Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

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Title: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
Published: January 26th 2010 by Pocket Books
Page Count: 395
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating: 4 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.

It’s taken me so long to even pick these books up. What a mistake. I enjoyed the first one immensely and can’t wait to jump into the rest. You can expect me to be here in Urban Fantasy Appalachia for awhile.

I will admit, halfway through reading this book, I took a deep breath, stopped and went immediately to find the novellas (most of which are free on the author’s website, praise the powers that be!). So, I read those before going back to the book. I will include small blurbs about those as well, but I would consider them more vignettes than novellas. They were still great additions to the overall storyline.

Poison is from a young Finn’s point of view, illustrating his feelings about having a new person in the family who overshadows him, culminating in his feelings for Gin shifting when she protects him from an early demise. Web of Deceit is from Flecher’s point of view, a look at Gin’s first assassination contract and overwhelming feelings for Gin herself, the job, and their (still yet mysteriously) intertwined past. Spider’s Bargain was about Gin’s job killing Caine’s partner, which is the main romance conflict in the book. Overall, the novellas themselves didn’t take away from the book, but the book could also have been read without them. It just added some extra words and interesting tidbits overall.

I will admit. I was burned out on paranormal romance and urban fantasy pretty early (reading Anita Blake in high school will do that to you), and so switched over to Ann Aguirre and then young adult books. I’m glad to be coming back and reading more of the genre now. It’s really just what I needed, something familiar but fun.

Gin’s an assassin. She has latent elemental powers which allow her to control stone and is also less adept at ice magic. The magical system in this book overall is very interesting. What people can do with their elemental affinities is varied and keeps you guessing, yet never feels overwhelming or gimmicky. She is hired to take out a man who has been accused of embezzling funds.

She is hired to take out a man who has been accused of embezzling funds. The money is too good to pass up, and so Gin takes it, even though she a) just got back from a job, and b) really could use a vacation. Her handler and father figure, Fletcher wants her to retire, but hey, the money is still too good to pass up. She could retire immediately with this payout. So, Gin takes it the job, and that’s when everything goes pear shaped. Double-crossed, on the run from the law, with Fletcher dead, Gin has to clear her name and get revenge.

The book itself takes a logical path, information gathering and so forth. There’s some close calls, and an unlikely romance with the grumpiest police officer, Donavan Caine, who has to battle with his feelings for Gin, and his need to get revenge on his partner’s killer, who also happens to be Gin. It’s the perfect cocktail for a rage boner. I can’t wait to see what comes next with them.

This book was just fun urban fantasy. I had a good time reading it. I liked Gin’s somewhat lax sense of fashion, her crass sense of humor, her weird sexual monologs about tight pants. Really, I just enjoyed the whole package and I’m going to go start the next one right now.

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