Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review - Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, Book 1) by Jennifer Estep (5/5 stars)

I was eager to read this book because it sounded like some of the other series I really like (Kate Daniels, Jane Yellowrock, Dorina Basarab).  It was a great read and I strongly suggest it to people who are fans of kick-butt women in an urban fantasy setting.

Gin is the Spider, an assassin with a reputation for getting the job done.  When Gin takes on a new assignment things go horribly wrong.  Someone tries to pull a hit on Gin while she is trying to take out a target.  That same someone kills her handler and beats up her best friend and suddenly the whole thing has become personal.  Gin has to figure out who double-crossed her and why that someone wants her dead.  Helping her out is best friend and bank tycoon Finn; as well as the unlikely ally Donovan Caine, a policeman who is out for Gin's blood because of one of her old hits, whose life is in as much danger as hers.

This was a great read.  There is a ton of action here and it is all well done.  There is blood galore and Gin's sassy, kick-butt attitude makes this a perfect assassin book.  Add into that the nifty world that Estep has created and you have a winner.  Gin is an Elemental and uses Stone and Ice magic to help her through tight spots.  Having the Elementals is creative and interesting; their magic is fascinating.  There are also a number of other interesting creatures in the world Estep has created; giants, dwarves, and vampires to name a few.  All of this is set in the scenic setting of current day Ashland.

This book is very fast paced and hard to put down.  I read the whole thing in a day and was sad when it was over.  I liked that Estep didn't run Gin completely ragged; it made the story more realistic.  Gin needs to sleep, takes time to eat, and time to heal when she's injured.  Estep must really love food, because she gets pretty detailed in describing the prep of some of Gin's meals.  This worked fine with the story but made me really hungry at times :-)

Gin herself has a deep history and it is dark and tortured.  She was tortured as a young girl and literally brought down her family's home.  She lived on the streets for a while.  In this book we don't learn a lot but what we do learn makes you want to know more.  Gin deals with her job and history with a sharp sense of humor that keeps her job kind of fun...if being an assassin can be called fun.

All of the side characters were interesting too, they have interesting histories and intricate personalities.  The heat and hate between Gin and Donovan was interesting and I hope that plays out more in the next book.  This book did a good job at wrapping up the main storyline and throwing out a little tidbit at the end that will keep readers wondering what Gin will do next.

All in all this book was a winner.  I really have no complaints.  The world was creative, the characters engaging, the plot was tight.  Estep's writing style is kind of no-nonsense, not much description...it really worked for this character and this book. 

Overall I loved this book and am really looking forward to reading more books in this series.  Everything here is spot on.  If you like any of the following series I think you would love this book: Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, Dorina Basarab by Karen Chance, Jaz Parks by Jennifer Rardin, or Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter.  Check it out you won't be disappointed!

This book goes toward the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, Book 1) 

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