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Spider's Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 1 | [Jennifer Estep]

Spider's Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 1

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

The first installment in Jennifer Estep's new Elemental Assassin series, Spider's Bite introduces us to Ashland, a southern city in the Appalachians where you're as likely to run across a good barbeque joint as you are a vampire hooker on the corner. It's a gritty film noir-ish world with lots of back alleys, hit squads, and corrupt cops behind most every badge. The main character is Gin Blanco, or Gin to her friends, but in some circles she's known only as Spider the assassin. However, in the secretive world of Ashland, she and her cohorts seem to be just as trustworthy and honorable as the next guy — but are they? Everyone in this town has an angle, a history — and it seems most have blood on their hands.

Actress Lauren Fortgang does a fascinating balancing act voicing Gin. There's ample southern lilt and sly naughty charm to bring the material to life, and there is considerable music and imagery to be mined here in the writing. Yet her voice has enough bite and gravel to ground our no-nonsense morally ambiguous anti-heroine. The challenge for any good book in the urban fantasy genre is the paradox of making wildly fantastical worlds believable. Estep manages to take Ashland — this world of troubled souls, dwarfs, giants, and vampires, as well as human elementals who can tap into the very forces of nature — and make it all seem part of the everyday grind. With Spider's Bite you feel as if you could really walk these streets, but you'd also immediately feel the dirt on your skin and the hairs rising on the back of your neck as you hear noises in the shadows. Fortgang completes the task, making Gin a very believable character, somehow part embittered hard-ass, part loyal friend, and vulnerable lost soul on occasion.

The book takes a cue from its main character. It is patient, carefully spinning a web of atmospheric settings and carefully observed characters — then like a spider it jumps into action from the dark. Ashland is a tricky place and you can never judge anyone by appearances, especially Gin, and it seems there's a long line of those who have died underestimating her. One should be wary, though, of any sexy southern charmer who can not only summon razor-sharp ice daggers from thin air, but also control the very bricks in walls, rocks, and stones, and the very ground beneath her. —Cleo Creech

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Jennifer Estep (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Fortgang’s captivating drawl sketches Finn’s flirty, genteel arrogance and Caine’s horrified disapproval of her. Fortgang portrays Gin’s well-hidden emotions as well as her habitual analysis of combat probabilities. The capable narration ensures that Gin comes across as an intriguing mix of battle-weary assassin, sorceress, and affectionate homebody. Fortgang also delivers the book’s wry humor with subtle elegance." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2995 )
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4.1 (2335 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Karen Victoria, TX, United States 03-09-12
    Karen Victoria, TX, United States 03-09-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WHY"

    OK, started out really really slow, got better about 1/2 way thru, but still not understanding all the great reviews...guess it just depends on ones tastes in books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kat Fairbanks, AK, United States 02-28-12
    Kat Fairbanks, AK, United States 02-28-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Basically Good"
    Where does Spider's Bite rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Middle of the pack. Nothing to set it apart either among the best or worst.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Spider's Bite?

    The beginning. Really, that was a fabulous hook. What followed, however, was also memorable in the opposite sense -- it bored me to the point that I wished it would be over already. About 5-6 hours in it picked up again for me.


    Which character – as performed by Lauren Fortgang – was your favorite?

    The main character. She can do raspy very well, and some nice drawls, but there wasn't a lot of character distinction for me. Still though, she has a lovely voice and the audio portion was pleasant.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The author has an issue with repetition. Yes, I know Gin's eyes are grey. I know the detective's eyes are hazel/gold/amber/other colorful and descriptive synonyms. I know Fletcher's son (what's-his-name) has green eyes. You do not need to tell me this every single time you mention someone's eyes. It went from irritating to frustrating to making me feel apathetic every time it was mentioned.

    Also, the chemistry between the detective and Gin felt flat and uninspired at parts. I understand this is likely categorized as romance, but if you can't fit in a developing relationship within a book in such a way as to fittingly lead to sex, DON'T TRY. Leave it for the next book.

    Overall it was decent enough that I might pick up the next one if nothing better catches my attention, but nothing special to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy T Jacksonville, FL USA 02-05-12
    Tracy T Jacksonville, FL USA 02-05-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Not good at all"

    No story other than killing. nothing personal about the character at all,. dont waste your credit or dollars.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Wakool, Australia 02-03-12
    Andrea Wakool, Australia 02-03-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Truely a great listen"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Spider's Bite to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the book but the narrators voice and accent really make the story come to life.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Spider's Bite?

    When Gin rescued Finn.


    What does Lauren Fortgang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her amazing voice and accents.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me wish it would never end but am so glad there is a series.


    Any additional comments?

    This story adds a whole new angle to supernatural stories, it is refreshingly different.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chantale 02-02-12
    Chantale 02-02-12 Member Since 2012

    I just love to read but seems like I'm always driving. Audible made it possible to do both. Now my poor radio in my car hasn't been used in a long time. More outrageous the story the better. I read to take a brake from life not to start thinking about it.

    ratings
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    "Just plain entertaining!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely! Estep has the knack for having a nice balance of seriousness, sarcasm, romance and reality reality that lets you just fall into her world and connect with the main character (even if your not an assassin yourself).

    Definitely one for my


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gin/ Spider... Just love her


    Which character – as performed by Lauren Fortgang – was your favorite?

    It would be even between Gin (she soooo make it her own) and FINNEGAN LANE (he turns out so suave and perfect with his description)!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Luck is a capricious bitch!


    Any additional comments?

    I've actually read the books... But Lauren Fortgang does such a great job with the voices... It was worth it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reecia Thompson Stoglin Arlington, Texas USA 01-20-12
    Reecia Thompson Stoglin Arlington, Texas USA 01-20-12 Member Since 2007

    Re'

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Spider's Bite to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print version. I like hearing the characters,


    What other book might you compare Spider's Bite to and why?

    None


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Her working in the Pork Pit and bantering with Fletcher and Quinn.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A unforgettable series that will keep you coming back for more!


    Any additional comments?

    This was a series I started with a promotion from Audible! After the first book I was hooked and didn't stop until I blazed through all of them!!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc Beaverton, OR, United States 11-21-11
    Marc Beaverton, OR, United States 11-21-11
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    "Fun listen! Thanks Jennifer."

    This kind of book is a bit like eating chocolate. It's probably not great for the brain, but it is just an indulgent goody of a book. A hot gal, tough as nails, but damaged in many ways, goes out and kicks butt on bad guys. What isn't to like about that!!?

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jess 10-23-11
    Jess 10-23-11
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    "Totally Addictive"

    This story is fantastic, completely addictive. I loved every minute. I can't wait to get the rest of the series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha 07-23-11
    Martha 07-23-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Couldn't put it down!"

    Wow, what a great narrator! She brought this book to life. I bought this book on sale and now must have the rest of the series. Great interesting characters. Definitely worth a credit!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana CHANDLER, AZ, United States 06-19-11
    Diana CHANDLER, AZ, United States 06-19-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "THIS SERIES ROCKS"

    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST WRITTEN SERIES I HAVE EVER READ. ADDICTING! ACTION, HUMOR, ROMANCE ALL WRAPPED UP WITH INTERESTING CHARACTERS AND A GRIPPING STORY LINE. LOVED IT

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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