One of my great guilty pleasures is my deep & abiding adoration of (well-written, preferably) paranormal romances.
Recently, three series that I enjoy all came out with the newest book. Typically, I’ve totally avoided doing book reviews on these books because, well, I feel a bit silly that I read these books. I should read books of seriousness! And respectability! And deep, deep thoughts. Over the weekend, however, it occurred to me that if I enjoy these books (oh, and I do!), perhaps somewhere out there are others who enjoy these, too, and there’s really nothing of which to be ashamed.
So, I’m going to start reviewing my guilty pleasures along with the more standard literature.
For my paranormal series books, I’m planning on the following evaluation style – all based on the standard A-F grading scale with comments (in fact, with the exception of the “sexytimes” and “paranormality” ratings, I might carry this over into all book reviews).
Writing (I will not be a nitpicky as Dana at Reasoning With Vampires, because, well, I can’t without driving myself insane, as much as I enjoy her site)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I stumbled onto this series accidentally (and by accidentally, I mean Kindle shopping in the middle of the night; e-books are so bad for my budget) and started with the third book in the series. I then made my way backwards & read the first two.
One thing that struck me was how much the writing and the story improved over the first three, and when the 4th book came out recently, I was so excited to continue the story of the (retired) assassin Gin Blanco.
Brief recap of books 1-3 just to catch us up:
Gin is a great assassin! She is an “elemental” which means she has magic powers based on elements. Hers are stone & ice. There is another powerful elemental in town – Mab, whose power is fire.
Gin’s secret assassin name is the spider, and she is patient like a spider. She also has spider runes burned into her palms from when some evil, fire-wielding elemental (hmmm…who is that?) killed her whole family & tortured her.
At the beginning of book 1, Gin’s foster-father & handler is brutally murdered, and Gin and her foster brother need to find the murderer. Which they do, of course. There is a good-looking and very honest cop with sexy attractiveness and morals. They have sexy times and then self recriminations (on the part of the cop).
At some point in the first three books, Gin discovers that her little sister, who she thought was dead at the hands of the evil & mysterious fire elemental, is in fact NOT dead. And is a cop in the town.
Gin kills a bunch of people. Donovan Caine (the cop) eventually cannot deal with his attraction for the evil assassin, so he leaves town. She meets another guy who is also hot AND who doesn’t care that she’s morally ambiguous. Gin discovers that Mab might be the evil fire elemental who killed her mother and older sister, and then saves the vampire madame from Mab’s head henchman/serial rapist and declares war on Mab.
BOOK the FOURTH.
Gin is still warring with Mab and her feelings for the handsome Owen Grayson. She is worried that eventually he will leave her because of how she kills people for a living. They have some sexy times AND some tender moments.
The other thing Gin is warring with is whether or not to tell her morally upright cop sister Bria that they are sisters AND that she is the assassin Spider, as well as the owner of the Pork Pit.
Gin spends her time killing Mab’s henchpeople & leaving her spider calling card, but the thing that differentiates this book from the last is the increasing emotional complexity. Gin is growing up and dealing with all these relationships and her own self doubt. It’s a great ride, and so much better than the first three, although there is a lot of repetition of names/places/explanations that drove me a bit batty.
Overall, though, a fun read.
And now for it:
Writing: B (Points off for aforementioned repetition)
Paranormality: B+ (Estep has done a great job of creating a believable paranormal layout and rules; it seems very consistent; and the rules don’t just disappear when convenient.)
Book Overall: B+
Series Overall: B+ (this grade is going up; I would’ve given it a solid B after the last book, and a C based on book #1.)
ETA – OMG! @Jennifer_Estep saw my review when it posted on Monday & tweeted at me. YAY!