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Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep
The Spider
Series: Elemental Assassin #10
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket
Published on: December 24, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 400 pages, ARC
Provided by: Edelweiss
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For the first time, the full origin story of Gin Blanco's transformation into the fearsome assassin known as the Spider—book ten in the red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series.

In a prequel tale, Gin Blanco goes through her paces on the way to become the most feared assassin in the Ashland. Her mentor, Fletcher Lane, is not going to go easy on her—if she’s going to become a fearsome killer, she has to learn to use her elemental Stone and Ice powers alongside old-fashioned human street smarts.


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The Spider is hands-down my favourite Elemental Assassin book to-date and, the fact that it’s the tenth installment is even more impressive! I can count on one hand the number of authors who’s ENTIRE SERIES’ deserves a 5-star rating and it should come as no surprise when I tell you that Jennifer Estep has earned her spot on that list because of Gin Blanco. Not only has she proven that she has talent, but staying power as well!

I loved going back in time to re-visit the Spider’s training wheels stage; it was fun being able to see a beloved character in an entirely new light. Gin “retired” after the first book so readers never really got to see her pre-badass self and I really enjoyed learning more about how Blanco became the stone cold assassin she is today. The Spider is only 20 years old in this installment which means that she hasn’t completely mastered her skills; she’s still as unlucky as ever but hasn’t yet learned the value of patience (a trait she’s now renowned for). We also get to witness the making of some of her expressions and mannerisms such as “Gin, like the liquor” which I adored. As sappy as this sounds, in a lot of ways this book felt like I was reminiscing with an old friend.

Estep’s writing really shines in The Spider; this story made the EA world feel like new again and because we’re going back to the beginning, there are no repetitive details or need to rehash old happenings which was a common complaint with her earlier books. I also thought that it was important to mention that Jennifer once again had my stomach grumbling after only one page; I blame her for my new obsession with southern food! Practically every character makes a cameo appearance in this installment which I LOVED almost as much as I did checking-in with old foes. There was something oddly rewarding about mentally pointing out all of the scumbags Gin has killed in the future. The Spider has a real “small world” feel to it as well; I liked how all of the characters were already connected before they even realized it. The Finn / Bria link is pretty darned funny too. Classic Finnegan Lane!

Originally, I had thought that this story was going to somehow connect to the present day. In the opening chapter Blanco receives a dozen roses and a note which lead me to believe that an old foe was going to surface in the next installment after this one’s little history lesson. But that wasn’t the case at all and I enjoyed the surprise “pay it forward” twist ending. It made Gin’s relationship with Fletcher even more meaningful and speaking of which, I LOVED having her mentor back for a full book! As much as I enjoy all of the flashbacks in this series, it was great to read an entire installment where he was front-and-center. And of course, Estep just HAD to throw in an M.M. Monroe reference, like that’s not all I’ve been thinking about since Deadly Sting!

The Spider is a fun, bloody trip down memory lane and quite possibly my top read of 2013!


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Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. I also offer virtual assistance to authors and webmaster services to bloggers. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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2 Comments

  1. I finally started listening to the series on audio book (Yay me!) and I already love it. I’m going to be listening to this one back to back until I’m all caught up :) Great review Carmel!

    • Lauren Fortgang is one of my fav narrators. You’ll be caught-up on this series in no time!

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