Heart of Venom (Elemental Assassin #9)
Published: August 27, 2013 (Pocket Books)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference events from previous books in the series. If you haven’t started the Elemental Assassin novels, start with our review of Spider’s Bite.
I’ll admit I’m impressed with how Jennifer Estep has been able to continue the story past the death of Mab Monroe. Mab’s story arc filled the first five books of the series and here we are on book nine and, for me, the series has remained strong. With Mab out of the way, Estep has gotten a little more room to dig into the other characters a bit.
In Heart of Venom we learn a lot about Sophia’s past. Many years ago, Sophia was kidnapped by brother and sister team Harley and Hazel Grimes. She was put through unspeakable torments. They are the reason why Sophia’s voice is the way it is. Back then, Fletcher rescued and protected Sophia from Grimes. Now that Fletcher’s dead Grimes decides it’s time to come back and claim Sophia again. Only this time she has The Spider on her side, and Gin will stop at nothing to keep Grimes from hurting Sophia again.
Estep has been pretty consistent with successfully creating new bad guys for Gin to battle. Harley and his sister Hazel are both really strong fire elementals, and they’ve both been in the killing game for a number of years now. He wants a strong woman and years ago he decided that Sophia was the only one who could handle him. Grimes is made all the more scarier with his blind determination to possess Sophia. There’s no other purpose besides the fact that he just wants her. He lost her once and now he wants back what was taken from him.
I liked getting the full story of Sophia’s trauma and getting to see a different side of her. She hasn’t always had the quiet Goth persona she has now, and Grimes’ previous attack on her changed her forever.
We do get more regarding the Gin/Owen relationship. If you’re like me, you were devastated by the events in Widow’s Web when Owen broke up with Gin. Things seemed to get a little better in Deadly Sting, but Owen still had his issues to work through. By that point, however, I was coming to terms with their break-up.
It gave Estep a chance to explore a more vulnerable side of Gin. A side that we don’t get to see often since Gin cares about everyone else’s welfare more than her own. Events play out in Heart of Venom in a way I’m still not sure I completely liked. Not the result, just the path to the result. I don’t want to give specifics away. (On a side note: I would recommend reading the short story Kiss of Venom, which occurs between Deadly Sting and Heart of Venom and is told from Owen’s point of view. It gives a little more insight into his frame of mind during this time.)
We edge a little closer to more information about the mysterious M. M. Monroe who was introduced in Deadly Sting as the person listed in Mab’s will. I’m very interested to see how Estep finally makes the grand introduction to this character that I can only assume will cause more trouble for Gin down the road.
Heart of Venom was a really fast-paced read. Once it started, the action really didn’t let up until the end. Overall, I feel like the series is winding down a bit and I’m curious as to how Estep can/will continue on with the series. I understand that the next and tenth book The Spider releasing sometime in December this year will be a prequel story. Regardless, this still continues to remain one of my favorite series and I will be reading it until the very end.
Sexual content: Sex