Review: Spider’s Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) by Jennifer Estep

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Pocket Books (January 26th 2010)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

My rating: 3/5 – It had its moments, but I had some significant problems with it.


Spider’s Bite is an exciting assassin novel with intriguing characters set in a unique magical world.  Too bad the cheesy romance, unrealistic plot devices, and poor writing bring the story down a couple of notches.

I could have forgiven the first two faults if it weren’t for the third one.  The author repeats certain words, phrases, and occasionally entire sentences over and over again, to the detriment of the story.  The phrase “my grey eyes” is used practically every other page.  I’m not kidding – So. Many. Times.  By the end, I wanted to scream whenever I encountered that phrase.

But despite the book’s weaknesses, I actually enjoyed Spider’s Bite.  The worldbuilding is interesting, the fight scenes are gloriously bloody, and Gin is not your typical heroine.  Even though she’s a violent, unrepentant murderer who gets horny at very inappropriate moments, I couldn’t help rooting for her to kick everyone’s ass and prove to the self-righteous Donovan Caine that she can be a hero in her own way.

Overall, this is definitely not my favorite urban fantasy novel, but it did keep me hooked.  As long as you can get past the annoying writing, the eye-roll inducing romance, and the predictable plot, Spider’s Bite is a fun, entertaining story.  Essentially, it’s a guilty pleasure read that provides cheap thrills and an easy escape.  Since the ongoing plot to discover the truth behind the murder of Gin’s family will probably lead to an epic, bloody, magical throwdown, I might even read the other books in the Elemental Assassin series at some point in the very distant future.  I can only hope that the writing drastically improves in subsequent installments.

Reading Order:
Spider’s Bite
Web of Lies
Tangled Threads

Spider’s Revenge, coming September 27th 2011
By a Thread, coming January 31st 2012

Also reviewed at:
Book Lovers Inc. – 5/5
Dirty Sexy Books – 4/5
Book Binge – 4.5/5
Wicked Little Pixie – 4/5


About Lesley

I love big dogs, ravioli, and all things nerdy. Books are my crack.
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