Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
They call Gin Blanco the Spider. She is an assassin, the female version of Jason Bourne. She is also a Stone Elemental, with the power to manipulate a particular element. She is the best at what she does. When she gets framed for a murder she did not commit and becomes the far-from-helpless victim of an intrigue to overthrow the city head honcho, the real murderers are not aware that they've signed their death warrant. Because Gin is pissed and she won't stop until she gets justice and revenge.
There isn't much to say about this first installment in the Elemental Assassin series which I already bought as a whole thanks to Maja, who pointed me in the direction of these books and who can actually stop running across half Europe because I did, in fact, like Spider's Bite.
So I'll be bried and I'll just point out the two things I liked and the two I disliked the most.
-plot: I liked the intrigue, it was well planned and fast-paced, foreseeable but not terribly so and the romance-if it can be called romance-was quite secondary.
-main character: I like Gin very much. One of the few real badass heroines of UF at the moment (yes, Kate Daniels, you're another one), I found her intelligent, disillusioned, snarky and even though she is a victim and a byproduct of her own past, she is not a whiner and that is much appreciated.
-world building: underdeveloped is an understatement because it is totally absent. This city, Ashland, clearly situated in America, is populated by vampires, giants, dwarves and elementals. There is no explanation as to when or how the supernaturals came to be, nor what powers they exactly have, apart from the elementals. From what I could deduce from the story, vampires have no apparent powers, they drink blood but they can die of a slit throat and can have families - Roslyn has a niece, how can that be? Do vampires become vampires because they're bitten or they were born that way? Why don't they have regenerative powers? Estep should have invested a little more in her world building and less in recipes for making good sandwiches (they do abound in the book).
-writing style: not too bad but I got a bit annoyed at the repetitions. The adjective sloppy must have been repeated at least 50 times throughout the book. As soon as I started noticing it kind of bothered me. No Thesaurus at hand?
Same thing goes for Mmm when Gin was having her "impure thoughts".
All in all, a good read I would definitely recommend if you like your UF with a strong, sharp-tongued heroine, with a lot of action and are allergic to sappy love stories. Apparently the series gets better and better and this first installment was not bad at all.
Looking forward to reading the sequels.
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