Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Review: Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

HELLO! Time for a review of one of my favourite books at the moment, Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep, Book 1 in the Elemental Assassin series. Gin kicks some major ass in this :)

Title: Spider's Bite
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: 15th April 2010 (UK) | 26th January 2010 (US)
Series: Elemental Assassin, Book 1
Source: My personal copy

Blurb from Goodreads:
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:
First Line: '"My name is Gin, and I kill people." Normally my confession would have elicited gasps of surprise. Pale faces. Nervous sweat. Stifled screams. An overturned chair or two as people scrambled to get away before I buried a knife in their heart- or back. A sucking wound was a sucking wound. I wasn't picky about where I caused it.'
And that ladies and gentlemen, is Gin Blanco in all her glory. Can you see why I love her already?! The opening chapter just gets better, you know a couple of assassinations and lots more wit...what more could a girl ask for. Gin Blanco is an assassin...and not just any assassin. She's the Spider. The best and highest paid assassin in the South. Gin really is just that good. I mean she has been training to kill since she was 13, ever since the brutal murder of her family at the hands of a fire elemental. Gin was tortured that night...her once precious Silverstone rune was taped between her hands and super-heated by the fire elemental...causing the metal to melt into her skin permanently. That rune? Well it was a Spider...the symbol for patience...and a rune Gin has lived her life by ever since.
Anyway, Gin accepts a contract under her assassin moniker The Spider... to assassinate Chief financial officer at Halo Industries but things don't go exactly as planned. Once in position for the kill, Gin is ambushed by a fellow assassin. She'd been double crossed by the client and is now in the fight for her life. The Spider had been set up to take the fall for the assassination...only she wasn't supposed to live to defend herself. To escape, Gin throws herself off a balcony into the river below...but not before a heated (in more ways than one) confrontation with Ashland's golden boy, Detective Donovan Caine.
Dripping wet and injured from her unplanned swim, Gin returns home to find Fletcher Lane, her mentor and handler, dead on the floor of his restaurant. Fletcher had been ruthlessly tortured by an Air Elemental for information on The Spiders whereabouts, and then murdered. Gin's heart is shattered. She loved the old man like a father...and now she's out for revenge...God help you if you stand in her way.
'As I crouched there over Fletcher's bloody body, a faint scuffle sounded. A slight, scraping noise that intruded upon my grief. More than enough to snap my cold, calm control back into place. A shadow fell over the pools of Fletcher's drying blood, turning the crimson puddles an inky black.
Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
My fingers tightened around the knife in my hand. I turned and whirled it an the man behind me. The metal flashed through the air and sank into his right arm. He howled in pain and lunged at me, slashing with a switch-blade. I sidestepped his clumsy, awkward blow. Using his own momentum, I shoved the man forward. He crashed into the counter and fell to the floor. I leaped on him and knocked the blade out of his hand.'
Our heroine is Gin Blanco aka the Spider. She isn't your typical heroine, she's an assassin. She kills people for money and isn't ashamed of what she does. Don't get me wrong, Gin isn't completely cold-hearted. No kids, no pets and no innocents but whatever you do, don't confuse these rules with weakness. Gin doesn't harm the defenceless because of her past. Her family's murder, her torture...they still plague her nightmares. But if you come at her, or anyone she loves...you better make sure you can kill Gin...because the Spider will come at you full force, there will be no mercy. She will listen to you plead for your life and not bat an eyelid...then cut your throat. Believe me, this woman is as far from defenceless as you can get.
Gin is a double threat, she not only has wicked cool knife skills, but she can command two of the elements. Ice and Stone. She's the rarest of the rare, an elemental with command over two elements. Admittedly her stone power is much greater than her ice magic but she can still bring down a building if she has to, or turn her skin as hard as marble. It's these skill she'll need to take out the Air elemental who murdered Fletcher...but will it be enough?
I found it very interesting that Gin did not rely on her elemental magic to kill her targets...but I can't help but wonder why because it wasn't 100% clear to me. I kind of got the vibe that Gin didn't like using her magic...a connection to her past maybe? Or just because she likes the challenge of killing with her knives, keeping her skills honed...I don't know, and that bugs me.

Gin has a romantic interest of sorts in Spider's Bite, but it's not a romance novel...not even close. Gin's interest in Detective Donovan Caine is almost a mixture of lust and curiosity. I for one, dislike Caine's character. Sure he's just about the only cop in Ashland who isn't on the take, but still, he's so up himself that it's annoying. His superiority and quick judgement of Gin threw me right off. Gin's more than an assassin, but Caine can't see past it...he's still happy to sleep with her though! It works well in a weird way, but still doesn't mean I like Donovan Cain's character...he seems to throw his morals right out the window whenever it suits him, but still acts superior to Gin *sigh* and just assumes she's the devil incarnate. Sure there was the small issue of Gin killing his partner but the man raped a child, and for that Gin killed him Pro-bono. See, not the Devil incarnate...just a regular, knife happy assassin, who hates cruelty to the innocent.

All in all, I really enjoyed Spider's Bite. It's certainly a series with a lot of potential, and to be honest...Gin scares the crap out of me, but I love her and I will be adding this series to my 'must buy' list :) A great addition to the Urban Fantasy genre.

My Rating: 4/5

2 comments:

Shane said...

Wow! What a thorough review. This book seems really interesting too. Thank you!

http://itchingforbooks.blogspot.com

Vikki said...

@Shane
Hey Shane, thanks for dropping by. Glad you liked the review. It's a great series I'd definitely recommend it :)

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