I don’t see a big change but I love how vulnerable she has become thanks to Bria, Owen and Fletcher’s death.
LEE: I feel like BY A THREAD marks a new start. A lot of the big character development happened in the previous books and in this one we see Gin sort of tie up a loose end (Donovan Caine) so I assume the next books will show Gin grow a bit more. And I have to admit that I peeked at the synopsis for the next in the series, Widow’s Web, and l am eagerly waiting our next discussion because I think DRAMA is heading our beloved Gin’s way!
By all intents and purposes, BY A THREAD
is indeed a new phase in the Elemental Assassin
series and I know that our little chit-chat is probably stale news to older fans of the series. And like you, I’m excited to see where the story’s going. Elemental Assassin
seems to be one of those rare series that still manages to surprise its audience after 10 books so I’m sure that we’re in for lots of drama, more action, menacing villains and plot twists that will leave both of our mouths hanging open. Now let’s talk offline bout Widow’s Web
Read my BY A THREAD Q&A with Lee at She-Wolf Reads.Click the cover arts to check out our previous Pack Reviews