A review of Stings and Stones by Jennifer Estep

If you like the Elemental Assassin books, you’ll like this short story collection…

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Estep’s books for a while, although I came rather late to her writing.   (I started with Kill The Queen, from the late 2010s.)   So I missed out at first on her Elemental Assassin series, but over the last year or so, I’ve gradually read and enjoyed the 19-ish books in that series too.

All of which is a long way of saying that, although I was happy to receive an advance review copy of Stings and Stones, which is a collection of Elemental Assassin short (and long) stories, I am also quite glad I’ve read all of the Elemental Assassin books by now.   Because otherwise, I’d be somewhat short on context for many of these stories.

Don’t get me wrong, Stings and Stones is great as a companion to the Elemental Assassin books.  And both the Haints and Hobwebs novella (really too long to be a short story IMO) and the Parlor Tricks short story are fine as standalones.  As in fact, they originally were, having been previously published in a couple of different anthologies.  But to fully appreciate most of the stories, which range from a very nice prequel to a bunch of bits-and-pieces told from several different characters’ points-of-view (Bria, Fletcher, Finnegan, the Deveraux sisters, even Mab Monroe herself), it really helped to have a grasp of the overall Elemental Assassin storyline.

So, this leads me to a “split” review:   if you’re familiar with and like the Elemental Assassin world, you’re going to like Stings and Stones, and it’s probably worth at least four stars, and maybe five.  The chance to fill in some background and see things through other characters’ eyes is lots of fun.    If, on the other hand, you aren’t familiar with the main series, I would probably give this collection a miss, or maybe pick it up just for Haints and Hobwebs and Parlor Tricks.   And it would probably get a lower rating…

But I’m going to assume that if you’re considering reading Stings and Stones, you probably already are an Elemental Assassin fan, so I’m going to rate it on that basis – and it gets four-and-a-half stars…

And finally, my thanks to the author for the advance review copy!

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