Audio Review | Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

September 23, 2013 Audio Reviews 7 ★★★★

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Audio Review | Spider’s Bite by Jennifer EstepSpider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
Narrated by Lauren Fortgang
Series: Elemental Assassin #1
Published by Audible Frontiers on September 28, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Audio book length:11 hours 59 minutes
Format: Audiobook
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.

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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.

The Narration…

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.

The Characters…

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 might be an assassin, but never let it be said I wasn’t as gracious a hostess as the next gal. ~Gin
 Oh and she has the best sense of humor. There are some incredible one liners that come out of no where and just make you laugh. Gin is everything I love in a charcter: smart, sassy, determined, tough and tortured.

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.

Oh, Finn isn’t an assassin. He’s much, much worse. He’s a banker. ~Gin
But he’s also tough – not as tough as Gin – and he’s a total smart aleck. He may not be an assassin like Gin, but he knows the business and knows how to be her sidekick. They obviously have a deep, personal relationship and I love their ability to have silent conversations. And like any brother, he’s obnoxious and teases her. I loved every minute.

Maybe I find him…interesting. Attractive in an uptight sort of way. But that won’t keep me from killing him if he does something stupid—like try to double-cross us. That is something thats nonnegotiable, no matter how much fuck potential he might have. ~Gin
Finally there’s Detective Donovan Caine. Right from the start Gin’s fantasizing about the “good detective” because he’s pretty damn sexy. But he’s also good and Gin can’t trust him. He’s one of the only upstanding detectives on the police force, so he doesn’t exactly want to play nice. His attitude toward Gin is sometimes frustrating because he’s so determined to see her as an assassin that he can’t seem to see that she just might be the good guy at the moment, while those he works with are the corrupt bad guys. The incredible sexual tension between Donovan and Gin is heightened by the fact that he is disgusted by what she stands for and she doesn’t trust him as far she she could throw him (which I imagine is pretty far).

The Story…

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.

Concluding Sentiments…

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.

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About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin adult urban fantasy series for Pocket. Books in the series are SPIDER’S BITE, WEB OF LIES, VENOM, TANGLED THREADS, SPIDER’S REVENGE, BY A THREAD, and WIDOW’S WEB. THREAD OF DEATH, an e-novella, is also available.


DEADLY STING, the eighth book, is set to be released on March 26, 2013.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington.

Books in the series are TOUCH OF FROST, KISS OF FROST, and DARK FROST. CRIMSON FROST, the fourth book, is set to be released on Dec. 24, 2012.

FIRST FROST, a prequel e-story to the series, is available as a download. HALLOWEEN FROST, an e-short story, is available in the ENTANGLED e-anthology.

Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. Books in the superhero-themed series are KARMA GIRL, HOT MAMA, JINX, and NIGHTINGALE. A KARMA GIRL CHRISTMAS, an e-story, is also available.


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7 Responses to “Audio Review | Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep”

    • Berls

      Thanks Jennifer! I have a feeling Gin is going to be one of my favorite MCs – she’s just incredible. We’ll have to see about Donovan. I don’t feel like I’ve heard anything about him, so I’m a little suspicious. I usually hear about the great romantic interests before I start popular books, but no Donovan!

    • Berls

      I can definitely see why – I was so impressed with Estep every step of the way. She’s created a really interesting and unique world and some great characters. I love to hear that though, because some series start strong and then by the later books I’m wondering what happened to them. Good to know that I don’t have to worry about it with this one (at least so far)!

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