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Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep
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Widow's Web
3.5 Stars

Despite her retirement from the assassins business, Gin Blanco is still forced to deal with the numerous lowlife thugs gunning for her. But they pale in comparison to the newest threat, Salina DuBois, a powerful water elemental who has her sights set, not only on taking out her underworld competition, but on Gin's lover, Owen Grayson, with whom she shares an intimate past. Can Gin untangle the wicked web woven by this deadly widow?

***Warning***: Minor spoilers ahead!

To sum up in one sentence: Not as terrible as I had expected, lol!

After a long hiatus (mainly due to the knowledge that Owen's character was about to turn into a dickhead), I have returned to the captivating world of Estep's Elemental Assassin series.

While not unexpected, Owen's blind devotion and inability to see past Salina sweet southern belle routine even when confronted with the truth of her machinations and manipulations is exceedingly disappointing and not a little annoying. Where is the man whose unequivocal love and acceptance of Gin made him such an awesome character? At least there is no cheating, which would have been a total deal breaker!

That said, by the end of the book, Estep manages, if not to completely redeem Owen, at least to present his side of events in a more favorable light and his decision to distance himself from Gin until he can come to terms with his feelings is understandable given the circumstances. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to come to his senses and there should be some absolutely fantastic groveling in his and Gin's future.

With regard to Salina, she is a dangerous and despicable villain yet the contradictions in her characterization are problematic. On the one hand, she is obviously a sociopath with narcissistic tendencies, but there are also indications that the traumas she suffered have turned her into a monster. This creates unnecessary moral ambiguity that undermines Gin's perspective.

The rest of the plot takes a back seat to the personal angst, but is, nevertheless, action packed and exciting. Estep's imaginative world of elemental powers and underworld conflicts is exceptional, and the introduction of several new characters adds new directions for the books to go in. One character in particular, Philip Kincaid is very appealing and it will be fun seeing what happens next.

Estep's writing has also improved and there is far less repetition of phrases and recapping of previous events.

In sum, while not the best book in the series, Widow's Web is a strong installment for its detailed world building, ongoing character development and improved writing. Looking forward to continuing and no more long breaks for me! ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
I have read quite a few reviews that think this book is really bad. I do not really agree with that. I have also read quite a few reviews that say Owen is an asshole. I do not agree with that either. He is incredibly stupid but not an asshole.

Having said that, personally I do think that this was one of the weaker, if not the weakest, book in the series so far and I have to admit that Owen had a lot to do with that.

Gin is back in Ashton fending of low-life coming to The Pork Pit thinking that they can take her out. Actually this starts to become laughable now. These idiots must have a dedicated queue at the gates of hell by now given how many she has disposed of. I would have thought that we would either run out or they would learn what a bad idea this is.

Anyway, things start to heat up when Salina turns up and Owen’s brain turns into mush. As I said, Owen is not an asshole but really really stupid. In the beginning it might be somewhat understandable but after Gin and another two of Owen’s old acquaintances have proven what a despicable character Salina is he still behaves very stupidly. Kindly but stupidly. This entire business with Owen and Salina and the impact it has on Gin’s and Owen’s relationship is really not very fun and drags the book down. Some people seem to think that their relationship is ruined but, quite frankly, I do not understand where people get these die-hard judgments from? It might be ruined but I think that is far from clear from the book. Actually, I think there were several indices that it might not be.

Otherwise the book was not too unlike previous books. There was a good fight somewhere around the middle as there always is and Gin got fairly much clobbered as usual. This time the fight was forced on here though instead of the usual amateurish first attempt to kill her target as we have been treated with in most of the other books. This is one thing that starts, or maybe I should say continues, to bug me though. Gin is supposedly sooo powerful, or at least being told that, and have taken out the most powerful fire elemental born in 500 years but yet she is always weaker, often a lot, than her main opponents. It would be nice to read about Gin giving the baddies a surprise and slapping them around for once.

In the end the baddies are taken down as usual even though the ending is not entirely a happy one due to this unnecessary mess the author have created between Gin and Owen. I definitely did not like that part. Otherwise the book is an enjoyable one in much the same style as previous books in the series and Gin also made a new friend that could be quite interesting in future books.
( )
  perjonsson | Oct 28, 2017 |

A bit repetitive at times

Gin has memories come to light about assignments she went on with Fletcher
Gin definitely has some insecurities she has to deal with after she meets Salina
Salina is pretty damn awful
I wanted to knock Owen upside his head and tell him to open his freaking eyes
We get to meet Cooper, the man who trained Owen in metal work
We also get more information on Philip Kincaid
There are ties between Philip, Owen and Eva
Tons of mind games, and little ass-kicking

( )
  BookishThings | Mar 23, 2016 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. I wasn't feeling the storyline in the end. It didn't feel true to the characters. Since when is Owen so blind? It just seemed hollow to me.

I still love the series but this book is my least favorite so far. I can only hope the next book gets things back on track.
( )
1 vote grapeapril75 | Oct 18, 2014 |
Actual Rating: 3.5/5 stars

“For a moment, I almost felt sorry for her. Then the bitch blasted me with her water magic, and I got over it.”

Haha Gin. I liked how we see Gin as a person who has to make decisions and like everybody, she commits mistakes.

Oh my freaking cow. Owen. Ugh. Sorry. I don't know what to say. He's such a fool. (Sorry Owen for kicking you when you're already down.) Ugh :( no. I've read spoilers about this but to read it for myself, so disappointing.

Aw. Bria and Roslyn. They're like Gin's girl friends. I liked the book club idea of comfort. I myself will surely be lifted up by that. I should try that out with my friends.

Hmm. Enough said. ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Estep, JenniferAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fortgang, LaurenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don't need another problem, but a new one has come to town anyway. Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she's really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she's back, she thinks he's hers for the taking. Salina's playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I'm going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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