BLACK WIDOW: Just Because You’re Paranoid,… (Giveaway)

Black Widow


Black Widow CoverElemental Assassin Series Book #12
By Jennifer Estep
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
E-Book & Mass Media Paperback | 384 Pages,
Audio Book: Narration by Lauren Fortgang | 10 hrs and 17 mins
Simon and Schuster Nov. 25, 2014

Proof and or Finished copy provided by publisher, unsolicited, for review. No remuneration was exchanged. And, all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan.

With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.

The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.


My Take Oblong


When a character, or a person, has a  problem and the means to solve the problem I get annoyed.  I am starting to have this issue with Gin Blanco, AKA The Spider. She has really close friends, they almost all have money, none of them want the senseless violence they have to deal with, so why don’t they just move???

…They don’t all have to move at once.
…They can figure out a way to move their money.
…And, then they skedaddle.

Yeah, the area in which they all live is pretty, but it is also corrupt and it doesn’t sound like the rest of the world is quite as bad.

Gin, AKA The Spider, is the least of the evil magical creatures of Estep’s creation roaming the area in which this series occurs. But there are only so many excuses for reacting with violence, or for remaining in a violent situation when you do not have to. You can’t be the anti-heroine forever and stay sympathetic, the violence and corruption keep Gin  and friends in a stasis as far as relationships go, and Gin has good reason to be paranoid because nearly everyone actually is out to get her.  This story is partially about Gin’s apparent neuroses and attendant paranoia; is she justified or off the deep end?

The town goes back an forth on the evil-o-meter as does the main character; sometimes it feels like Gin is good and sometimes it feels like she is Tony Soprano. Seriously, this woman is a stone-cold killer.  She doesn’t steal, she is not corrupt, but she does kill without feeling guilt.

I’m not saying that Jennifer isn’t writing an excellent series with great characters and stories.  I have found few writers who  give such clear and perfect voice to their characters as Jennifer gives Gin, Finn and the rest.  And, even though it is written in the first-person it is not that camera-on-the-shoulder-present-tense I don’t like. Plus, Jennifer does it with a lot of skill.  I think it the story becoming stuck because of the situations of the characters.  So much that Jennifer seems to be recycling the characters to some degree;  or at least the arch-villain, Mab Munroe.

I would like to see how much “The Spider” really wants to retire by getting her the heck out of Ashland.  Would she and her friends stay clean or would they find trouble. Or, would it find them??

I say this entry in the series still works, but it is getting to the point where a major change has to happen: the magnetic poles keeping Ashland as the center of magic and baddies have to change, or Team Gin has to move along.  I don’t feel there’s much left to explore in this situation, but I would like to see all the idea of the assassin-for-good tested somewhere where everyone isn’t out to get her.



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Comments: You can comment as desired as 1ong as it is polite, relevant and MEANINGFUL. Unmeaningful comments will not count.
If you need an idea for commenting though how about:

Have you read this series?  How many of the books, are you behind, waiting for the series to finish before you start, caught up and waiting for the next book?
Who is you favorite character in the series and why?
How do you feel about the moral ambiguity of “The Spider?”
Why do we like antiheroes?

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