Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #1)


Spider's Bite by Jennifer EstepSpider’s Bite (Elemental Assassin #1)
Jennifer Estep
Published: Jan. 2010 (Pocket)
Purchase at: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Gin Blanco is the kind of protagonist I love. She knows who she is and is completely at ease taking charge. Also, she has wry wit, which is always appreciated.

Spider’s Bite heroine Gin kills people for a living. She’s an assassin, and has never had any real qualms about killing people. They deserve it. She’s good at it. And it’s never personal. However, when a client sets her up to be murdered, to take the fall for some nasty things and involve her family — well, she’s going to make them pay.

While Gin uses typical fighting skills, she is actually an elemental. She, like others within the Elemental Assassins world, is one who can wield magic tied to her element. She can call on stone to bring down a building if she wanted, but, well, that’s too easy. Plus, those who use their magic too much go insane. While investigating who is after her, we get to meet some engaging characters including a vampire former prostitute, a goth who loves to dispose of bodies and even an air elemental who runs a salon.

There’s a great juxtaposition of high society and its seedy underbelly. Mob queens out flaunt their power on the charity circuit and just about every cop is dirty. I say just about because the one good guy left on the force, Donovon Caine, finds himself under attack from the same person after Gin. They strike a truce, though he tells her he’ll hunt her down the moment it ends. I liked these two together. Gin makes no apologies about her serious crush on the detective and I appreciated her owning her sexuality by taking the lead.

There were a few writing quirks that threw me off while reading Spider’s Bite —  mostly repetition of phrasing — but I believe they may be purposeful. Gin is methodical. She will wait as long as it takes to get revenge. So, it makes sense that she might say the same things or repeat her process of strapping on knives, each time. The function is well-thought, but I kept thinking “I just read that.”

With such a rich world, Spider’s Bite offers so much potential for an amazing series, especially as Gin begins to question what she really wants out of life. The events of Spider’s Bite shake her, and I will definitely continue with the series to see how she progresses. Fun and edgy, Jennifer Estep’s writing voice hooked me. I’m game for more.

Sexual content: Sex scene

7 Responses to “Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #1)”

  1. Carol says:

    I started Spider Bite several months ago and couldn’t get into it. But I keep seeing the later books get 4 star ratings on Good Reads. Should I suck it up and make it through the first one? I only read a few chapters, so maybe I didn’t give it a chance. By the way, I’m finishing up the Otherkin series that you recommended to me on Facebook last week. I have enjoyed it! I have about 200 pages left in the series. I would say Dagen was my favorite brother (something about him sucking on lollipops;-), and I think I like Bryn the best of the girls. Love her rambling.

    • Spider’s Bite is a good first book. The romance angle is a bit more blunt (it makes sense for the heroine).

      So glad you’re loving the Otherkin series.

      • Carol says:

        I re-started Spider’s Bite last night. I apparently stopped previously about 3 pages before it got good. Now, I’m enjoying it. Enjoy your weekend!

      • I dunno. I liked the book okay, but I thought the romance angle was totally forced and showed up in the weirdest places. For such a “focused professional” I thought she picked odd times to try seduction (like that closet scene. That made no sense. If you’re waiting on the enemy, maybe you should keep an eye on them? Make sure they aren’t going to come around the back way and stab you?) It was a terribly jarring note in a character that stayed in character for most of the book. Shrug. I haven’t decided whether to continue the series or not.

  2. Denise Z says:

    I have had this series on my wishlist. Thank you for sharing today.

  3. Alexander says:

    Great review! I`m reading this for sure!

  4. Smash Attack says:

    Wry wit, elemental magic, a strong, confident heroine? I need to quit putting this series off!

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