Reviewed by May
Favorite Quote: This was a matter of the heart – and one problem that all my knives and all my prowess as the Spider wouldn’t help me solve.
Gin Blanco is an assassin. Oh, she’s semi-retired and she tries to live her life as normally as she can now running her BBQ joint the Pork Pit and spending time with her friends, sister Bria, and her lover Owen. But things happen, people need to be killed, and Gin is the best at what she does.
This series is dark urban fantasy. There is magic, a lot of violence, and things are always intense. It is one of the best installments in the series, though if you are new to it I would suggest at least reading book #6 (By a Thread) as that is a fairly good starting point with all new plot lines and problems.
Widow’s Web focuses in on Owen and his past, specifically, uncovering it and bringing it all to the surface. Things aren’t pretty, and they aren’t always what they seem. Gin is forced to make tough decisions and decide who to trust, who to believe, and what actions she should take.
Owen has long been this amazing, ideal man in Gin’s world. Back when she was longing for another man he was there, standing by her, never judging. He accepted what she did and who she was at her core, and I’ve always loved him for that. In this book, we get a much different Owen. At first I was shocked and horrified – who is this Owen and why isn’t he staying in character? But then I realized he was in character, in fact this is the most real we’ve ever seen Owen. I think it was a risky move by Estep, but ultimately one that I believe will pay off.
In all previous books he is perfection – the ideal man for Gin. I never questioned it, but when his past gets called in, when he is truly tested, when things are more personal and emotional for him – how will he react? Can he handle it? He is no longer mister perfect, that much is clear.
The fierceness of my kiss seemed to startle him, but Owen’s arms snaked around me, pulling me even closer. I kept right on kissing him, trying to tell him I understood the things he’d done and the decisions he’d made, even if I didn’t like everything I’d learned tonight…
Sometime later, we broke apart, both of us breathless and aching – for each other and for answers we weren’t quite sure of.
“I love you, Gin,” Owen whispered in my ear, still holding me in his arms.
For the first time since he’d said tose words to me, I doubted them – and him – but I kept my troubling thoughts to myself.
Owen has flaws, vulnerabilities, and he can be selfish too. He can hide truths, he will lash out, and he is made very real in this book. Likewise Gin deliberately shows more emotion, opens herself up more than ever and takes risks that you know are painful for her.
What I love about this series, what makes it one of my top five series, is that it is dark, gritty, upsetting, and damn difficult. Gin never ever has an easy road, she never has a quick fix, and she very rarely catches breaks. This book is one of the strongest in the series emotionally for me, as well as with a plot that has plenty of twists and moves right along.
One of the highlights of this book is the relationship with Gin and her sister Bria. What was painfully strained in past, now shows signs not only of strengthening, but really becoming a healthy bond and one of trust and acceptance. I loved the scenes with Bria, loved seeing how much more accepting she is with Gin and how Gin is able to relax her guard more as well.
Another highlight for me was Philip Kincaid. We’ve seen him briefly before, in this book we really get his tie-in with Owen and his sister, and get a bit more insight into who he is. I’m hoping he will become an ally with Gin, and that we’ll see more of him in future books.
If I have one complaint about this book then it would be that I was kind of let down at the simplicity of the ice elemental vs water elemental battles, and I wondered if Gin wanted to win at all. Of course that could just be because I wanted the villain’s face smashed in, or that I wanted a more interesting battle.
Overall this was one of the best reads of the series – and that is saying something! This series has great momentum, emotional depth, heartbreaking moments, and characters I can’t get enough of.