Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jennifer Estep's Heart of Venom

Jennifer Estep presents her ninth novel starring Gin Blanco as an assassin with a heart of gold, although she has never killed anyone for money since the first novel several years ago.  In this one, Sophia is kidnapped by the same man who kidnapped her so many years ago and destroyed her voice.  Gin, who has taken on the Devereau sisters as her family, takes the kidnapping personally and involves her remaining friends and family in a rescue attempt.  For the first time, we learn about Sophia's back story, and it's a terrible one.  Her kidnapper is a violent, horrible Fire mage who fixated on Sophie from an early age and never has forgotten her.  But for his actions against her family, she vows he and his psychotic sister must die - and Gin always follows through on her promises.

I raced through this novel, especially appreciating that we finally get to see more about Sophie and her past. We have known since the first novel that something dark affected her years ago and several novels further in, we discovered that a Fire mage destroyed her voice by making her breathe in fire.  However, I was not prepared for how truly bad her experiences were.  Having been a victim of sexual abuse myself, I should have expected something similar to what she describes but not at such a young age as Sophia was.

To say that Gin is loyal to her friends and family is an understatement.  Gin is an atypical assassin.  As I mentioned before, she has not plied her assassin's trade for profit since the first novel; however, in this one, she would be rich given her body count.  Most of the kills are with her trusty knives, but she does do a blowout with her ice magic that wears her out.

Without giving away any spoilers, I was glad to see her reunited with one of the friends who seemed to have been out of sorts during the last few novels.  I loved the way he returned to accepting her as she truly is, blood and all.  I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to the next novel with great anticipation.

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