Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spider's Bite

Title: Spider's Bite

Author: Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Pocket Books Urban Fantasy

Copyright Date: 2010

Print Date: February 2010

ISBN: 9781439147979

Pages: 395

Series: 1st in Elemental Assassin series

Book Description (from back cover):

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.

I've heard great things about this book for the past year ... good writing, good story, good characters. And best of all? The theme is just my kind of thing. An assassin (urban) fantasy! So why did it take me so long to actually read it? I don't know. I can only be thankful that there was a copy available when I checked out the sales at the local Borders that just closed down, and that I remembered that Spider's Bite was a book I wanted to read.

I very much enjoyed reading Spider's Bite. At first, the voice reminded me a little of Simon R. Green's Nightshade series — that weary voice of someone making their way in a corrupt world. Then it kind of took on it's own voice.

I really liked Gin, assassin or no. I liked how loyal she was to he few she loved. I liked that she had here own standards that she wouldn't compromise. Despite apparently having a different woman for every night, Flinn was also a great character. He added a great sense of humor, despite a tragic loss, throughout a mostly dark story. And as for Detective Donovan Caine, well, he was a good character as well. He actually felt a bit too uptight. But if this happened in real life? I'd be just as uptight and stiff in my morals, so I'm in no position to criticize or complain.

As for the story itself... the "world" was interesting. I enjoy stories with magic based on elements (Mercedes Lackey and Tamora Pierce come to mind), and everything seemed to fit in this place where so much is corrupt. Add to that both a tragic past for Gin and a strong emotional motivation for any current actions (if that sounds vague, it's because I don't want to give anything away)...

Then to top it all off there's a lovely surprise ending. The main drawback, for me, was when Gin was fantasizing (or more) about Donovan. But I know that isn't a detractor for most and it didn't overtake the book in any case.

I'm trying to figure out how to get my hands on the next book, Web of Lies. I can't afford to buy any more books, and the library only has the 3rd book, Venom, not Spider's Bite or Web of Lies (though I did put in a purchase request, so we'll see). My other option is to wait on PBS, and that's liable to take FOREVER.

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