Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to. I’ve been reading the likes of Briggs, Harrison, and Butcher lately, so I was understandably nervous that Spider’s Bite might fall short of such high standards. While it wasn’t quite as brilliant, it definitely holds its own within the urban fantasy genre.
I now more than ever appreciate Jennifer Estep for her great ideas. This urban fantasy world contains Elementals who, you guessed it, control the elements. On top of that, there’s the usual array of paranormal creatures, so the combination of magic and paranormal (of this specific variety) is within itself an interesting twist that I haven’t come across before. Considering how many urban fantasies I’ve read, that’s getting harder and harder to do. Top everything off with a kickass assassin with an interesting back story, and I’m sold! It had the same creative appeal as her Mythos Academy series (which I also enjoyed).
Even though the ideas and themes behind the book were my favorite elements, I also appreciated the characters. As I mentioned before, I really liked Gin and especially appreciated how she handled herself in deadly situations – she’s definitely one tough cookie! She was also an incredibly consistent character, by which I mean she didn’t turn into a pansy when something tragic happened, thereby maintaining her assassin persona. Although she was sad, her focus quickly shifted to getting even. I definitely don’t mind when characters get emotional within books, but a simpering heap of an assassin would have ruined her badass character profile. I also loved Caine as a potential love interest and enjoyed the dynamic he and Gin had right from the start.
Really, there weren’t many things I didn’t like about the story. Sure, it lacked a little bit of complexity (as the story was pretty straightforward), but what was there was done really well. The only thing that bothered me a little is almost too stupid to mention (which means I’m going to talk about it for at least a paragraph): Estep had a reoccurring descriptive lead-in that fixated on the characters’ eyes. “I looked at him with my gray eyes,” “he peered at me with his golden eyes,” “her green eyes widened in surprise.”… You get the idea. It was actually a clever way to draw attention to a unique feature, but it happened so often (at least once a chapter) that it was almost funny. My hazel eyes are going to light up with delight if I catch more than a couple in the next book. :-)
Overall, I consider Spider’s Bite and entertaining read and definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of the urban fantasy genre. I will definitely be continuing on in the series.
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