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

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 (3890 )
5 star
 (1395)
4 star
 (1386)
3 star
 (691)
2 star
 (240)
1 star
 (178)
Overall
3.9 (3178 )
5 star
 (1160)
4 star
 (1102)
3 star
 (583)
2 star
 (184)
1 star
 (149)
Story
4.2 (3170 )
5 star
 (1473)
4 star
 (1036)
3 star
 (444)
2 star
 (115)
1 star
 (102)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Joanna Juneau, AK, United States 08-07-13
    Joanna Juneau, AK, United States 08-07-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One dimensional"
    Would you try another book from Jennifer Estep and/or Lauren Fortgang?

    Not likely


    What could Jennifer Estep have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The author creates caricatures, not characters


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Nothing impressive in the narration


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm guessing the author has quite a few friends who write reviews for her, as I can't imagine any other way a book as bad as this could get such a high rating.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alysha Arlington, TX, United States 06-26-13
    Alysha Arlington, TX, United States 06-26-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    43
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    ""No means no!""

    First I live in TX, and I'm deeply annoyed by the accent the performer uses.

    Second - "No means no!" Did anyone else feel that Gin came across as a male rapist at times. I mean the "MMmm!" she kept spouting out in reference to the detective was creepy enough, but I'm really talking about the scene where she was dry humping him in the bar and he clearly didn't want to even though he was attracted to her. Just because your attracted to someone does not mean you are giving your permission. And her determination that she was going to "have" him. I was a disgusted! Really, people gave this drivel 5 stars.

    Third - Gin is not a strong character, she is a female character that thinks she is strong, and her supporting cast thinks so too. To be expected, but she comes across as insecure and stupid. I dislike her character so much I don't know where to start! I much preferred Illona Andrews strong character to this one. She had strengths and weaknesses that could be appreciated.

    Fourth - An assassin...not so much!

    I'm so upset I wasted a point on this book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin Texas 11-04-12
    Kristin Texas 11-04-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    128
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really awful"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander 10-05-12
    Alexander 10-05-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my cup of Gin"
    What would have made Spider's Bite better?

    #1 a less annoying accent. I'm not sure if the narrator was asked to do the accent or how this usually works, but after about 30 seconds of listening to it I was ready to give up and find something else to listen to. Maybe it's just me, I can see a lot of people loved the narration in other reviews, but the constant souther drawl grated on my nerves.
    #2 less repetition. A few other people have noted that the main character loved to announce the colour of her eyes ie "I looked at him with my grey eyes". I lost count of the times I swore to myself that if she said it one more time I'd take my headphones off and smash my ipod with a hammer. That was probably the most repeated thing she said, but other things, like scenes from her past, where she kept her weapons, or trivial things about how other characters looked kept being repeated as well. Very frustrating to listen to.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Lauren Fortgang’s performances?

    I really don't pick books to listen to based on the narrator. That said, if I notice Lauren will be the one narrating I'll be carefully reading reviews to see if she does it with a southern accent.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CWilson09 MILNER, GA, United States 03-28-12
    CWilson09 MILNER, GA, United States 03-28-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    481
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love this series!"
    What did you love best about Spider's Bite?

    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


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this series.. especially if you enjoy authors such as Charlaine Harris, Molly Harper, Seanan Maguire.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Lynden, WA, United States 03-10-12
    Mary Lynden, WA, United States 03-10-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Juvenile Writing Effort with Lisping Reader"

    Slow narrative, cliched dialogue, one-dimensional characters, vague notions of how to kill people and random ejaculations of sexuality, generally out of place, or pace. This book reads like someone's high school english assignment: write a noir piece set in an alternate universe with a tough, female, protagonist. Unfortunately, the author apparently hasn't read much noir herself, or simply watched movies labeled noir, and didn't do much research in assassins, because this was such a laughable attempt that I found myself repeating, out loud, some of the more ridiculous tough-guy lines. You know, the ones that make us roll our eyes because no one, ever, in the history of mankind, would say that and sound tough. Things like "they were going to pay...big time" were sprinkled throughout, with little variation.
    Often, a good narrator can rescue a book this poorly written with enhanced characterization. Unfortunately, this narrator does a southern accent so slowly, with such exaggerated pauses, and a honest-to-goodness lisp, that it only highlights the more ridiculous dialogue and actually pulls you further out of the story because you are searching for your fast-forward button.
    This book is saved from being a single star because the elemental angle is interesting. Enough so, that I may borrow the next book from the library and give it a whirl with my internal narrator. However, my unsolicited advice for the author is to work on better characters and dialogue to go with her world-building.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    janita la porte, TX, United States 10-24-10
    janita la porte, TX, United States 10-24-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "was i ever surprised"

    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

    23 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vikisha Milwaukee, WI, United States 10-07-10
    Vikisha Milwaukee, WI, United States 10-07-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    307
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    2
    Overall
    "Gin Blanco and the gang"

    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

    26 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ANGELA texarkana, TX, United States 11-04-10
    ANGELA texarkana, TX, United States 11-04-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    1
    Overall
    "LOVED IT!!"

    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!

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SA Shay San Antonio,Texas 10-05-10
    SA Shay San Antonio,Texas 10-05-10 Member Since 2017

    Shay

    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    199
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    2
    Overall
    "Entertainment"

    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.

    29 of 36 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • N
    Teddington, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Spider'sBite"

    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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Helen Candlin
    3/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "worth persisting with"

    Took a bit to get into but glad i am persevered as I enjoyed it in the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Creative Butterfly
    Ilford, United Kingdom
    11/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
    7/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good But Not Fabulous"
    If you could sum up Spider's Bite in three words, what would they be?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked Gin but I loved the way Donovan stood by his principles.


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

    No - could have but I was not so enthralled that I needed to listen all the time.


    Any additional comments?

    I will keep by eyes open for her next book but I wont be devastated if I don't read it immediately.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • ruth
    rustington, United Kingdom
    2/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No meek heroine here!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely recommended.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    Bangor, United Kingdom
    12/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An intresting world with gripping characters"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dean
    Southport, United Kingdom
    6/4/12
    Overall
    "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!!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rebel
    11/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "surprisingly good"

    Brash, gory and unrepentant. Loved it. Another strong, intelligent lead female. Can't wait to read more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J
    Peterborough, United Kingdom
    6/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fair"

    Only fair story just passable and done before, but narration very good, which helped a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Niall
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    10/11/12
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 2 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.