By a Thread

, by Kt Clapsadl

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep 
Elemental Assassin #6

When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.

Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun.

But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

Gin thought her life would get easier now that she's finally killed Mab Monroe, and lived to tell the tale. However, now everyone in the Ashland underground is seeking to make a quick name for themselves by taking her out, and the constant battles are making her weary. So, she sets off on a much needed vacation with her sister, Bria, for some much needed R&R. Of course trouble always seems to find Gin, and this time will be no exception. A nasty vampire full of elemental magic is set on acquiring Bria's childhood friend, Callie restaurant, and he will let nothing stand in his way, even if it means killing her. To further complicate things, her ex just happens to be Callie's new fiance, whose lofty morals will make taking care of this issue quite tricky. Talk about the past coming back to bite you!

Bria's behavior gave me a nasty case of deja-vu. She was so judgmental, and even resentful towards Gin for so much of By a Thread that I couldn't help remembering everything Donovan put her through. He also rears his ugly head in By a Thread, but I'll get into that in a moment. I realize there were hints at Bria's inability to accept Gin's profession in the previous books, but those issues were greatly overshadowed by the issues with Mab. However, now that Mab is dead and buried, all of those emotions are front and center, and quite frankly I was furious with Bria. Gin has sacrificed everything over and over, and endured so much for Bria, and yet her lofty morals still get in the way. There were several times that I wanted to reach into the book and smack her upside the head, if only for my own satisfaction. Speaking of characters I would like to smack, I cannot believe Gin had to deal with Donovan again. I thought his judgmental butt was gone for good, but unfortunately not. The only good thing I will say about his return is that Gin finally gets to say her piece, as well as some closure. Other than that, well I will say, Good Riddance! 

I'll admit I was a little hesitant in approaching this book, because I was worried about how things could possibly feel threatening after all the build up in killing Mab freakin Monroe. I just didn't see how there could be a big bad worse than her. However, as By a Thread started to unfold, I realized that the threat didn't have to be more elementally powerful to be a danger to Gin and her loved ones. I was so wrapped up in the elemental aspect of things that I forgot to remember that Gin's stone and ice powers are really only a small part about what makes her so good. In fact, Gin also seemed to forget this as well, as it is only in recent times that she has relied on her magic so much. In the first few books she hardly used it at all. I have a feeling that as she finds the balance between using her magic and other skills evenly, she will only become more deadly. 

While By a Thread had more than enough action to keep me fully engrossed, it was more about the emotional side of things. Between the issues between Gin and her sister, as well as the sticky mess of old and new lovers, and even Gin's own internal emotions and acceptance of her new life path, the emotional tension was practically flying off the page. But, most importantly, everything whether good or bad seemed to have a forward moment, making me very hopeful for the future. So of course, I cannot wait for the next installment to see where things end up next. By a Thread was yet another phenomenal installment in this stellar series. Trust me, you won't want to miss this!!


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By a Thread (Elemental Assassin)

Other Reviews:
     Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog
     A Buckeye Girl Reads
     Fiction Vixen

Previous Books:
     1. Spider's Bite
     2. Web of Lies
     3. Venom
     4. Tangled Threads
     5. Spider's Revenge

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