Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

Posted December 18, 2013 by Jennifer in Book Review | | 8 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Spider by Jennifer EstepThe Spider by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #10
Published by Pocket Books on December 24th 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon | Audio | Goodreads

How did I end up in a career where I always have blood on my hands?

Well, let me tell you a story about an assassin who thought she could do no wrong …

Ten years ago. A blistering hot August night. I remember like it was yesterday. The night I, Gin Blanco, truly became the Spider. Killing people is what I do best, especially now that I’ve honed my Ice and Stone magic. But back then, I had yet to learn one very important rule: arrogance will get you, every single time.

This particular job seemed simple: murder a crooked building contractor with ties to ruthless Fire elemental Mab Monroe. My mentor, Fletcher Lane, had some misgivings, but I was certain that I had the situation under control … right up until I exposed my weaknesses to a merciless opponent who exploited every single one of them. There’s a reason assassins aren’t supposed to feel anything. Luckily, a knife to the heart can fix that problem, especially when I’m the one wielding it …

With The Spider being the 10th book in the Elemental Assassin series one can’t help but wonder if Jennifer Estep can still bring the same outstanding writing and characters to us. I’m here to tell you that she can and she did!

You could read The Spider without having read the series because Estep takes us back 10 years to show us a young and naive Gin in the early stages of her becoming The Spider but you will miss all the little easter eggs to events and characters that are throughout the series.

It was fun to see how Estep did a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Gin Blanco” with very one from Mab Monroe, Slater, Dawson to Owen make cameos in The Spider. I mean VERY main character good and bad that has touched Gin’s life show up in some way, either in person or by reference, even the mysterious M.M. Monroe that Estep keeps teasing us with since Deadly StingAll but one character and my least favorite, Dicktective Caine. But I was fine with that. LOL

One of the ways that Estep showed a younger and softer side to Gin was in a scene where she described the pjs that Gin was wearing, short pink pajama bottoms patterned with garish green limes, definitely not something I would picture Gin wearing now.And we get to see how the expression “Gin, like the liquor”  was born. Other of Gin sayings were present like “another minute, two tops” when talking about how long her victims had until she kills them.

I loved seeing Gin interact with Fletcher. Over the series we’ve seen Fletcher through flashbacks but this time we get to have him front and center in Gin’s life. Also we’ve learned that Gin and Finn had a fling of some kind when they were younger, in The Spider some of the details are told about that summer fling and it was fun to see that they have always been great snarky partners.

“Actually,” Finn said, sniffing “I was too good for you. I’ve ruined you for all other men.”

“Hardly. I’ve had longer, deeper, more meaningful relationships with cheeseburgers than I did with you.”

Speaking of cheeseburgers…. fans of the Elemental Assassin series know not to read these books on an empty stomach because of all the yummy sounds food that Estep describes. Where I thought the last book, Heart of Venom was the bloodiest installment, The Spider had the most food references. Seriously, I highlighted 12+ passages about food while I was reading.

The plot of The Spider was wonderfully surprising. When I read chapter one on Estep’s website I thought we would see a back and forth between the past and present with a failed assassination attempt from Gin’s past. But the whole story is set 10 years in the past ending with a present day ending that gives Gin much-needed closure.

If I had to pick something that didn’t quite work for me it would be a couple of the cameos felt a little forced and that’s why The Spider is the only book in the series to earn a rating lower than the usual A+/A.

To me The Spider had a series reset feel, we took a break from the mountain mystery about M.M. Monroe and the dark past that Sophia had in Heart of Venom. I feel like we can now move forward into a new story arc that might carry us to the end of the series. Which makes me hopeful and sad at the same time. As of this review Estep is contracted for two more books in the series, Poison Promise to be released in July of 2014 and an untitled 12th book. Could Gin really be coming close to a true retirement? (hugs self just thinking about it)

About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. Dark Heart of Magic, the second book in the series, will be released on Oct. 27.

She is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. For more information on her books, visit Jennifer’s website at

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Owner/Blogger at The Book Nympho
I coexist with my husband of 15 years, our 11-year-old son and two chilled cats in the Deep South.

After 17 years I've finally finished my BA in English (no I do not want to be a teacher). Before majoring in English I would not have touched anything labeled "classic", but I have enjoyed a few along the way in my college career.

While I hated to read growing up, I am now an avid book reader and audiobook listener. I love rejecting reality one book at a time. I only read fiction within my favorite (at least to date) genres which include: most romance (paranormal, contemporary, D/s, BDSM, M/M)Urban Fantasy, and a few YA (mostly PNR or UF from favorite adult authors, but I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone after enjoying a few contemporary YA novels in adolescent literature class I took).
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8 responses to “Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

  1. I agree that some of the cameos felt forced but this was still one of my favourite installments. There were definitely a lot of food references; my tummy was growling after the first page. I just hope that Estep ends this series’ on a high note rather than milking too many books out of it.

    • TheBookNympho

      I can’t wait to see what Estep has in store for us in the future with MA ending and Gin’s end near. Whatever it is I’ll pick it up and give it a try. I still have her Big Time series sitting on my bookshelf to read.

  2. I hate to say it, but I like the idea that this book may come to a close soon. I love Gin, and love the stories, but they can’t last forever for me, and often they become a bit predictable. Perhaps the problem is that i read like the first 7 books back to back to back, but I’ve noticed a pattern in all of them, and I really just want something new. That’s probably why I took a break from the series before Heart of Venom. I want to come back with a fresher outlook. We’ll see how I feel soon. Still, all series should end eventually, and I believe we may be nearing the end of this one, not necessarily happy about that, but not sad either…

    • TheBookNympho

      That’s true, a series must end and many go on for too long. It’s better for them to end and leave us wanting more instead of us wishing they ended sooner.

      I’ve dropped three series because they should have ended sooner IMO.

  3. I felt bad in this book, because I wanted more and the story was not my favorite. I gave it four stars for Gin and Fletcher, but for me it was not necessary to go back ten years.

    • TheBookNympho

      About 90% of my reading is series and everyone of them has at least 1 book that stands out as the “not so good” one and I think The Spider is that book for this series. I was still entertaining but it was not my favorite and that’s ok. I still have faith in Estep’s writing and will continue the series.