Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Book #1 in the Elemental Assassin series
Number of pages: 395 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: 26 January 2010
Source: eARC provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle store, Book Depository
Grade: 5 stars
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
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.
My Thoughts: Ever since I saw the beautiful and thrilling covers of Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin UF series I have had Spider's Bite, Web of Lies and Venom on my TBR list and couldn't wait to finally read them. When I started reading Spider's Bite one morning on my way to work I had no idea I would be sucked into such a thrilling and whirlwind story!
I have to start by a warning: don't start reading any of the books of the Elemental Assassin series unless you have the day off and can spend it entirely reading, otherwise it will be either pure torture or you will blow off everything else. This is what happened to me... I read on the bus, read in the elevator, read during class (who needs notes for the exam? certainly not me when I'm right in the middle of a bloodchilling action scene of Spider's Bite) and read again on the way home, read nonstop until I arrived at the end and could let out the breath I have been holding.
Wow! Jennifer Estep writes such a fast paced and explosive story, that you won't catch a break until you finish the book. You constantly have to know what happens next. You will be possessed, as if in a trance. This series is addictive and irresistible.
Gin Blanco is a heroine unlike any other: she is a cold blooded assassin. I really liked Gin's character, loved how Jennifer Estep didn't shy away from making her really jaded and scarred. She has been through a lot and it has left its imprint (both literally and figuratively) on her. Despite being an assassin she is an amazing character: she lived through such loss and suffered unimaginable things and still she managed to get herself through it and survive. She became strong, independent and self-reliant. Besides her hard edge she has a very dry humour, spicing up her character which could have very well ended up as a one dimensional cold hearted murderer, but Gin is certainly not that. Despite her traumatic childhood and her current occupation she has a moral code and feelings.
Gin has a a close knit group of friends she can count on and who are all entertaining and unique secondary characters. There is dear Fletcher, who acted as a father figure to Gin; the dwarf sisters where one is a Goth-chick while the other the proper Southern lady; Finn, Gin's charmer "half-brother" (who sounds yummy and whose charm is irresistible even across the pages! ;-p); and there is Donovan. *sighs* The only conscientious and honest cop in the whole city. The only one whose moral compass is too strong to overlook the fact of what Gin does for work. A threedimensional hero whose presence holds enough power, integrity and innocence that his charisma comes through the story.
The characters are all well developed and given enough quirks and unique traits to make them their own persons and characters the reader is interested to read about for their own sake.
Besides the great characterisation, the break neck actions and the witty and humourous writing I have to applaud the amazing and original universe Jennifer Estep created for her series. In her urban fantasy world magic is out in the open: people know of its existence as well as of all the supernatural species: there are gnomes, giants, vampires, dwarves roaming the streets and living among humans. The idea of elemental magic, runes and what special powers these grant to their owners is simply brilliant.
Verdict: Spider's Bite was a fantastic urban fantasy story, I gobbled it up in one day and fell fast and hard for Jennifer Estep's worldbuilding, characters and writing style! I instantly became a die hard Gin and Elemental Assassin fan and I can't wait to read the sequel novels! (thankfully there are already 4 more books for me to read and Jennifer just announced there will be at least 2 more novels in the series! Can you say "yay"? :-D)
Spider's Bite was such a thrilling and whirlwind start to another great new UF series, that it certainly deserves the 5 stars I'm giving it!