Kathy Davie's Reviews > Tangled Threads

Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep
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's review
Jul 03, 2011

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Read in June, 2011

Fourth in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that takes place in a contemporary, and extremely corrupt, Ashland somewhere in the South.

The Story
It seems Mab's a bit ticked off that Gin has been picking off Mab's men for a few weeks now always leaving her calling card, a spider rune. Mab has hired an equally talented assassin, Elektra LaFleur—the name says it all as to what LaFleur's elemental power is as well as giving a hint as to her particular calling card.

Mab has her suspicions and Roslyn and Xavier are at risk. As is anyone in Roslyn's employ, for Mab will stop at nothing to take out the Spider. There are too many whispers in Ashland's underworld. Whispers that are wondering if the time is ripe for a change in leadership.

Then there's that strike right out of left field. Fletcher.

The Characters
Methinks Gin doth protest too much. I'm getting rather tired of Gin's whining on and on about how cold, mean, and awful she is. Gin needs to get real in judging Caine's by-the-book, legal uprighteousness differently from Owen's own hardscrabble rise to power. Gin knows that Owen had it no better than she did. His parents were killed by Mab as well. She knows that he did questionable things in his own "self-improvement". Arghhh. Besides, how can she ignore the love and care she bestows on those around her??

I do love the whole magical culture that Estep has created. The details she includes about the runes…although she does go on and on about the runes a bit much. But I love Owen's hammer and Roslyn's heart. The snowflake, spider, and primrose of Gin's family. The description of Mab's fire rune definitely fires up my imagination. It would be fascinating to see it made up as a real pendant.

My Take
I think Estep is channeling Anita Blake into her main character…

I just love the Christmas gift that Gin gives Owen. Such a wealth of symbolism in it. One of the few bright notes in Tangled Threads. I must confess to being disappointed in this installment. Estep is just too clichéd in her scenarios. The previous three books were so great for their fresh approach; this story I predicted all the way down the line.

The way Gin carries on about how Owen can't possibly want to be around her, you'd think Owen had been reacting badly around her. Even a touch. Instead, he's just a really nice guy. Over and over and over again. I wish Estep had given us a little suspense about how Owen felt instead of making it a Wonder Bread romance with the only tension our having to read Gin whine. I mean, where does Gin get off comparing Owen to Donovan Caine. Caine was a cop. A honest, hard working cop. Why wouldn't he have issues with Gin's real job as an assassin? And Gin already knows that Owen has done some not-so-savory things in his struggle to survive.

Okay, I love this description of Northern Aggression being all "rich, elegant decadence" with its bamboo floors…huh? Kinda killed the mood of all the other decadence…the chocolate-dipped strawberries and trays of fresh oysters and chilled champagne. The description of the servers at Roslyn's club. The Ice Bar is a bit of furnishing that really gets my imagination going!

Oh lord, the Wiley Coyote description! Too funny! Then Estep goes and spoils it with the bland file left behind by Fletcher about his participation all those years ago. Gimme a break. A little suspense would'a been nice…

I just hope Spider's Revenge recaptures that freshness.

The Cover
The cover is perfect! Gin's weaponed up at the railyard. As for the title, yeah, there are definitely some tangled threads weaving their way through and around Gin's heart as she starts to let Owen in.

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