maandag 22 november 2010

Jennifer Estep – Spider’s Bite

The first book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.

Spider's Bite

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.

Well, the blurb tells most of the story. And a really original and compelling one it is. Welcome to a great new urban fantasy series. A world with vampires, giants, dwarfs and humans. Some with elemental magic, strong or not so strong. The world Gin lives in, is filled with all kinds of violence. Vampire hookers, giant bodyguards, and a city ruled with the iron hot fist of the fire elemental Mab. Most of the police force and other officials are corrupt, and the innocent people are left to fend for themselves.

When she was a 13 years old, her family was murdered by a fire elemental. She never knew why. Only her own Stone magic saved her from the same faith, though she was tortured by the woman. So living on the streets of Ashland on her own, eating out of restaurant dumpsters, just staying alive, is hard for a girl alone. Only one old man shows her a bit of kindness. The owner of the Pork Pit, he sometimes hires her to do some cleaning jobs, or just gives her a left over burger. Then one night she saves Fletchers life, and her new life has started. Fletcher not only teaches her how to be a waitress and a cook, and takes her in his own home to raise as a daughter, he also teaches her his other, secret, job. An assassin. And a damned good one too.

Being a murderer doesn’t bother Gin very much. After all, she has killed before. And she has her own set of rules. No children. No animals. No cruelty but a swift death, and to victims who each and all deserve to die. Like that dirty cop who liked to rape little girls. Only his partner didn’t know that, and vowed to bring her to justice for that. The very same, rare honest cop on the force, she now needs to help her bring down Fletchers killer.

I liked the book a lot, and will certainly read the next books in this series soon. You just have to like Gin. She is sassy, and merciless in her job and in protecting those few she loves. She is also honest, and doesn’t hide the fact that she is attracted to Donovan. She is not afraid to act on it, even though she knows he wants to bring her in. There is not much information yet on Donovan, but he cannot deny the attraction between them, even though he loathes himself for giving in to it.

And then there is Fletchers son Finn, a longtime friend of Gin, who is more like a brother to her. She barely manages to save him. Together the three of them are a force to be reckoned with. The secondary characters with Jo-Jo and Sophia are great too. And real characters they are too.

7 stars.

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