Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) by Jennifer EstepHow did I get it: I bought this book awhile ago from a Borders in Madison, WI.

Why did I get it: I’d been meaning to read this series for awhile, and after getting a review copy of Tangled Threads from Pocket Books, I felt a bit more motivated to finish. (This title will also count towards my Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge.)

How I would rate it: 4 out of 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.

Review: This book took me ages to get through. Mostly because I have a real tendency to read library books and review copies before books I actually own, but also because of the main story being slow to develop. The opening was really exciting and incredibly unique in a lot of ways, but then the book sort of wandered around for a bit before finally picking back up again.

The best part of the book had to have been Gin, which is something I haven’t been able to say about a lot of Urban Fantasy series with female main characters. In this case, I enjoyed Gin’s first person point of view. Above all else, I loved that she was equal parts competent and deadly, a winning combination that I would like to see more of. She was a bit sarcastic and cold at times, but in a way that made sense and wasn’t just a way to bait or piss off other characters. I think this is because Estep was successful in balancing out those negative aspects of Gin’s personality out with likable characteristics. Estep was also able to do so without saving the more important details in terms of Gin’s backstory for later books. There’s still plenty of issues and information left to reveal, but I never felt like I was being purposefully mislead or kept in the dark. Because of that, I can’t wait to see how Gin deals with her traumatic loss of her family and new truths revealed in the second book of the Elemental Assassin series, Web of Lies.

Over all, Estep’s writing was excellent and her world-builing was very well-done and enjoyable. I really appreciate Estep not bothering with endless sections of Wikipedia-like summaries of what life is like for elementals, giants, trolls, vampires, etc. By doing so, she allowed me as a reader to just sort of become submerged in a world with fairly familiar supernatural creatures without shifting through unnecesary explanations. And while elementals in of themselves might not be a new concept, I like the new spin Estep has taken on them here in Spider’s Bite.

I think the only disappointing aspect of this book was Donovan Caine and Gin eventually getting it on despite their obvious issues with one another. This is not to say that I blame Gin for being interested or that I minded her aggressively pursuing him, but I don’t need books, particularly those in the Urban Fantasy genre, to have failed or successful romantic subplots in order to somehow enhance my reading enjoyment. In Spider’s Bite, the interactions were handled in a believable way for the most part and it never completely derailed the major plot of the book, which was good. However, because this romantic-ish subplot was totally unneccesary and added only drama and angst, it was also incredibly irritating.

In conclusion, a fun start to a promising Urban Fantasy series with a very cool main character. One that I definitely plan on reading a bit faster from here on out too!


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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2 Responses to Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

  1. I have the first two books of this series on my shelf and want to get to them… yes, it will be a while but I have them and anticipate the day I get to them. 🙂 Thank you for the review.

  2. Pingback: Touch of Frost ~ Jennifer Estep « life and love of literature

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