Jennifer Estep: Web of Lies

Web of Lies (Elemental Assasin #2)
Jennifer Estep
(urban fantasy with a touch of romance)

This second book in Jennifer Estep’s urban fantasy series cements it in my mind as a solid series. I love her world building and character development. I love the way there is romance without the series BEING a romance. It fills the gap where GOOD urban fantasy should fit on my bookshelf. And I will be buying book three, instead of getting it from the library as I have with books 1 & 2. I’ve been burned too often by paranormal romance masquerading as urban fantasy to automatically buy everything that sounds good these days.

Don’t get me wrong. I love paranormal romance, too. But not when I want to read an urban fantasy series. One thing I love about the UF series is the way you can follow one main character throughout the series. With a romance series, the main couple in each book is expected to get their HEA (Happily Ever After) at the end of the book, so then following them around for book 2… and 3… and 4 can get a bit awkward. You stop believing the HEA when it gets interrupted by new plot conflicts in every book. Or, the books become predictable and boring because the main characters are not in deep enough trouble so that their relationship is not threatened.

Not so in WEB OF LIES. First off, while there is a sex scene, there isn’t really a relationship. The interactions between the couple are strained throughout the novel, and believably so. You also believe the main character’s actions about the tension, though. She’s an assassin. If she fell apart every time she got upset, she would be a dead assassin, yet she’s very much alive.

I enjoyed many aspects of this book. The thing I liked most was probably the way the world’s magic crept more into the storytelling than I remember it from the first novel. I also enjoyed (as I said before) the character development – of the main character, Gin, but also of the supporting cast.

The thing I liked least was probably the book’s villain. I know, he’s the bad guy, you’re not supposed to like him. But even as a bad guy I didn’t like him. Based on the teaser chapter of book 3 I expect to like the villains in the next book, though. And I really like Mab Monroe, who seems to be the series villain. So I have high hopes for the future of this series. Fingers crossed… it’s quite long already, and I’d be thrilled if they all end up being books I enjoy.


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