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Spider's Bite Audiobook

Spider's Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 1

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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 (3858 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Scott Enterprise, OR, United States 03-17-13
    Scott Enterprise, OR, United States 03-17-13 Member Since 2010

    I am a registered nurse and a father of four great kids. I live in a rural part of Oregon and love it. I enjoy books, but Sci-Fi Fantasy has allows been the ones I reach for more than others.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Science Fiction Cajun Style"
    If you could sum up Spider's Bite in three words, what would they be?

    Mouth and Eye Opening


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting part of this story was the way Estep mixes fantasy genre characters to a romance or sort of romance setting. The action begins quickly and really doesn't stop with these introduce into this series.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Lauren Fortgang?

    Yes, I really enjoyed the character of Fortgang's voice along with the clarity it brought to the storyline.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a surprising good listen for a randomly picked book. I will be listening to the rest of the series and hope it measures up to the introductory book

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mosselyn Campbell, CA USA 03-08-13
    mosselyn Campbell, CA USA 03-08-13 Member Since 2009

    colemanka

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good narration cannot overcome bad writing"

    The narrator does a great job, but there's just no getting around the poor writing. There is too much description, most of which is dripping with analogies, and the author finds it necessary to constantly remind you of the heroine's tragic past, crushing grief, etc. I get it. I got it 10 repetitions ago. The pacing is also pretty slow for this kind of book. Only the narrator made it possible for me to listen to the whole thing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candi sunman, in, United States 02-13-13
    Candi sunman, in, United States 02-13-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Good story. Bad Narrator"
    What made the experience of listening to Spider's Bite the most enjoyable?

    The story is good and I plan to buy the physical book. The narrator would stop in the middle of a sentence. Also, she had way too big of a silence gap in between sentences. I could not get past chapter one.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Lauren Fortgang?

    Katherine Kellgren


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Laurel, IN, United States 01-30-13
    Jodie Laurel, IN, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Performance puts you to sleep"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    For anyone that is looking to relax and likes to take their time getting to through a story, this books for you. The story was good but the tempo/pace and deep voice of the reader just made it boring to me.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I actually changed my iPod speed to "faster" which helped for a while. It was just too slow.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Wandandian, AL, United States 01-21-13
    Sue Wandandian, AL, United States 01-21-13 Member Since 2008

    I am married with a teenage son and run my own business. As I am visually impaired, audio books are my life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quite surprised"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I've had this one for quite a while in my library and finally decided to listen to it. It was surprisingly good. I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the series when I get a chance.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorothy Newburgh, NY, United States 12-29-12
    Dorothy Newburgh, NY, United States 12-29-12 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself! I love to read or listen( audio), nothing abridged ,I want every word the author penned that is what I want.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a bite"

    Very fast pace filled with action and its a nail biter. I couldn't stop listening . Can't wait to read #2 in series

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janel Keizer, OR, United States 12-26-12
    Janel Keizer, OR, United States 12-26-12
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    "Glad to find this series"

    The first part of this book gets started pretty slowly. The narrator talks slow, and it takes a bit for the story to get going. But stay with it! Once it gets moving a little, the story and narrator pick up pace. We start out getting hints of the main character's (Gin's) past, and get to know more and more of her a bit at a time. Meanwhile, she faces interesting adventures. In book 2, the hints and adventures continue.

    The books have a unique set of characters, & provide a different and interesting use of dwarves, giants, vampires, & magic. This is the first book I've read with people as elementals, so I'm not sure how they compare to elementals in other books.

    I'm glad a sale prompted me to take a chance on this book. I'm almost done with book #2 in the series - Web of Lies, and I just purchased book #3 - Venom. I'm looking forward to continuing the story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Payne Cincinnati OH United States 11-26-12
    K. Payne Cincinnati OH United States 11-26-12 Member Since 2008

    Kiwi

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    "So excited to find another great series!"
    Any additional comments?

    I have over 400 audio books (mostly series) and it's getting increasingly difficult to find a new series that I enjoy. I have quite a few "first" books marked in my list as "ok, could read if really need something new". It's not very often I find an established series that I truly enjoy! I love this one! I can't really explain why, but I'm on book 5 of the series now and have enjoyed every moment of the first four. Thank you!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Cheyenne, Wy, USA 11-15-12
    Mike Cheyenne, Wy, USA 11-15-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not bad at all."

    I enjoyed this story, I think it started a little slow, but over all it was good. The main character Gin is interesting enough that I am looking forward to listening to the next book in the series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Richmond, VA, United States 10-14-12
    Nicole Richmond, VA, United States 10-14-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow start but finished up nicely."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, it helps the day go by faster and it's a good listen.


    What about Lauren Fortgang’s performance did you like?

    Lauren's performance was good, she gave a different voice for each character.


    Was Spider's Bite worth the listening time?

    It was worth the time like I said before it starts slow but the second half of the book makes up for it.


    Any additional comments?

    You have an idea of who did it but you don't know the how and little of the why?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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