Spider’s Bite by J. Estep

JEstep-Spider's BiteI’ve seen the name Jennifer Estep around for awhile, but she’s been another one of those authors I haven’t had a chance to get to.  However, when I was offered the chance to review her upcoming novel, Spider’s Bite, I wasn’t about to turn it away, which happened to be the best decision I made that day.

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

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.

Spider’s Bite is definitely worth your time and money.  From the first moment I opened the pages (or turned on my Kindle), I was totally engrossed in the book.  The beginning seemed to go a little slow, but not in a bad way.  You’re blasted with all this character development and setting up the plot that you begin to think that you’re farther along than you actually are.  Instead, Estep doesn’t mince words or makes you figure out what is going on.  She lays it out like it is and then continues on.  We learn more about Gin in the first few pages than in any other novel I’ve read lately.  We find out that she’s a very no-nonsense type of woman who doesn’t let her job affect her.  That’s probably the one thing that I enjoyed the most about Spider’s Bite – the fact that our assassin doesn’t have any emotional qualms over what she does.  She kills people, and she does it well, but she knows that those who end up in her sights deserve the death they have coming.  In a world of urban fantasy kick-ass woman, it is very refreshing to find a heroine who doesn’t let herself get caught up in emotional turmoils over her lot in life.

However, that doesn’t mean that Gin doesn’t get emotional.  Its quite the opposite in fact.  Because Gin has a very cool personality, when she does have moments of emotion, they are intense and quickly drag the reader into the scene.  This is easily noticed when Gin finds her handler murdered after being double-crossed.  She has a moment of grief, but then she quickly moves on to vengeance and I was right there with her.  Gin’s character is so engaging that I loved finding out what she was going to do next.

If Gin’s character was amazing, then the character of Donovan Caine has to be the most interesting to date.  We’re talking the only honest detective in a precinct of corrupt individuals and he ends up getting caught up in the mess Gin was thrown into.  The two have a history together, but the attraction between the two sparks so much chemistry that I am dying to see where the two end up.

Even without the presence of Gin and Caine, the story within Spider’s Bite is just fabulous.  We’re given a great paced story that knows when to slow it down, but then picks it up right when we need it to.  The ending is perfectly believable (for dealing with elemental magic) and we’re left with enough info to give us a great tease for Web of Lies without leaving us a cliffhanger.  Even during the slow moments, there was never a time where I wasn’t completely engaged in the story, or even more bluntly, bored.

Overall, I have to say that Spider’s Bite is a great start to a new urban fantasy series that everyone should try. It has a great collection of characters within a setting that is totally fascinating and is very easy to get lost in. I totally recommend everyone heading to the store in the morning to get your hands on a copy of this novel.

Read order:
Spider’s Bite
Web of Lies
Tangled Threads
Spider’s Revenge
By a Thread (February 2012)

Also reviewed by: Jennifer’s review on Literary Escapism, Smexy Books, Scooper Speaks, Debuts and Reviews, Carol’s Notebook and Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I like the concept of the “ruthless” heroine but she does have feelings – usually you get one or the other. I’ve added Spider’s Bite to my To Be Bought list. Nice review.

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