Title: Heart of Venom
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publication Year: 2013
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Source: E-book borrowed from the public library
From the cover:
When I say you’re a dead man, take that literally.
To me, killing people is like a day at the salon: cut and dry. Well, more like rinse and repeat when you moonlight as the assassin the Spider. But my last spa day ended redder than my freshly painted nails after a twisted Fire elemental and his goons kidnapped my close friend Sophia Deveraux and nearly killed her sister Jo-Jo in the process.
Up Ashland’s most dangerous mountains, and deep into the heart of its blackest woods — I’ll track these thugs no matter where they take Sophia. It doesn’t matter what kinds of elemental magic they try to throw at me, my Ice and Stone powers can take the heat and then some. I will get Sophia back, over their dead bodies.
Because anybody that hurts Gin Blanco’s family becomes a body.
(This is the ninth 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, and Kiss of Venom (novella).)
It’s been a long time coming, and there was a brief mention of it in an earlier book, but Heart of Venom finally allows us to see the trauma that Sophia went through to make her who she is, and the accompanying details of the beginning of her and Jo-Jo’s friendship with Fletcher.
The actions of the main villain were quite creepy, actually. Beyond just the appearance of “old west” cowboys – including production of moonshine – the way that he stalked and went after Sophia, and then tried to break her to his will, was just over the top obsessive. And his relationship with his sister was equally weird. It was just shudder-worthy all around.
I really loved the way that Gin and everyone else, including Warren, jumped in and handled things with their own brand of vengeance. Their love for Sophia shone through the page, as well as their love for Jo-Jo and each other. Everyone really came together in this one to push their abilities to the max to make sure everything worked out.
Heart of Venom was really more of an old-school gangster kind of book than anything else Gin’s been through before, but it worked. It was a fun read from beginning to end.