Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Series: Elemental Assassin #1
Published by Audible Frontiers on September 28, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 11 hours 59 minutes
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.
My Initial Reaction…
Spider’s Bite is an action-packed emotional ride, with solidly complex characters and a unique magical world that I look forward to getting to know better. As the first book in the Elemental Assassins series, Spider Bite didn’t really suffer from what I call “first book syndrome.” The world building was fantastic, but didn’t weigh down the story.
Lauren Fortgang is a good narrator. Her voice for Gin really embodied a tough, yet southern, girl and her voices for other characters were distinct and appropriate. My main complaint was her pacing; she spoke so slow. Now, if you have one of the audible apps that lets you change the speed, this isn’t a big deal and you’ll probably have no complaints. I don’t and found it annoying. I’ll continue listening to the series though, so it didn’t bother me that much.
I love Gin! LOL not the drink (well, I guess that’s okay too) but the heroine of Spider’s Bite. Her opening line is fantabulous: “My name is Gin and I kill people.” I think one of the things I love most about Gin is that she’s skilled, not flashy. She’s an assassin, but she doesn’t go for guns or explosives and she rarely uses her elemental abilities. No, she’s the quiet, precise killer using knives, careful planning, and her brain. The Spider, her assassin moniker, is a very appropriate name for her. And she’s so much more than a killer. Gin feels very deeply, even if she does hide her feelings behind a rough exterior most the time. And Jennifer Estep writes those emotions so beautifully – my heart went out for Gin on numerous occasions and I even shed a few tears. Gin also has morals; she may be a killer, but she has a code. And she has a soft side. Some of the best moments are when Gin is in her kitchen cooking.
I really love the supporting characters in Spider’s Bite as well. They’re well developed and their dialogue with Gin is great. Finnigan (Fin) Lane, Gin’s adoptive brother, is the perfect compliment to Gin’s personality. He is a womanizer, complete with the rugged good looks, charm, and oodles of money.
Jennifer Estep has created a really fascinating and marvelously complex fantasy world with Spider’s Bite. There are dwarves, vampires, and Elementals, the name for magic users. They’re called Elementals because they can harness specific elements (either air, fire, stone or ice). It’s a gift they are born with, to varying degrees of strength and combinations of elemental skills. Gin is a stone elemental, with a little bit of ice power, and those abilities combined with some killer instincts and fabulous training have made her one of the most sought after assassins: The Spider. We meet Gin while in the middle of a job and I was immediately impressed with her and intrigued by the possibilities of elemental magic. The story really picks up however, when her next job goes horribly wrong. She’s been double crossed and no one double crosses the Spider. The story then becomes a mystery of trying to figure out who double crossed her and why. And all the while, whoever it was wants her and everyone she cares about dead. Not to mention that the “good detective” Donovan Cane saw Gin and has released an image of her as an assassin, so the cops (most of whom are dirty and probably on the mysterious double crossers payroll) are also looking for her.
On top of the main story is Gin’s subtly written back story filled with a mystery of its own. Estep masterfully weaves in flashbacks and hints about Gin’s past, making you more and more curious. This is clearly a mystery that will stay with the series for a while – maybe it will be the link carrying the series forward, I think it really could.
It’s an incredible race filled with some really great action scenes, fun banter, and a decent mystery. There were a few moments that were just a little too obvious for me, but for the most part Estep kept me on my toes. I really enjoyed this world that Estep has created and look forward to reading more stories set within it.