Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
My name is Gin Blanco. They call me the Spider--the most feared assassin in the South (and a part-time cook at the Pork Pit BBQ joint.) As a Stone elemental, I can hear the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet and feel the vibrations of the soaring mountains above me, though I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.
After a ruthless Air elemental double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way. I may look hot in a miniskirt, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble when irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine agrees to help. The last thing a coldhearted killer needs when she's battling a magic more powerful than her own is a sexy distraction... especially when he wants her dead just as much as the enemy.
Spider's Bite is the first book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.
I will admit that I picked this book up on a whim, I was in need of a change from YA and I wanted something that wasn't about werewolves, vampires or set in a dystopian world. So obviously that led me straight to elemental assassin - well duh!
Overall I really enjoyed Spider's Bite, but the one aspect that I found a little strange to get over was the positive spin Jennifer Estep gives on being an Assassin. Jennifer Estep goes out of her way to make Gin a good guy, only killing the scum of the city and in Gin's world there are no shortages of bad guys. I doubt that an assassin could ever be a complete good guy and Gin doesn't like to turn down a pay cheque, I imagine that being the good guy really wouldn't be the case in the daily grind of an assassin's life.
The city that Gin lives in reminded me a lot of Gotham city, you know that type of hugely corrupt and violent society where people could see an Assassin as a problem solver to a multitude of problems, But, as well as Gin being an elemental, magic and supernatural's run rampant all over the place, some good, some evil and some somewhere in between just trying to go about life as usual.
The writing was good and the story was paced just perfectly and there was never a dull moment. In fact, there was quite a lot of action in this book and I loved Gin's tough ass approach to life. Gin also has a rarer than normal elemental ability she can manipulate stone, it's all very cool and far better explained in the book than I could describe. I enjoyed reading about something that bit different.
Of course there was an element of romance in this book but it wasn't the main focus, it was just a much added bonus. There was an instant attraction between Gin and Donovan Caine right from the beginning and I loved that it wasn't an easy relationship between them. I did think that Gin might have been able to do better but I liked that the Spider's Bite wasn't one of those overly easy relationship where the two people just seem to fall into each other consequences be damned.
I did have a few small quibbles with this book, there was a lot repetition of small details - Chicory coffee was mentioned so many times that I found it a bit distracting. Especially considering I don't even know what Chicory coffee is? Someone? Anyone? Is it an American thing? Something my UK palette wouldn't be able to cope with?
There was also quite a lot of repetition about where Gin hid her trusty knives on her body, she has a five point system and I'm sure anyone that's read this book lately will be able to quote where those prime locations are without hesitation. On the plus side if I ever decided to become a magic wielding, knife fighting, kickass assassin then I will have a heads up on where to store my cutlery and what to parch my thirst with.
I really love that feeling when you discover a new series that is good and already has quite a few of the next books already written and published. I will definitely be added the next in the series to my bookshelves and soon.
Recommended? Definitely. It was a great read from beginning to end.
Four out of five stars
Genre - Adult, urban-fantasy
Published by Pocket Star (Jan 2010)
Kindle - 436 pages (£7.99)