We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Spider's Bite Audiobook

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.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (3474 )
5 star
 (1179)
4 star
 (1258)
3 star
 (650)
2 star
 (221)
1 star
 (166)
Overall
3.9 (2797 )
5 star
 (977)
4 star
 (974)
3 star
 (540)
2 star
 (170)
1 star
 (136)
Story
4.1 (2783 )
5 star
 (1241)
4 star
 (931)
3 star
 (413)
2 star
 (109)
1 star
 (89)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Erik Stavanger, Norway 08-13-12
    Erik Stavanger, Norway 08-13-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sarcastically cool"
    What made the experience of listening to Spider's Bite the most enjoyable?

    Lauren Fortgang's narration. The book would have been cool to read, but was made sarcastically cool by her.


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

    Gin Blanco - the Spider


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debby TAMPA, FL, United States 08-09-12
    Debby TAMPA, FL, United States 08-09-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Join this unlikely assassin"
    Would you listen to Spider's Bite again? Why?

    This unlikely assassin is found starving in the streets, hiding from the woman who killed her family, by the assassin who turned down the job because his moral code does not allow him to kill children. She is trained as an assassin from this point, an assassin with a "moral code" who just wants to retire (having made plenty of money in her career). Her small group of magic wielding and totally human friends back up the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa NAMPA, ID, United States 08-02-12
    Teresa NAMPA, ID, United States 08-02-12 Member Since 2015

    Hello, my name is Teresa and I'm an addict.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    707
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    753
    659
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    158
    110
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Verdict is still out."

    Although I enjoyed this book somewhat, it was a slow going because of the narrator. She did an okay job with the reading but I can’t help thinking the story would have been better with a different narrator. I have listened to other stuff that Lauren Fortgang has narrated and thought she did an okay job.

    Not at all, what I thought this book would be like. The characters don’t seem to have much depth to them, although she eludes to tragic events happening in the past to Gin that has created the cold, brutal B**** that she is, I don’t feel connected with the any of the characters. I agree with another review how annoying it is when she talks about her grey eyes all the time. I will give the next book a shot and see where it goes.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula San Jose, CA, United States 07-19-12
    Paula San Jose, CA, United States 07-19-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Simplistic and a bit tedious..."

    Another heroine filled with angst believing she is responsible for her family and friend's death? Really? It's all her fault? I just didn't buy it. It's a fun idea with the "elementals" and their different levels of ability living in a corrupt city - very dark. But the main character repeats herself regularly - rehashing her own and others' motivation - blah! It gets old and a bit sappy - kind of adolescent. Maybe the characters are supposed to be cartoonish? Good guy - oh, so good and naive. Bad guys - unconscionable and stupid? I will say the narrator used wonderful accents and played with the pace nicely - really set the atmosphere.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda L Florida 06-08-12
    Brenda L Florida 06-08-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow, predictable, monotonous, and contrived"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Action and sex scenes were about as exciting as watching grass grow. The narration was monotone and soft, though clearly spoken. I felt no emotions when listening to this book.


    What was most disappointing about Jennifer Estep’s story?

    The storyline, while promising, is very predictable. The descriptions of eye color and other adjectives are overusd, as well as the words b*tch and f--k.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Her voice was soft and monotone. I felt little difference with character shifting and could not differentiate between anger, sadness, or elation.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The storyline is compelling and I see a lot of promise in it. Gin is a complex woman who I feel will grow into a brilliant character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D'Guerra Houston, TX, United States 05-29-12
    D'Guerra Houston, TX, United States 05-29-12 Member Since 2010

    I born a long time ago and grew up to be who I am today.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could have used a better editor."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I'm on the fence with this book. The characters are fun if not a little too Mary Sue/Gary Stu (really, a computer hacker/financier/car-jacker/marksman/thief who has a way with the ladies?) Most of the characters just seem to be an expert and whatever skill they need to force the scene to carry on but the contrived scenes are offset by good characters. The mythos is creative, but the prose is wordy. For every good thing about this book there is something that I feel and good editor should have asked to see cut.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    First thing I would have asked is for the word "silverstone" be limited to at least once per chapter. Even better, just stop using it since everything seems to be made of the stuff from Gin's knives, to normal kitchen knives, to gardening tools, hand cuffs and car keys (I'm making up that last one). Worse is every time she mentions the knives, which can be several times in one chapter, we're reminded they are made of silverstone. Also, I'd avoid the overly contrived subtext that everyone Gin opposes in the book is either tortures people to death or sexually depraved. It's like Estep is trying to make Gin a anti-hero by proving she only kills people who truly deserve it.


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

    This is actually the best part of book. Fortgang probably gives this book more life than I would have imagined if I reading this myself. Audible is probably the best way to go with this one in particular.


    Could you see Spider's Bite being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I do. Probably on the CW where the focus is a limited cast of good looking people with very little in the way of moral ambiguity.


    Any additional comments?

    I kind of feel like this is probably the authors first book- and by that I mean first book EVER. It reminds me of Larry Correia in that this book would be better if it had been polished, or had the author made some of these glaring mistakes in unwritten novels so that the writing could just be cleaner. That said I assume the following books are better, but it's going to be a long while before I'm willing to return to this series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne 05-26-12
    Suzanne 05-26-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing"

    When i first listened to this book i immediately loved it. The narration was excellent and the writing left me wanting more. I could not get enough of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Olympia Fields, IL, United States 05-22-12
    Sheila Olympia Fields, IL, United States 05-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic Read"

    Gin Blanco is one of the best characters that I've come across. She is TOUGH, FUNNY AND VUNERABLE. At first glance, you may think she is just another assassin, but keep listening and you will find out what a complex character she is. She will fight to protect the people she loves, or will die trying. Finnegan Lane is pure heaven in the book. He adds a comedic balance to Gin's hard core edge. The characters are great - and you will be on the edge of your seat listening to what happens next.

    Jennifer Estep has started an absolutely wonderful series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica LAFAYETTE, IN, United States 05-06-12
    Jessica LAFAYETTE, IN, United States 05-06-12 Member Since 2014

    I enjoy reading many books genres. But I love listening to fantasy books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    106
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gets better as the series continues"

    I am currently listening to book 3 in this series. It is a good series, dealing with some meaty personal issues from the perspective of the main character. I like the unique magic angle (elemental magic). And the narrator is good. I feel like there are parts which are repetitive. The author reminds the readers too much what has happened before or how the main character thinks/feels, even within the same book. Without the repetitiveness, this would be a five-star book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wii-zer sc 05-06-12
    wii-zer sc 05-06-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    609
    72
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Finally a smart competent assassin"
    What did you love best about Spider's Bite?

    Gin has confidence and is not in constant shame of herself.


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

    Most books like this have a self loathing star. this one is blissfully okay with the work so whining about herself is absent.


    Have you listened to any of Lauren Fortgang???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


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

    Both in short bursts that are well timed


    Any additional comments?

    the first of a series and sets it up well

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.