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Early Book Review: Heart of Venom (Elemental Assassin #9) by Jennifer Estep



Author: Jennifer Estep
Title: Heart of Venom
Series: Elemental Assassin
Book #: 9
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Release date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
Length: 384 pages
Heat level: Little to none
Review copy provided by: Edelweiss
Reviewer recap: Gin Blanco's worst enemy Mab Monroe has been dead for months, yet trouble continues to knock at Gin's door. Surprisingly, this time around it isn't Gin that is the focus but her dear friend Sophia Deveraux. Sophia has been kidnapped by a brother-sister team of fire elementals. Armed with her silverstone knives and her wit, she treads up Ashland's dangerous mountains to rescue her friend. Eluding multiple traps and guards she finally gets to the camp and is beyond shocked at the atrocities that the siblings have committed. She is determined to make them pay for their wrong doings but can she outwit the siblings’ magic or be captured and tortured like Sophia?
Writing style & finesse



Character development

Likeable/relatable characters

Plot tension

Flow & pacing

Heat &/or sexual tension

Total Score
8.3/ 10

User Rating
75 total ratings



Intense and action filled. Kickass female heroine, Gin Blanco is out for revenge.


Missing the passion and romance that the previous books had.

Bottom Line

Now into book nine of the Elemental Assassin Series, Jennifer Estep is still able to keep me enraptured. I thought the story-telling progressed smoothly. The plotline was suspenseful and exciting. Some of the scenes may be gruesome but that is what I expect in a Gin Blanco adventure. Loved this one and if you asked me what my top Urban Fantasy series were, then this series would definitely be high on my list.

Posted August 25, 2013 by

Full Review

*** This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence! ***

You would think that after “The Spider” finally ends Mab Monroe in Spider’s Revenge ( Book 5) that this series would lose its steam but Jennifer Estep is still able to hold my attention.

Now a retired assassin, Gin just wants her life to settle down and run her business the Pork Pit but this is just not happening for her. She is still constantly being hounded by the lowlifes of Ashland. Every one of these thugs wants a shot at the one that ended the most notorious crime boss’ life. Funny how just before attempting to take down the assassin known as “The Spider” that they grab a meal at her very own restaurant before they meet their end. Not only is it good for her business but it keeps her body disposer, Sophia, busy too.

I’ve always wondered how Sophia Deveraux got into this line of work and my curiosity is more than satisfied in this book. This is what I loved most about this book. It isn’t totally focused on Gin but also goes deep down into Sophia’s history. It describes the humiliation and torment that Grimes and his sister Hazel committed years ago when Sophia was kidnapped that first time. We also finally discover the connection between the Deveraux sisters and how they become a part of Fletcher’s team.

Normally I find back stories tedious but when the author goes into Fletcher’s life (Gin’s fallen mentor), I find myself reading and rereading the passages repeatedly. I love that even if he is gone, he still manages to influence Gin’s decisions. He is such an interesting character and I am surprised that the author hasn’t written his own story yet. While I was left annoyed with Gin’s ex-lover in Deadly Sting, Owen was somewhat able to redeem himself in this book. It wasn’t as detailed as I would have wanted, which I did find more than frustrating, but a novella told in his point of view was just released. Hopefully that will tide me over until the next book.

Memorable Quotes

Have you finally come to your senses?

“Survive”, he whispered. “Promise me.”
“I promise,” I whispered, even though I knew the words were an empty lie. Then I stepped away from him.

Stop poking the bear…

“You think I’m scared of you? Please. You couldn’t possibly be The Spider. That ruthless bitch would have killed me the second she saw me. Not dragged me halfway up the mountain instead.”
“You’re right, ” I replied. “So maybe I should get on with things. Wouldn’t want to disappoint my fans.”

You may also like…

If you enjoyed Heart of Venom, you might also like Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Blood. Both are Urban Fantasy series that contain a strong female heroines who are paid to use their unique skills to hunt. If you are leaning towards something that contains magical sisters, then Yasmine Galenorn’s Sisters of the Moon Series, which starts with Witchling, might interest you.

Heart of Venom


It took me a failing grade and summer school to become the avid reader that I am now. Looking back, that summer just may be the best 4 weeks vested ever. My reading preferences always vary. LKH's Anita Blake series got me hooked into PNR/UF. And it was 50 that got me into contemporary romance. When I'm not engrossed in a book, I can either be found on my personal blog promoting Indie Authors or I could be found in the dungeons of Azeroth, topping the overhealing charts with my jesus beams. (+100 DKP to you if you understand my last sentence =)



    I love this series! I really enjoyed getting Sophia’s history with this installment.

    Heart of Venom is definitely the bloodiest book yet.

    Psst – click the link above for a link to The Book Nympho’s review of Heart of Venom.

    Eva Millien

    Thanks for sharing your review. I love this series.

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