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Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

Title: The Spider
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin, book 10
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“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…”
The Spider is the tenth installment in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.

In The Spider with see a younger Gin, an arrogant and impatient version of her. Despite her mentor’s (Fletcher) misgivings we see her run into a job without much research and we see her fail grandly. This failure in her early life/profession was what made Gin into the woman we have known for the last few years. This job taught her to do research, not to run blindly in a situation and more important to be patient.

This has been one of the hardest reviews to write for this series. I wanted to love The Spider, but sadly I didn’t. Why? Because I had three problems with it, problems that didn’t let me like this book as much as I was expecting to like it.

My biggest problem with this book was that there was no mystery at all. Since the very first chapters I knew what was going on and how everything was going to pan out. Everything was so clear that it was almost unbelievable that Gin couldn’t see it for herself. The enjoyment of reading a book diminishes greatly when by the second chapter you already know who is the bad guy and how everything is going to end and that was the case with The Spider. Ok, I’m been a bit unfair here, there was a nice surprise at the end with one of the characters involved in the story, but by them it was too late to be a remarkable surprise.

My second problem with this book was that it was rife with repetition. We had this problem with some of previous books in the series, last two books were better in this aspect, but sadly The Spider went back to The Repetition Party. It was so bad at times that I ended up skimming a lot of it, and you know it’s not a good sign when you are skimming a book of a series you love. *sighs*

My third and last problem with The Spider was the cameos of people in Gin’s current life. My problem with the cameos was that half of them felt forced into the story and completely unnecessary.
When the first cameo happened I was really happy to see that person there, when the second happened the coincidence of meeting that person was a bit doubtful, when the third happened it was just too much and when the fourth happened… you get the idea. My problem is that we see everybody; when I say everybody is everybody, From Xavier, to Roslyn, to Bria to Owen and more. They all make an appearance here. I’m not exaggerating; even Warren is somehow included in the story with the mention of his store, Country Daze.
“While the pancakes cooked, I also crisped up some bacon, put on a pot of chicory coffee, and made dreamsicle fruit smoothies with fresh- squeezed orange juice, vanilla yogurt, and a drizzle of sourwood honey that Jo-Jo had bought at some store called Country Daze, according to the label.”
Why she doesn’t mention the yogurt brand or where she bought the oranges? As I said before, sadly the inclusion of these characters didn’t feel like an organic part of the story but more like something forced and far-fetched.

Despite the problems I had with The Spider I still love Gin and love this series. I just hope in next book Gin is the kickass-strong heroine she’s supposed to be. I also hope there won’t be much repetition and hope to see something different in the story than bad guy kicking Gin’s ass and Gin surviving only thanks to Jo Jo’s air magic. I want to see Gin comes to her power.

Next book in the series, Poison Promise, is scheduled to be release on July 29th, 2014. I’m sure going to read it because after ten books, I still have hope Gin can become the powerful elemental we been hearing about since Spider’s Bite (first book).

My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws

Other books in the series
Spider’s Bite
Web of Lies
Tangled Threads
By A Thread
The Spider
Poison Promise (July 29th, 2014)

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. My biggest issue was with some of the cameos feeling forced as well.
    All the other books in the series I've rated from A+/A- but I had to go with a B+ for this one.

    1. Me too, I was completely done when Owen made an appearance. It was just too much.

  2. I did not get the country daze thing...would have to read it to see if it was annoying

    1. The thing is that almost all the character we have seen in the last 9 books made an appearance in this installment that is supposed to had happened 10 years ago. The mention of the store was a reference to another character, Warren, who is the owner of the store. Mrs. Estep couldn't add him in a cameo, so she mentioned his store. It was just too much.

  3. This is the problem with long series, at some point it starts losing steam or encounters hiccups. I hope it get fixed soon and won't take a downward spiral from here.

    1. You are completely right, there are only few series that after so many installments they still keep going in the right way.


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