Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Sorry, but I’ve never heard of any Circle. What kind of idiotic nickname is that anyway? Sounds like a yoga group.”
Unraveled picks up right where Bitter Bite left off. Gin and her friends have settled down to deal with the aftermath of Deirdre Shaw’s actions. Gin has been digging deeper into the mysterious shadow group, The Circle, trying to find the other members and discover what their connection is to her mother. She is also trying to help Finn deal with the guilt and depression he feels in the part he played in his mother’s betrayal and death.
Finn stared at the spot along the wall a second longer before turning away and screwing a smile on his face as though everything was normal, and he was still the carefree, happy go lucky guy he’d been before Deirdre has blown into town. Before she’d ripped his heart to shreds and betrayed him in the worst way possible.
When Finn receives notice he’s inherited a resort; he, Bria, Gin, and Owen all decide to take an impromptu road trip to visit the resort though Gin suspects the timing of the inheritance is directly related to the Circle. The Bullet Pointe is an upscale vacation resort/theme park, catering to all who enjoy the full “western” experience with sexy saloon girls, rough & tumble cowboys, and daily adventure shows. An ongoing contest to discover a hidden cache of jewels that belonged to the original owner only increases the insanity that surrounds this resort.
“Someone get me some crackers for all this cheese.”
Unraveled is the fifteenth installment in Jennifer Estep’s action loaded noir urban fantasy series that packs a generous punch of adventure, suspense, mystery, and humor. Heavily character driven, Estep continues to dig in deep and expand on her world and the players that inhabit it. Estep uses the latest arc to not only provide Gin and her friends another long reaching mystery to solve but also gives us more clues into Gin’s parents and their past-especially her mother. Normally centered on the small town of Ashland, Estep takes the conflict to a new location, giving readers some new characters to add to their growing collection.
Reading fast and furious as usual, Unraveled isn’t quite as explosive action wise as some of the other installments in the series. Instead, we see a stronger investigative base which helps to fortify the darkly humorous adventure Gin is forced into. I have enjoyed the more inclusion of humor into the series. Gin is lightening up and this is being seen more in her mannerisms, dialogue, and the choices she is making. Slowly evolving beyond her kill or be killed assassin persona, Gin is becoming more diplomatic and weighing all her options. Not to say she isn’t still a bad arse because she reigns supreme in her fight scenes but she seems more balanced lately.
Gin’s more frequent dreams of her mother are like puzzle pieces-each one bringing the big picture into clearer focus. Gin has long viewed her mother through rose colored glasses; her death the fire that forged the deadly woman Gin is today. It’s only since learning her mother may have been a member of The Circle do long-buried memories begin to surface, reminding Gin there was a side to her mother that was scary and dangerous. Gin is learning to share and delegate more though she still chooses to internalize some things in order to protect those she loves.
I was disappointed to see the main secondary characters regulated to such ineffective positions in here. Finn, Owen, and Bria are nothing more than comedic sidekicks and fodder as Estep uses them to showcase Gin’s impressive skills. A new character makes an appearance whose knowledge of the resort helps Gin to set her plans in motion and I hope we see more of them in the future. Hugh Tucker is back and a few new enemies whose elemental powers are mobilized in some interesting manners. The villains of the story are familiar in their characterization but again, there is a humorous bent to the whole situation that left me amused at some of their dialogue and actions.
“It’s the small things that make life truly worth living.”
The ending is a climactic finale filled with violence and deception as Gin uses ingenuity and a heavy dose of self-preservation to save herself and her friends from ending up the finale in this ultimate showdown. Though Gin in no closer to finding the head of the Circle then when she started, she is given a gift that helps to point her in the right direction.
Unraveled is a fun addition to the Elemental series. Fans will enjoy the story’s location and the new route Estep is taking Gin and her friends as they double down on their search for who could be Gin’s greatest adversary to date.