Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14)
Published: Feb. 23, 2015 (Pocket Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference events from the previous book. If you haven’t yet started this series, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Spider’s Bite.
At the end of Spider’s Trap readers were told pretty much point blank what—or maybe I should say who—was coming up next. In Bitter Bite, Finn’s elusive mother is back in Ashland. Deirdre Shaw, whom everyone thought long dead these thirty-plus years, has returned. Coupled with Fletcher’s beyond-the-grave warnings about Deirdre and Gin’s own Spidey sense, it’s very clear from the onset that all is not right with Mama Dee. Finn, who it seems desperately felt the void left by not growing up with a mother, enthusiastically embraces the chance to get to know Deirdre. To say the least, Finn has blinders on where she’s concerned and won’t listen to reason from anyone. So it falls upon Gin to figure out what game Deirdre is playing. She just hopes Finn comes out unscathed in the end.
What I’ve always found interesting with the series, and something that is coming into play more and more, is the fact that the past doesn’t stay buried, and the past is not always what we remember. We see this in every book with the addition of some reminiscence of Gin’s involving a past case with herself and Fletcher. The whole premise of Bitter Bite is the past coming back to wreak havoc. While sometimes I feel like the coincidences between how things have tied together have been a little too convenient, I did like the addition of Deirdre.
Ever since Gin got rid of Mab at the end of the first story arc in the series, I’ve felt like the villains have been hit-or-miss. Sometimes the buildup doesn’t necessarily pay off, but in the case of Bitter Bite and Deirdre Shaw, I think it does. I think I give nothing away when I say she is a bad elemental. Someday (say by the end of the series), maybe the other characters will finally believe Gin when she says that something is not right, instead of just claiming she’s paranoid. When it came down to Deirdre’s endgame, I wasn’t too shocked. Honestly, the formula that Jennifer Estep has established with this series runs true in Bitter Bite and when it all comes down to it, the biggest thing that sets Deirdre apart from other villains is that she is Finn’s mother.
Something that I loved in this book was getting to see some tender moments between Gin and Finn. I feel like this series sometimes glosses over opportunities for the characters to grow through their vulnerabilities. I love the driving action as much as the next person, but I also love a well-rounded character and sometimes that involves slowing down a little bit. I feel like this opportunity was missed with the Owen and Gin reconciliation. Here, I liked seeing Finn and Gin reconnect after he dismisses those who care about him in favor of a mother he never knew. I’m also happy to learn we’ll get a Finn point of view story, Unwanted (out in July), which I hope will delve further into Finn’s state of mind.
Overall, if you’re a fan of this series, I can’t imagine Bitter Bite being a disappointment to you. While it follows the same protocol as other books, I really felt a sense that we’re heading into the final act(s) of another story arc, if not the entire series.
Sexual content: sex