• Venom

  • Elemental Assassin, Book 3
  • By: Jennifer Estep
  • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,511 ratings)

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Venom  By  cover art

Venom

By: Jennifer Estep
Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
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Publisher's Summary

"It's hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family, which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most.

"To the public, I'm Gin Blanco, owner of Ashlands best barbecue joint. To my friends, I'm the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker - Mab's right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists.

"At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I'll take my chances. Then there's Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland's finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I'm a cold-blooded killer... who is about to save her life.

©2010 Jennifer Estep (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Estep has really hit her stride with the gritty and compelling Elemental Assassin series. She surrounds her fascinating and complex heroine with a cadre of supporting players, each of whom are intriguing in their own right. Brisk pacing and knife-edged danger make this an exciting page-turner. Kudos to Estep, who is rapidly heading toward the top of the urban fantasy genre!" ( Romantic Times)

What listeners say about Venom

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

My brown eyes only rolled a little bit...

Got a question for you... what color are Gin's eyes? What are her knives made of? What is on her palms? I could go on with examples of descriptions that are repeated, over and over and over. And I'm not talking about repetition between books, but within this one book. Eyes aren't just eyes, they are violet or grey or blue or cold or hard or... well, they were never staring... but they were glazed in death I believe.

Most active eyes I've ever experienced, in this series, really.

That being said... if you can get over the repeated descriptions and Estep's penchant for listing things in threes ("chest, back, buttocks", "rape, torture, kill" and so on), this story was actually the best of the three. The pseudo-love angst from book 2 is just hinted at here, and Gin actually manages to kill someone(s) almost as planned and not by accident or by sheer luck. Almost as if she were a real assassin. Not quite, but almost.

I liked the "romance" in this installment - at least the guy this time is reasonable. And I liked the link to Gin's past. And the killing, murder and mayhem that runs through the whole book, with various victims, but always involving Gin in some manner.

There isn't much sex, and what there is was added to the end - but the non-stop action sort of explains that... hard to stop for some loving when you have a giant or two to kill.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Getting better....

I'm beginning to like this series much better than I did at first. The writing isn't quite as repetitive as the first two books. I like the love interest Owen so much better than Donavan, especially considering our heroine. I'm waiting to find out what has happened to Sophia, because that sounds like it will be an interesting story. The story keep referring to how Gin is getting stronger with her elemental magic, what I don't understand is why she doesn't work/ practice with it more to hone her skills. I do realize this is not her main means of assassination, that she prefers her "silver stone knives", but consider who she wants to kill, you would think she would perfect all means available to her.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One giant, twelve hour long action scene!

Jennifer Estep has done it again! Venom is even better than the first two installments which is pretty unbelievable considering how outstanding they both were. No word of a lie, the Elemental Assassin series literally gets better with every book. That's pretty freaking remarkable if you ask me! It felt like that crazy drop in the Tower of Terror except that it lasted for twelve hours! The story is thrilling, the character development is exceptional and Owen Grayson is just plain smokin' hot.

In this installment we get an even better look inside Gin's assassin persona; it's a scary and fascinating place. In the opening chapter she endures one heck of a beating in order to maintain her cover. I kept waiting for her to unleash a can of whoopass on the giants but hiding her skills was indeed the best long-term game plan for her and that's exactly what she does. You can't help but admire Blanco for willingly getting pummeled when she could have easily come out the winner of the encounter. This is just the first of many instances where she demonstrates her knack for thinking on her feet. As an ex-assassin, Gin finds herself in some pretty hairy situations yet she always manages to keep her cool, even when bullets are zooming past her head! There's more to her than just a cold blooded killer though and that's what makes her story so incredible. Her feelings and doubts go a long way into humanizing her in this book. I think that Estep does an exceptional job developing her characters in this series. They're memorable, life-like and unique; I for one can't get enough of them!

Elliot Slater is the kind of guy you love to hate and the first bad guy of this series that I really wanted to see suffer a slow and painful death at the hands of Gin. I like that it took the entire book for Roslyn's revenge to come full circle; it made the end result extremely meaningful and personal. All of the characters play a role in the main plot which is yet another noteworthy element in this book. As a result, the side stories became an added bonus instead of an essential ingredient in order to tie everything together.

Finn is finally coming into his own and I like that he actually kicked some butt in this installment. I've been on the fence about him for the past two books but now I'm glad he's a part of this series and I look forward to seeing what Estep has in store for him. I love, love LOVE Owen Grayson and how this book ended. I'm kinda hoping that he and Gin team up and go after Mab Monroe together. Wouldn't that be a romantic outing? Yeah... Natural Born Killers style! Sophia's story still remains a mystery but at least we learned something about her this time. I just hope her tale will be as awesome as I expect it to be!

Venom is one giant action scene packed with unforgettable characters, startling truths and the ending is fan-freaking-tastic.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Another Glorious Offering from the Spider

Thanks to this book I now am waiting for the next like a crack addict needing a fix. Great story, good ending, interesting additions to the cast. The final battle wasn't as impressive as the on from Web of Lies, but like the 2nd book it served to change things just enough to make you want more. Looking forward to book 4.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ms Estep is maturing

The only reason I got this far in the series is that I bought all 3 before listening to any. If I had just gotten the first I wouldn't have continued with the series. However, #2 was a step up and #3 is OK. The author is getting better. Not sure I'll continue past here though.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good fun

Very much like the Stackhouse series, the main character is no sookie much rougher and fierce. however if you enjoyed true blood you will like this series. Fun and easy fare.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

once again

very entertaining couldn't put it down all 3 books enthralling. keeps you hanging on every word. Jennifer Estep knows what she is doing. cant wait for the rest of them to be published. NOT TILL 2011 NNNNOOOOOO to far away

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Series

This series is fantastic and the narration could not be more perfect. Venom was my favorite so far. I can't wait for the next book!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

LOVING this series more and more

****Review will contain mild spoilers if you are not update on the series.****

Ok the awesomeness of this series just gets better with each book. Each book in the Elemental Assassins series has its own plot with a bigger picture plot surrounding the murder of Gin’s mother and older sister. Things keep building as Gin finds out more about that night and about her later handler, Flecter.

Gin is still mourning her handler and foster father, Fletcher. She is also having a hard time with her love life. But as one douche bag leaves town; another HOTTER and more suited for Gin, guy comes along.

“I don’t judge you for what you’ve done, Gin. Why are you judging me for another man’s mistakes? Because Donovan Caine did make a mistake,” Owen said in a soft voice. “Letting someone like you go.”

By the time Venom ends I can’t see a more perfect guy for Gin than Owen.

Gin just can’t seem to stay retired from the assassin gig. But instead of getting paid for her skills she is using them as a service to the good people of Ashland.

“I’m just wondering how exactly I went from being the Spider to the Robin f**king Hood of the greater Ashland area... Instead of stealing from the rich, I’m stabbing them to death for the poor.”

Gin and gang has their hands full trying to help Rosyln Phillips with a stalker problem. The stalker in question is Elliot Slater, Mab Monroe’s head of security. Gin has no problem planning a way to kill the giant, since we start out Venom with Slater beating the crap out of Gin on the college campus. How can that be? Gin decides to go along with the beating as not to give away her cover as Gin Blanco.

Gin spends a great deal of Venom protecting her cover in order to get closer to Mab Monroe and figuring out a way to take her out for killing her family all those years ago.

Speaking of family, Gin finally gets to meet her baby sister that she thought died with her other sister and mother on that dark night. Gin and baby sister Bria are on different sides of the law but are more alike than either would have guessed.

Venom is full of action, mystery and a healthy dose of dark humor and snark. I love the world and characters that Jennifer Estep has built. It’s been a while since a series has grabbed me the way this one has.

And now that I’m done with this review and can now start Tangled Threads!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining!

I liked this book. Gin is an entertaining character. The only complaint I have is that Estep repeats herself a lot. The flashbacks Gin has are fine and interesting but it's that Mab's sunbeam rune is talked about a lot, the runes of her family too. Once each book is fine, but it's multiple times and sometimes it feels like she's just trying to stretch the length of the book out, like the reports you have to do in junior high that have to be 5,000 words. Lauren Fortgang does a nice job. Her male voices aren't great but you can hear the difference in tone and timbre between characters.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Farnham_red
  • 06-15-20

I'm liking this series

This series is definitely growing on me - I like the characters in Gin's little family and the story arc is growing nicely. The replacement Detective for Donovan Kane is a distinct improvement.

The actual story bounds along in a fairly predicable way as is normal for this type of book but holds interest and has enough twists to keep you guessing exactly how we will get to a bad person ending up dead. Sets up the next book nicely and I am looking forwards to the next instalment.

Lauren Fortgang does a very good job and I enjoy her narration If you have done books one and two this one will not disappoint.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sandra streeting
  • 07-03-17

I was mesmerized from start to finish

I have just started biting my nails again. What a lot of excitement.
Great book

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Creative Butterfly
  • 11-29-15

Sometimes it takes getting to No. 3

I am finally starting to get into these books. I almost gave up on the first, but persevere I did and now I am starting to connect with the characters. Gin is finally getting a romance where we can feel the connection which is good.

As assassins go she does tell too many people her business and quite frankly her elemental powers are quite weak but hopefully with more time she will get better. The new love interest and her sister bring a welcome addition to this book. So if like me you though the first 2 were without substance don't worry it does get better.