Review of Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

Posted November 21st, 2011 in book review / 6 comments

Spider’s Bite

Book #1 of the Elemental  Assassin Series

by Jennifer Estep

Published: Pocket Book – February 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 395 (paperback)

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Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction…especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

The Good
Gin Blanco is The Spider, an elemental assassin. But it’s not her magic that makes her so kick-ass. She’s a pro with knives, can get out of almost any tight situation, and she can kill you twice before you hit the floor. She may be cold-hearted but she does follow a couple rules, no killing kids or pets. She may be a killer, but even killers have their limits. But when Gin is double-crossed and her Handler, Fletcher, is tortured and murdered, Gin is willing to do about anything to find and kill his murderers. Luckily, Gin gets to Finn, Fletcher’s son, before he to is killed. Together, Gin and Finn set their sights on the people who have wronged them, and when they bring in Detective Donovan Caine to help them out, things start to heat up.

Spider’s Bite is now one of my favorite books of all time. It has tons of action, blood, and weapons. Gotta love that trio. I have always had an obsession with books about assassins, and this one sure did not disappoint. The premise was intriguing, the plot was well thought out and entertaining, and the characters were one of a kind.

The first scene does a great job of setting the tone of the novel. It was original and somewhat hilarious. If that doesn’t suck you in from the get go, then I don’t know what would. It was simply brilliant.

The book is set in the corrupt city of Ashland were you can find most vampires on street corners pimping their bodies for blood. Dwarves and giants are everyday people. Some people have magic within them, but the magic is limited to the elements. And the city and it’s many corrupt officials are run by Mab Monroe, a Fire elemental who will burn you to a crisp if you even sneeze her way.

Gin is what makes the book. Her past is dark and still haunts her. She is alone in a world that in some ways has forced her to become an assassin. Though she has a few close friends, she has learned to take care of herself. She’s a master in weapons and fighting. She’s stealthy and cautious. But overall, Gin is a very self-aware character. She knows she’s not a saint and doesn’t mind her love for the job. She is confident and you can’t help but root for her as the bodies pile up.

Finn was a solid secondary character. He is someone who you would want backing you up. He has every connection imaginable, knows his way around a computer, and loves females. Oh, yes, he sure does love his women. He is a no-nonsense type of guy who will get the job done, with a smile and a wink.

Donocan Caine is the only true good cop left in Ashland. He believes in justice and helping the innocent. That’s why he is attractive to Gin, a person who kills people for money, unnerves him to the core. It should be simple, he’s the good guy, and she’s the bad guy (well, bad girl, but you get my drift). They should be enemies, but he can’t help but feel something for Gin, which only makes him hate himself more.

The action was fast-paced and well written.  The supernatural elements and species were refreshing in that they didn’t follow the cookie-cutter versions we have ingrained into our imaginations. I love the grittiness of the book, the way Gin killed without remorse. I like those kinds of characters that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. I have no doubt I will be consuming the rest of this series with the same hunger I had for this book.

The Bad
Estep has a tendency to repeat herself. She keeps rehashing that Gin is very upset about the death of her handler. Over and over we hear how much it hurts Gin to think about this event.  Sometimes I just wanted to yell, “I get it, Gin is sad, can we move on now?” The horse is dead, quit beating it.

The Snuggly
One steamy sex scene. Super hot and it actually made me laugh. Why? Let’s just say someone is quick on the trigger, and I’m not talking guns.

Estep is an amazing author who has the potential of creating a great series. She isn’t afraid to write about blood, gore, and sex. She tells it how it is and I admire her more for it. Spider’s Bite was a great start to the elemental assassin series. Plus, Estep has ensured some great future plots with the mystery behind Gin’s past and and notorious Mab Monroe. Highly recommended.

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6 Responses to “Review of Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep”

  1. Sarah (saz101)

    I really liked Spider’s Bite! The whole Elemental Assassin’s series, too. The repetition drove me NUTS, though, and as the series goes on, there’s more to repeat, so it’s kind of frustrating. In some ways it gets better, though.
    I love how well fleshed out the secondary characters are. Finn is my fave, and Estep’s is amazing at slowly revealing parts of the bigger picture as the series progresses.
    can’t wait to see your review for the next one 😀

  2. Lovey Dovey Books

    Great review. I just entered to win this series, but even if I don’t win it I’ll still check it out. I’m starting to really like reading about female assassins and since this strays from the norm, it’ll be interesting to read.

    Candace @ Lovey Dovey Books

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