Deadly Sting is the eighth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. Anyone who has made it to this point in the series probably doesn’t care what I have to say about it, so I’ll make this short.
Gin and Owen are taking a break from each other after the events of the last book, Widow’s Web, so Gin accompanies Finn to a fancy party at an art museum on an island where Mab Monroe’s stuff will be on display for all the wealthy folks in Ashland to see. Soon after she arrives, she encounters two big problems. One is that she discovers Mab had a couple of Gin’s family’s runes in her possession! Gin wants them back. The other problem is that Owen is at the party with another woman. How distressing!
While Gin’s sulking in the bathroom, a group of giants murders a woman who looks like Gin and takes all the guests hostage. Gin has to work behind the scenes to foil the giants’ plans and save her friends (and actually some enemies, too). This involves a vault, a couple of bombs, a bridge, and Owen’s Elemental metal magic.
Deadly Sting is kind of fun because it’s different from the type of plot we usually see in one of the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN books. A museum heist is a nice change of scenery and pace. I also enjoyed the flashbacks that told us about some of Gin’s training with Fletcher Lane when she was a teenager. There was an especially cute episode involving a Pomeranian named Peaches.
Still, though, the excessive recapping and repetitive language is here as usual, as are some of those overly familiar elements such as the high-society party (there is one of these in every single book so far, I think). There are a few plot problems, too (again, as usual). Stupid bad guys who telegraph their intentions and don’t kill Gin when they have a chance. Bria (Gin’s police detective sister) acting more like an assassin than a policewoman. Gin not taking some opportunities that she should have taken to stop the bad guys. And why, why, why doesn’t Gin ever have her cell phone when she needs it? We know she has one but it’s never around at crucial times.
I’m afraid that many readers will be upset about Owen. He just doesn’t come across well in Deadly Sting or the previous book, Widow’s Web. His new behavior seems totally out of character for him. Obviously, Estep is trying to introduce some more romantic tension, but I doubt that it will sit well with most of her fans. However, the final scene of the novel is touching and will certainly encourage readers to pick up the next book, Heart of Venom. There’s also an e-novella called Kiss of Venom that takes place between this book and Heart of Venom. It’s told from Owen’s point of view. The audio versions narrated by Lauren Fortgang continue to be excellent productions.