Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

The Spider by Jennifer Estep
Series:  Elemental Assassin (# 10)
Release Date:  December 24, 2013
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Pages:  401
Source:  book provided by NetGalley for review

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. . . .


Review:  This was quite a trip.  If you’ve read any of my reviews on this series, you’ll know that I’m a fan.  So when I read the blurb for this installment and found we were going to be taking a trip down memory lane to one of Gin’s first assassin assignments, I was hooked.

So a quick rundown on the series.  Gin Blanco is a retired assassin, The Spider, with control over a couple elements… stone and ice.  During the day, she runs a BBQ joint and at night she is either helping out friends by taking on some pro-bono assassin jobs, or just trying to stay alive since at this point in the series (book ten) she’s no longer anonymous.  The twist for The Spider is that she takes the reader back to the beginning.

I really liked seeing this more insecure side of Gin.  She’s not as strong an elemental in this flashback and that makes what she does even more impressive.  But she’s also still hurting from her family’s death (obviously it’s more fresh in this jump 10 years in the past) and while she’s been practically adopted into Fletcher and Finn’s family, she’s still aching for love.  All this makes her more vulnerable than the Gin we’ve come to know and love.

The plot isn’t terribly complicated, but it’s more a coming of age story.  Gin learns an important lesson about herself and how she’s going to have to live if she’s going to continue down her career path.  The bad guys of course are insanely evil and you can’t help but root for Gin to come out on top.

Yes, there are some flaws.  There is still a lot of repetition (the 5 knife thing stands out), and a few times I got tired of emotional rehashing that Gin kept going through.  But in the end, I enjoyed this book and look forward to future books in the series.