I am a confessed book worm, a lover of happily ever after and great fiction. I do like some darker, grittier urban fantasy fiction too now and then and today I want to take a minute to discuss one of my top 5 ALL TIME favorite authors. An author I trust even when she has me cringing and peeking through my fingers at the page as her characters enter situations I’m not sure they can survive (but know that they must!).
I have been a fan of Jennifer Estep’s since I first stumbled across a copy of her novel Karma Girl several years ago in a bookstore. I can honestly say I’ve liked every one of her books, and many of them are all time favorites. When she left her world of Super Heroes behind for a new series that she said was going to be way more really dark, violent, and gritty… well I was nervous. A series about a female assassin known as the Spider who is a stone cold killer, runs a BBQ joint called the Pork Pit and who was orphaned as a kid? Really?
Oh yes, really. Since page one of book one I’ve been a huge fan of the series. You would think that a cold hearted killer would be a really unlikeable character but the thing is – she’s a survivor. Gin Blanco gives her loyalty to few, but she will fight to the death for those people. In her world there are vampires, dwarves, giants, and magic… yet it’s not an over the top anything is possible and some characters are invincible kind of place. I like that Gin is very grounded, I love her love of cooking.
She’s taken on a lot of big bad guys, her life has changed tremendously, and I’ve been glued to each and every page – and with the conclusion of each book I anxiously await the next. She gets her butt kicked, but she kicks even more and as you get to know her and as she lets more people into her life you can’t help but love her and root for her.
Today the newest of the Elemental Assassin series was released (By a Thread), book #6. Gin is going on a “vacation” which of course leads to super bad guys, people from her past, and drama with her sister too. I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy (oh yes, and I cherished every page!) I can say this: if you are interested in this book series but didn’t want to read books 1-5 and instead start here, you could. The back story is covered nicely, and without spoiling the series so far I will just say that there is a new direction and focus because a villain central to books 1-5 is gone. There’s fallout over it, but anyhow yes- you could start from here. Also? It’s so far my FAVORITE book of the series. It was an amazing read – I loved every twist and surprise the author had in store.
It’s really rare for a series to get stronger and to capture my attention even more, to remain #1 on my list – but this one has. It’s far more typical that a writer falls into some ruts, the plot stalls, the stories get dull… not so with Estep! She blends in just the right amount of humor with the gritty, raw, dark world of an assassin that just wants to be retired and live a normal life. (ha ha, sorry, that ain’t happening!)
note: Jennifer Estep is also authoring a really cool young adult series about a young woman who discovers she has power (and is to be a champion for a God and kick some evil God & organization butt) called the Mythos Academy series. Filled with mythology and lots of teen angst, not to mention a story I can’t quit – it’s the only YA series I read. Book #3 comes out in a few months, I’ll be sure to talk about it here!
I’ll leave you with my recommendations for where to start with this author (if her stories appeal to you as they do me, that is!):
All of Jennifer Estep’s books are available in e-book format and most in print as well – amazon has them all here. Her website is www.jenniferestep.com and on twitter she can be found at https://twitter.com/#!/Jennifer_Estep [and she’s one of those AWESOME authors who actually tweets back/replies to email. LOVE that about her!]
I hope to see many more of her books – not to mention finding out what her characters will be up to next…