Title: Black Widow
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Source: E-book version purchased from Kobo
From the cover:
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 bull’s-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.
(This is the twelfth book in the Elemental Assassin series, after Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider’s Revenge, Thread of Death (novella), By A Thread, Widow’s Web, Deadly Sting, Kiss of Venom (novella), Heart of Venom, The Spider, and Poison Promise.)
Most of the villains in this series have relied on brute force and violence, and it’s been fun reading about Gin taking them all down. Mab’s daughter, Madeline, was introduced at the end of Poison Promise, and is the main villain in Black Widow. Unlike the other villains so far, Madeline doesn’t rely on straightforward attacks, instead coming at Gin and everyone else in a more sneaky, backhanded way.
Even while I was agreeing with Gin’s curses aimed in Madeline’s direction, I was enjoying the conflict. Estep did a fantastic job crafting the tangled web of tricks that Madeline put into place to try to get rid of Gin. It wasn’t the same kind of thing Gin usually faces, where she can just hack and slash her way out of everything.
Rather, there was more strategy and sneakiness going on in Black Widow than in the rest of the series combined. And now it’s got me seriously looking forward to the next book, even though this one was just released.