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
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.
"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)
The Elemental Assassin series drew me in quickly, & since getting this book a few weeks ago I've gotten so hooked I'm now on the last book! While this isn't really a work of complex, deep meaning or earth-shattering literature, it is a great series - engaging and fun. Spider's Bite provides the groundwork for the series.. develops each of the characters just enough and tells their histories as relevant to the current situation. Action packed, with bits of humor, some
Spider, because she is a tough, strong female who, despite all the unspeakable things she's had to do manages to still maintain good, admirable qualities. I like Fletcher too, & although he's not the main character, he seems to have a past interesting enough that his story could become a series of its own as well!
hmm.. probably the scene where Gin/Spider recalls when she first came in contact with the guy who would take her in, raise her and serve as her mentor. Although, it's hard to pick just one favorite scene, as they all seem to flow into each other well enough that they're all really equally good and well-written.
I highly recommend this series.. especially if you enjoy authors such as Charlaine Harris, Molly Harper, Seanan Maguire.
when i saw this book i thought ok id give it a try. was i ever surprised. not only are the characters interesting but the book almost had me enthralled. it normally takes me about a week to listen to a 10 hour book due to the driving that i do.(only listen while i drive) finished it in 2 days. could not stop listening.and no i didnt drive more then usual.very worth the listen. getting ready to get the next 2 now....cant wait
I came across this book by chance and I was mesmized within 5 minutes of the audiobook. I absolutely love Lauren Fortgang's narrating. Gin is a cold assassin in which I liked from the start. The story is rich, believeable, tense, and the supporting characters are just as fascinating as the main character. This, the first book lays the groundwork to an engrossing series and will have you on the seat of your pants.
Plus the intense Donovan Cain adds to the spice of the story
I love books with strong women charachters and this one was one of the best i have listened to this year. The story is really engrossing but the narrator really makes it great! Cant wait to down load the second book. I wish all narrators were this good!
Good book and awesome narrator--a combination that kept me too entertained to put the ipod down. It's absolutely worth the circles under my eyes.
This book was fast paced and fun. I found it in the Romantic Fantasy category, but I would caution that it is more urban fantasy adventure. The actual relationship that might be considered romantic, I would consider a sexual attraction, and at any rate, it wasn't at all the main focus of the book. There is surprisingly little sex in the book, however. Instead, there's the morally ambiguous Gin, an assassin you come to love, whose out to clean up a mess that has hit close to home. She has friends who aid her, villains of the worst sort, and lots and lots of action.
I listen to lots of audio books and this one is top notch. It has something for every fan of fantasy/sci-fi books. The characters are interesting and well written. The narrator is superb. Being from the south, its nice to hear a southern drawl that isn't exaggerated and over done. I recommend this book to everyone. Loved this book and look forward to listening to more of the series.
I have only listened to about a quarter of the book but had to write a review -- LOVE LOVE LOVE the narrator. The book pulls you in from the start - and I can not wait to finish it and get the next 2 books in the series!
How did this book get so many good reviews? There are no likable characters. There are huge plot holes. There is an incredible amount of redundancy. The inner dialog is laughable. I can't decide whether the narration was terrible or if it was just the lines she had to read that were terrible and anyone would have sounded ridiculous saying them. I had to make myself finish it. I love paranormal romance/mystery but this was just awful.
I am a 46 year old woman who works at a Life Insurance Company and I love to listen to books to make my days go by faster.
I automatically loved Gin and the charactars that were brought in. I was entranced through all of the books. I know they all came out at once, but I would love another book to come on out.!!!! Best one of my reads since J.R. Ward's Brothers of the black daggarhood.
I was originally sceptical and was doubtful about the narrator, but i have to say it grew on me, the action and storyline moved on at a great pace - i have now listened to the next 3 books - The stories have a good link maintained through the books and you find yourself cheering for the Heroine -
A thumbs up and my advice order it up
"worth persisting with"
Took a bit to get into but glad i am persevered as I enjoyed it in the end.
"This book didn't quite Bite"
The book started off well but didn't quite have me on the characters side. Gin has a back story to why she became an assassin however you feel nothing for her and her sob story. Even with her carer/ handler dying you don't feel her pain. There is no connection with the character and her romantic interest "Detective " is so not believable.
Going to give book 2 the benefit of the doubt.
"Good But Not Fabulous"
Interesting - a world where humans, elementals, giants and dwarves all live in reasonable harmony
Predicable - I am an Urban Fantasy reader and so found the end very predicable, especially the final ten minutes where she set-up the next book
Unusual - different lead character as she is an assassin.
I liked Gin but I loved the way Donovan stood by his principles.
No - could have but I was not so enthralled that I needed to listen all the time.
I will keep by eyes open for her next book but I wont be devastated if I don't read it immediately.
"No meek heroine here!"
I loved this book, the story, the heroine and the narrator. This is no meek heroine waiting for either her enemies or her friends to take any steps. She is happy to initiate anything she wants which is such a refreshing change. No doubts or internal double guessing on her part. The side characters are all really well developed as well and I loved them as much as I loved the heroine.
"An intresting world with gripping characters"
An interesting world with vivid and in depth characters that you become attached too very quickly as you get pulled into there lives full of assassins, elemental mages and intrigue. The city of Ashland makes sin city seem like a vacation spot, all in all well worth a listen for anyone who likes the modern fantasy genre.
"WHAT A BOOK!!!"
So I've just finished listening to this book; Spider's Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 1, by Jennifer Estep.
And I've got to say... WHAT LISTEN/READ! Each assassination is more graphical than the last, the character development is really well illustrated and the narration is spot on!! Hats off to Lauren Fortgang, who really brought these mesmerizing characters to life, and very well done to Jennifer Estep for creating such an awesome city/world / novel!
This is a world of vampires and mages (elementals) and rogue assassins. The spine-chilling conclusion to this fantastic novel has definately left me eager to spend my next credit chip on the sequel.
DEFINATELY WORTH LISTENING TO!!
Brash, gory and unrepentant. Loved it. Another strong, intelligent lead female. Can't wait to read more
Only fair story just passable and done before, but narration very good, which helped a lot.
"Not really elemental, but not a bad story."
I quite enjoyed this one, but there were just a few things which irked.
First, Gin is the "elemental assassin" of the series title, but does very little elemental anything. I was kind of sold on the opening, where Gin kills a target with skill and ingenuity; that seems to head off down hill pretty quickly.
The potential attraction to a handsome, straight-laced detective made me cringe. So stereotypical it hurt. Seriously, pick a less obvious bad romance target.
I did get kind of grabbed by the potential back plot reveal at the end, though if it was meant to be a surprise, no sorry.
Not bad. I may try another.
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