Two books ago I said that I was concerned with this series of books becoming very very repetitive. We had the same pattern coming up over and over again and it was starting to feel dull even if it was also extremely fun.
Last book helped reassure me and this book well and truly sealed my hope this is going somewhere new.
Sure, we still has Gin, the Assassin, killing bad people who really needs to be stabbed in the head. But previously this had a repeated pattern: a big bad would appear, they would attack Gin, she’d be terribly beaten. She’d then limp back to Jojo, be healed, make a plan and promptly murderise the big bad.
But this book doesn’t have a big bad per se. We have a powerful, dangerous woman who is dangerous for reasons beyond having big shiny dangerous magic (which is a really nice change from the rest of the books – we’d have dangerous women but they’d usually be dangerous because of shiny magic, not combat skills like Gin). But she’s not the big bad. She’s not the main focus. She is there – but the main enemy is Tucker. And not as a dangerous threat, but as a representative of the mysterious and sinister Circle. The tone of book has changed a lot. We don’t have a single big bad like Mab Monroe, nor do we have random killers of the week – we have a mysterious shadowy cabal that needs investigating, discovering and manoeuvred around.
Along the way we have good ongoing issues with Finn and his mother- but they’re touched on but not gone into too much depth because we already did that in the short story
And we have some nice digging up of Gin’s mother Eira. Ok, it is a little convenient that Gin can repeatedly dream up herself some history and relevant information, but it I do like to see the information and relationship explored. Especially since this book series seems to absolutely love skewering people who have been put on a pedestal (or… maybe more accurately it should be said mothers have been knocked off their pedestals because Fletcher is still pretty much balanced happily on his).
Of course the plot itself is Gin running around being kind of awesome, occasionally meeting crusty locals, having lots of action, and Gin generally being a crafty and scary scary lady. I also really like that she’s using her magic – yes, her actual magic. How many books do we see her running around with knives and seeming to forget that she actually have magic? So, no, we’re not going all shadowy cabal and investigating, there’s still plenty of Gin running around with knives and magic, being lethal and awesome and fun and action packed