Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 01/26/10
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.
Plot: 4.5 Stars
There were so many twists and turns in this book; some completely surprised me, others I saw coming. But it was great how every little bit of information came together to complete the puzzle of a plot perfectly. I also enjoyed how giants, dwarves, and vampires were integrated into the mix. The elemental magic was also a refreshing idea that is definitely unique to this book. And it's not a cliffhanger (so don't worry), but the author drops a bomb at the end of the book that has me counting down the days until the next book in this series comes out. I was hooked until the very last sentence.
Pace: 5 Stars
Although this book only encompasses a short span of time with a whole lot of action packed in, it's paced in a way that doesn't leave you thinking there's no way all of that could've happened in one day. There was never really a time in which the pace of the book slowed down. I found myself having trouble finding a good stopping point so that I could sleep, or go back to work after my break.
Characters: 5 Stars
Gin is a refreshing heroine to add to the Urban Fantasy genre. As an assassin, she definitely isn't shy about killing people. I loved her thought processes before, during, and after the fight scenes. Finnigan and Donovan were great supporting characters. They may not have left as many bodies in their wake, but without them, Gin would not have been successful. I love when a ragtag group takes on the bad guy, and not just the heroine; it definitely feels more real than one person taking on the world. There were also a couple smaller characters I hope to see more of in the future.
Cover: 5 Stars
I absolutely loved this cover! There were so many details relevant to the story, it was refreshing. From the spider runes on Gin's palms to the sign for the Pork Pit in the background, the cover really felt like it belonged to this book and this book only. I also liked that we don't see the cover model's face, because that allows the reader to imagine the character however they interpret the author's description.
Overall: 5 Stars
Disclosure: I won an ARC of this book from a contest on Jennifer Estep's Blog.