Elemental Assassin Series Read-Along: Spider’s Bite Discussion

Elemental Assassin Series Read-Along

Welcome to the first ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN Series Read-Along discussion! Today we are going to discuss the first book in the series - Spider’s Bite. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK! If you have read further on in the series, please refrain from commenting on any details from any of the other books. Let’s keep this discussion solely on the characters and events that take place in Spider’s Bite.

To take part in the discussion, leave a comment on this post. You can address all of the discussion topics or just the ones that interest you. And feel free to bring up points that we didn’t mention.

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And here we go!

Favorite Quotes

"Don't worry, detective. I'll let you be the good cop. I'm so much better at being the bad guy anyway."

Donovan Caine naked, water droplets sliding down his lean body, his muscles clenching and relaxing as he washes himself. Mmm. Nice image. Despite our earlier confrontation, I still found the detective extremely sexy. He'd be even more attractive if he'd lose the righteous anger and the stick up his ass. But no man was perfect.

“Maybe I find him...interesting. Attractive in an uptight sort of way. But that won't keep me from killing him if he does something stupid—like try to double-cross us. That is something that’s nonnegotiable, no matter how much fuck potential he might have.”

But really, it had been too late as soon the client had contacted Fletcher. Because I was the Spider. I always followed through. And I never, ever missed.

“Despite our differences, I’m attracted to you, detective. Something about you fascinates me. I want you like I haven’t wanted anybody in a long time. I think you feel the same way about me.”

For a moment, I thought he wouldn't answer. But he did. “I do want you.”

His voice was low, tight, strained. The confession cost him. It was all he could do to keep from reaching for me. Good thing I had no qualms about making the first move.

I stepped into his arms and put my hands on his shoulders. Then I raised my head and gazed into his hazel eyes. “So, why don’t we do something about it?”

“I should be arresting you, turning you in for your crimes, not wondering if I have enough juice left in me for round three.”

“You’re an assassin, everything that’s wrong with this city, everything I hate. I should kill you right here, right now. Do the city, the world, a favor. But I can’t. I can’t kill you. I feel something for you. Lust, gratitude, curiosity, I don’t know what the fuck it is, but it won’t let me kill you, no matter what you’ve done. So what does that make me?”

“A good man,” I said in a soft voice.

Caine shook his head. “No. It just makes me stupid.” He threw down his gun and walked away.

“I suppose this is good-by then,” I said.

“It is. Don’t let me catch you again,” he said in a hard tone. “I won’t be so generous next time.”

There was that confidence again. One of many things I found so appealing about the detective. I tipped my head. “Don’t worry, detective. I’m the Spider. I know how to stay hidden in the shadows, remember?”

  • What drew you to this book, this series? What were your expectations going in?
  • Now having read the book, what’s your impression of Gin? What do you think of Gin’s world, of her being an assassin?
  • Spider’s Bite is told in 1st person narrative from Gin’s point-of-view. How do you feel about this type of narration?
  • What’s your take on the secondary characters like Fletcher, Finn, Mab Monroe, and the Deveraux sisters?
  • The attraction and the chemistry between Gin and Donovan it’s smoking hot. It’s there and it’s so intense, they can’t fight it. But Donovan has conflicting feelings. On the one hand, he wants Gin. He lusts for her. On the other hand, his morals won’t let him get involved with an assassin, particularly the assassin who killed his partner (though he doesn’t know the reason why – you can read about what went down for yourself in the free short story Spider’s Bargain) and the very assassin whom he should be arresting and not lusting after. Do you think they have a chance? Or do you think Donovan will be able to walk away from the brief interlude they had and go after her for killing his partner like he said he would?
  • What do you think is next for Gin? Things got resolved in this book and there are 7+ more books to go. What do you want to see happen with these characters?
  • What do you think about Gin’s flashbacks regarding what happened to her family? What are your theories about what happened to them? How many Fire Elementals have we met so far? 

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. My expectations were pretty high, to be honest. I wanted to read about a strong heroine. I see the trend with female assassins in UB books is to portray them half-afraid. And I was so glad Gin wasn't like that. She had a healthy dose of fear, but it wasn't overwhelming and I didn't spend half of the time reading about how afraid she was, how scared, how she was covered in cold sweat and things like that.

    I liked Gin. She is a smart girl. And I like that she can do both Stone and Ice magic, even if her Ice magic isn't as strong. I love seeing her in action and kick some butts.

    I can't say 1st person narrative is my favorite. I would have wanted Donovan Cain's perspective from now and then. But I do think Estep did a good job with this narrative. It was definitely better than I expected.

    I was sorry Fletcher died. I really wanted to know more about him. And I'm sure he was a very fun character to read about. I'm still hoping we get to actually see Mab Monroe being a bully, like Gin called her. So far we've only been told she's the big, bad wolf in the city. And the fact that she killed Haley doesn't really help me, personally, to believe that.

    Donovan seems like the wrong guy for Gin so far. I didn't see him as the hot, sexy hero. I think he's far too prejudiced. I think even Finn is better for Gin. Either that, or Donovan has a secret, a dark one. Something that happened that makes him so against assassins and so hell bent on catching all the bad guys. And the same something is making him him blind to the people he considers good.

    I do hope Donovan gets to let someone close to him. And Finn needs to grow up a little. He's a fun character, sort of like the comedian of the series. But I'd love to see him settle down with a girl. And I want to know more about the Deveraux sisters. Who they are, where they come from.

    If I'm not mistaken, we only meet Mab as a Fire Elemental in this book. Maybe she killed Gin's family. Though why torture Gin first and not kill her? What danger could Gin, a teenager, present to the Fire Elemental, a woman with enough power to kill two very good Ice Elementals, adults? From what we've been told about Mab, I got the impression that she doesn't like to waste time. I don't know, maybe Mab knows something.

    1. I agree, Gin is a strong heroine. And you kind of figure she'd have to be, considering she an assassin.

      I would have loved to have gotten some of Donovan's POV too!

      It's funny how we see differently about which man is good for Gin. I think her relationship with Finn is too brotherly/sisterly for there to be any romance. LOL

    2. I agree, Finn and Gin are too brother/sister for a romance. Though I have to admit, I was a little surprised they'd slept together, as Donovan was. But I liked that even in this Gin is a unique heroine

    3. I was surprised by that. And yes, they are like brother and sister. But from what I've read in this first book, I'm not exactly convinced about Donovan and Gin as a couple. As partners trying to solve a mystery, yes. They work well together. But as lovers... so far, I don't see it :P

  2. I love UF and I kept hearing great things about it. I grabbed Spider's Bite for my Nook when it was on sale really cheap but after getting all the other books on sale on audio I ended up grabbing it on audio as well. And I loved this one so much that I've now finished books 2 & 3. LOL

    Judging by the cover and the fact that Gin is an assassin I figured there would be action and some blood. I figured she would be a kick butt chick. And I was not wrong. She starts the book out killing and I loved it.

    Gin being an assassin is a great story line. She not a bad guy, she takes them out and get paid for it. Sometimes she does it for free which shows she has a good side. I think Gin is a gray character. Meaning that she might do things that others see as "bad" but she has good reasons to them .

    The thing with Donovan could be hotter. Yeah he sounds sexy but the way the acts toward Gin sometimes makes me not like him.

    Broke my heart about Fletcher. I love Finn and his man whoring ways. He is a great friend to Gin and I can't wait to see what his future is in the series.

    I also like the Deveraux sisters. I want to know more about Sophia and why she can't or doesn't talk more. There's a story there and I hope we get it hear it one day.

    As far as the POV being 1st person I'm fine with it. Most books I read are that way. Especially in the UF genre. I would like to know what some of the other characters are thinking but it's Gin's story so it only feels right to hear it through her.

    About what I want to see in the next books.... Well like I said I'm done through book 3 and some of the personal things that I wanted has happened but I want to see Gin solve the mystery about the elemental that killed her family. And of course more blood and action. And I want to see more one character that we meet in book 2......

    1. I've been seeing your updates on Twitter and I'm jealous! I want to be further along in the series but I decided to wait so as not to form any opinions that could be spoilery in the discussions.

      I agree with you about being bad for good reason. She's doing society a favor really, by taking out the trash.

      I'm interested to see what's in store for Finn as well.

  3. I'm with Ruby, I'm not fond of the first person narration because as much as I love Gin, I want more from Donovan's POV.

    I think this is also only the second time I'll be reading a series which feature the same couple. (My first is the Cut & Run series I've been reading and reviewing here on TBV.)

    I think the strength of this first book is how well written the characters are. First, of course is Gin, she's such a unique female character who does the rescuing and planning but is inside vulnerable. I'd make the argument that she's the quintessential Alpha Heroine and that's truly unique in UF and romance in general. Donovan is more the sidekick in their investigation. I think because it's Gin POV, Donovan isn't as nuanced a character and that is a miss, IMO. I like that he's a good guy and I know this is only book one but I want him to be a little more nuanced with Gin's shades of gray as Jennifer said. Finn and the Deveraux sisters are stellar and I can't wait to see where they lead.

    As to the world building, just awesome! The elementals are fascinating, as well as the other supers, like the vampires. I wouldn't read this series if it didn't have the great mythos to it.

    Thank you for getting me to try this series! I'm hooked now.

    1. You know, it would have been interesting to get inside Donovan's head, but as Jen mentions below, we got a good sense of their thoughts and feelings because of their reactions and words. It worked for me, though I'm a huge fan of multiple POVs, if done well.

      Go forth and read! Enjoy!

    2. I'm with you ladies on wanting to get Donovan's prospective on things. I want to see more of him. I like the guy. I guess the 'hard to get' thing appeals to me :)

      Gin is totally running the show and I like that!

      J9 - you have no idea how happy it makes me to know that you enjoyed a book I recommended!

    3. Yep, you hit a homerun on this one!

  4. I am going to join in when you get to Spider's Revenge as that is the book that I am on :)

  5. 1) What drew me in, was the kick-ass cover-love the dagger she's holding!

    2) I loved Gin-She's strong, caring, kick-ass, and everything I love in a UF chick! I enjoyed her assassin skills and how she's determined and stealthy-she goes in full force, but remains controlled.

    3)Didn't mind the first person POV

    4)The secondary characters were great. I felt they enhanced the book, and Gin's character.
    Fletcher was the father figure who took her under his wing, although not the best of circumstance(becoming an assassin) you truly see he cares for her.
    I also enjoyed Jo Jo and Sophia-they always came thru for Gin, and Jo Jo always seemed to try and boost Gin's confidence One of my fav. quotes was Jo Jo talking to Gin;
    "Pure strength is one thing, darling, weather it's magical or natural. It'll only get you so far. But how you use what you've been given-that's what really matters. When you figure that out, ain't nobody going to be able to touch you. Sounds like words of wisdom!!!

    5)I don't think Donovan can walk away from Gin-he's hooked- just like I am with this series! I think Gin, Finn, Donovan, and the sisters make a great team!! I only hope they all will be around for more adventures.

    6)I can see alot more of Gin's story unfolding-just from having Mab around. It seems like Gin, even though she retired, will be back for more excitment. She has a strong element that she still needs to work on. Jennifer did a great job with introducing the many characters and elements in this book, it has me curious to see who/what has powers and how they are used. The ending was great as I am now even more curious about what happened to her family and if her sister is really alive, and what other secrets she uncovers from Fletcher's envelope...

    7)I'm pretty sure Gin's family shared in her elemental powers, with powers of their own. I'm not sure if Mab was the center of the killing's but I'm sure she has an inkling of what happened.

    Thanks for this read-a-long! I had this book sitting on my shelf for sooo long and really wanted to start it. Thanks for the push and I'm already diving into book#2!

    1. I agree with on Jo Jo and Sophia. That was one of my favorite Jo Jo quotes too.

    2. The secondary characters are hella likable in this series. JoJo has tons of wisdom and is like a mama bear. Sophia is not a woman of many words, but her actions speak louder than any words I've ever heard! FINN! I love that guy so much! What a hoot. Brings a lightness to heavy scenery.

    3. "What’s your take on the secondary characters like Fletcher, Finn, Mab Monroe, and the Deveraux sisters?

      I love all the secondary characters in this series. They are all colorful and pop right off the pages. Gin is a strong protagonist and the secondaries are a great backdrop. Finn is my absolute favorite secondary and I think Estep write fantastic villains as well. As the series has progressed I've come to love the Deveraux sisters.

    4. "Pure strength is one thing, darling, weather it's magical or natural. It'll only get you so far. But how you use what you've been given-that's what really matters. When you figure that out, ain't nobody going to be able to touch you."

      I like this quote too.

  6. I'd like to start by saying THANK YOU! I'm so glad you ladies decided to do a read-along for this series. It's been on my shelf for waaaay to long. Okay on to the discussion:

    The cover caught my eye and when I read that it was about a female assassin I was pretty much hooked. I don't know what it is about a female assassin that gets me every time. I had high expectations going in. I mean you tell me the book is about a female assassin I pretty much expect bad assery of all kinds. Glad I wasn't disappointed.

    I think Ms. Gin Blanco is one bad mammajamma. She takes care of business and does a damn good job of it. And even though she needs to be cold hearted and calculating to do what she does she still has a sense of loyalty to those she loves and cares about. Two thumbs up for the world Jennifer created. I love that you get a good sense of what the 'nice' part of town and the 'bad' part of town is like. I love when an author can portray gritty and pretty in the same world.

    I didn't have an issue with the 1st person narrative. Even though we're only seeing the world through Gin's eyes, Jennifer does a really good job of giving you an idea of what the other characters might be thinking with they way she describes their reactions.

    Let me start by saying....WWWWWHHHHHYYYYY!?! *throws self to knees and fists in the air* WWWWHHHHYYYYY DID IT HAVE TO BE FLETCHER!!! *ahem* Okay now that I got that out of my system....I loved all of the secondary characters. Even the super evil ones. I feel like they all stood out in their own way and added something to the story and/or Gin's character.

    I'd like to think that Donovan can get past the whole 'you killed my partner hence we must be mortal enemies' thing but, I don't think he can. Seems that he's firmly seated on the side of By The Book Good Cop to let himself get involved with Gin. I hope I'm wrong though because he's definitely smokin' hot.

    More high jinks and mayhem? Perhaps more bloodshed and craziness? I'm hoping book 2 will focus on the tidbit of info that Fletch left for Gin. I'm also interested to see if she ends up using her skill set moving forward. Maybe a little more horizontal mambo action with the fine detective. ;-)

    My theory is that Mab's the one to blame for what happened to Gin's family. Or maybes there's some other crazed fire elemental who she will eventually run into in the other books.

    1. Wasn't that sex scene in the closet HOT! I had to reread it a few times. heh.

      I'm glad you enjoyed Gin. She is a BAMF to the Nth degree. She is cold and calculating but she holds on to her morals and humanity as much as she can in her line of work.

      WHY FLETCHER! *whines* I guess it had to catapult the story forward. :( Don't you love Finn? He just gets better and better, too!

    2. I think the flashbacks of how Gin came to be with Fletcher made his death even more poignant. And how she sought vengeance and retribution was a perfect example of her tough assassin creed mixed with vulnerable woman. And yes, I loove the man-whore Finn. I was worried he'd be killed too so I was relieved that wasn't the case and he adds a much needed humor to the dark world, IMO.

    3. Female assassins get me every time too. It's like I have a girl crush on them. LOL

      I want Donovan to be able to get over Gin killing his partner but like you, I don't see it happening. Why doesn't Gin just tell him why she was hired to kill him??

      And yes, the closet sex scene was RAWR!!

  7. I posted my review this morning. I don't have time to answer the discussion questions now but I'll try to come back later!

  8. It was probably the cover (isn't it awesome?) that initially drew me in. I was also trying out the Urban Fantasy genre when I first read this book a year ago. I didn't have any expectations since I was testing the UF waters. But now that I've read this book (as well as book two), and it was an amazing read, my expectations are now pretty high.

    I love the assassin aspect. It's interesting and Gin is badass. I can't wait to read more.

    I like that the book was told in 1st person POV because I feel like I'm in Gin's shoes. It's like getting a first-hand experience to everything she does. I think it helps that she's a doer and doesn't over think things.

    I like the whole ensemble of characters. We don't know Fletcher all that well before he's murdered but his death affected me. I like the brother-sister relationship between Finn and Gin. They have been intimate in the past but both are over it and they don't let it effect their friendship. It's like they tried it and it didn't work but it's out of their system and there's no awkwardness.

    I'm kind of hoping it will somehow work out between Gin and Donovan. I love the conflicted relationship they have. I also like that Gin went after what she wanted. She didn't wait for him to make the first move.

    I don't know what's in store for Gin, beyond book 2, but I can't wait to find out! I know this UF and UF usually doesn't have romance but I can't help but want romance!!

    I love the flashbacks and dream scenes. We get the background information from her past and it sheds light on how she became an assassin. I think the only Fire Elemental we've met so far is Mab Monroe. I wouldn't be surprised if she is the one responsible for Gin's family's murders, given her ruthless nature. And if that turns out to be the case, I'm curious to as why. Why did Mab come after Gin's family?

  9. I've heard a ton about Estep, but hadn't read any yet. This was the perfect opportunity.

    I think Estep did a great job of world building. Now I don't read a lot of UF so my world building criteria may not be the same as big readers in the genre. I really liked that the world was so similar to ours but that there was just a good twist of something extra with the elemental magic and the dark Sin City atmosphere.

    As long as the main character doesn't annoy me into oblivion I don't care if it's first person or third person.

    The secondary characters were awesome. I loved the Deveraux sisters. They were my favorite. Also, I loved the set up of Finn being a ladies man but not a love interest for Gin. Also, I was so pissed when Fletcher died.

    Of course Gin and Donovan have a chance, that's what gets a reader like me hooked. :)

    What's ahead for Gin? Trouble. Big time trouble and I can't wait to start the next book. I'm wondering if all of this is a build up to a big showdown with Mab later on in the series. I think she killed Gin's family. Also, can't wait to meet the sister.

    1. What's ahead for Gin? Trouble. Big time trouble....

      LMAO!! And you're probably soooo right! And I think there's going to be a big showdown with Mab too.

  10. I've had Spider's Bite on my radar since its pre-release buzz! Once I read some early reviews it went on my tbr list where it sat neglected for over two years! Every time one of my blogging friends reviewed the latest Gin book, I was kicking myself for not starting the series. I'm so glad you two decided to host a read along--I'm finally committed to catching up!

    I think one of the biggest appeals of this book is the shadiness of Gin's character. An assassin protagonist? Bring it on. I love having my moral convictions challenged, which Gin's character definitely does. The more the lines of black and white, good and evil blur, the better. It makes us squirm a little in our comfort levels and gives us something to really think about. I love how confident, assertive she is. She doesn't bullshit about ANYTHING gets the job done right and accepts the consequences and then deals with it. Even if it hurts her deep inside, she follows through and toughs it up. I think this is pretty unique in a female protagonist--at least with my reading experience and I welcome it.

    Not only do I love how Gin's role as an assassin walks a shaky line between right and wrong, but I also love how complicated the chemistry is between Gin and Donovan. It's so frustrating to see how badly they both want and need to be in a relationship with each other but at the same time know how conflicted they must be about each other. The anger and resentment and mean things Donovan said to her after they they had sex in the closet and consequently lost Finn and Rosalyn was very cutting and at the same time it was very telling how much it hurt Gin. As a romance reader, I found his reaction very refreshing. I want them to hurt and be angry and struggle for something substantial and healthy to grow between them. If it came too easy for these two, it just wouldn't be believable given their natures.

    I think most of the challenge here is on Donovan's side, but still, Gin has a lot to figure out, too. I wouldn't want her to change for anyone, but at the same time, I'd like to see her find some peace in her heart over what happened to her and her family all those years ago and maybe tap into her softer side. We know it's in there. Maybe she needs someone like Donovan in her life to help her find that peace and healing. I hope so.

    Losing Fletcher was heart breaking. Heart breaking because I really liked the guy. Heart breaking because he was tortured and heart breaking because of what it did to Finn and Gin. So sad.

    I highlighted a bunch of quotes or passages in this book, including some of the ones Brianna highlighted and definitely the quote from Jo-Jo that Silverlight mentions in her comment. That one is particularly telling of Gin's confidence in herself--not just her power--and shows that she still has some self-revelations ahead of her.

    This one really struck a chord with me:
    "But tonight, something about the blood made me feel old. Tired. Used up. Just once, it might be nice to go out at night and not have to incinerate my clothes when I got home. Just once."

    It made me really feel sad for Gin. The girl needs a little love and attention. Someone to take care of her a little.. even if it's for a few hours or a night, you know?

    I also loved the banter between Alexis and Gin when they come face to face for the first time right before their showdown [chapter 28]. I loved this exchange:

    "So you're the mysterious Spider." ... "I thought you'd be taller."

    "And I thought you'd have more taste than to wear that clichéd witch's cloak. What are you? Twelve?"

    I'm looking forward to piecing more of Gin's past together. We really don't know that much about what happened at all.. just the outcome.

    1. I love people's reactions when they find out that Gin is the Spider!

    2. Gin's moral complexity is why I love her so much!

  11. This series came highly recommended from many reviewers. I expected a Nikita-type story line.

    I think Gin is a badass chick! She's not afraid to get her hands dirty.

    It's not easy to write a good 1st person POV. I think Estep does a phenomenal job.

    Fletcher intrigued me so I was sad to see him get killed off in book 1 but Gin has a lot of flashback memories involving him in the next few books so we don't stop learning more about him even though he's dead which I like. I'm still if-fy on Finn and not sure how he'll fit in as this series progresses. I LOVE the dwarf sisters! They're super fun. As for Mab... I'm on the 3rd book so... DIE B!&$h DIE! Lol

    I like the chemistry between Gin & Donovan. The "bad girl" seducing a cop is HOT! But ultimately, I don't think he's the guy for her.

    I don't think she'll be able to stay out of the killing business for long.

    Jennifer Estep has succeeded in grabbing my attention with this book so it's wide open right now. I'm willing to follow wherever she leads.

    I think the flashbacks are setting up the main plot line of this series. I think we've only met 1 fire so far so I have an idea who the ultimate big bad might be. ;)

    1. The "bad girl" seducing a cop is HOT! Yes, yes it is!!

      I don't think he's the guy for her. I'm afraid you're going to be right.

    2. I think Gin can do better than Donovan, even though I still love reading the closet scene. ;)

  12. I started this series last summer but only made it through Book 2. I was hooked on the series via TTS on my Kindle 3, but Book 2 - 7 has TTS disabled so I had to "read" and I went on a kind of strike in protest LOL. So this read-along was a great opportunity to get back into Gin's life.

    What I loved most about this book is Gin's complete badassness. She's an unapologetic assassin. What's not to love?

    I think First person POV is a great way to get inside her head and see her life only. I'm a huge fan of this style of writing because I really feel deeply engaged with the narrator and the story.

    All of the supporting characters are well written and stand out on their own. Fin especially. His relationship with Gin is pure love you/hate you sister brother love and JoJo and Sophia are simply icing on the cake. I instantly fell in love with Fletcher and was sad when he was killed. But alas - every good series needs a good death to drive the story :)

    I'm not sure how I feel about Gin and Donovan. Estep did a FANTASTIC job with writing Donovan as a tight-butt-straight-laced-do-no-harm-cop. I was irritated that Gin never told him his partner was a beast. Yes the sex was hot - but it really stood out as an oil and water combo that left me wanting more. Again - I blame Estep for being such a great writer -- I was just as conflicted about their relationship as they were LOL.

    Since I'm on book 3 right now (Venom) I'll skip the last two questions since I know more. But Spider's Bite was a great entry into this fabulous series.

    1. How funny - I started this series last year (in September) and only made it through book 2 as well. And then I got busy with the baby and yadda yadda yadda, you know how that goes. LOL

      I wish Gin would have told Donovan about his good-for-nothing-rotten partner too. Why didn't she??

    2. "tight-butt-straight-laced-do-no-harm-cop" - love that description! I was also angry at Gin for keeping Ingles true self a secret, but I think that was her compassionate side taking over for once. She wanted to shield him from the truth, even if she thought it might help their relationship.

  13. I started this book two days ago, but RL got in the middle and I'm not finished yet, but promised to came back tomorrow and answer all those questions, because tonight is all about Gin!!

  14. Fudge, I flaked out and didn't get the book finished in time. I'll be all caught up next month!

  15. I am a fan of the Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance genre and I was drawn to the idea of elementals rather than the more usual vampires or werewolves. I also liked the idea of the heroine being an assassin because this promised complex relationships and lots of gray moral decisions to keep things interesting. As usual, my only expectation was that I would enjoy the journey.

    I like Gin. She is competent and composed and there seems to be a gritty realism about the way she conducts her business. I was a little afraid that she might not be totally convincing, but she certainly has the coldness required to be a successful assassin and didn’t really make any goofy mistakes that made me wonder how she had earned her reputation. I was very happy about this, because I didn’t want the edgy heroine to suddenly become useless when the manly man showed up! :)

    I always imagine that a writer must spend a lot of time debating whether or not to use the first person narrative. It does give us a very deep understanding of Gin and makes here voice very clear for us. This is great for introducing her and letting us understand her motives. However, it does reduce the information we get about other characters. I suspect that Gin would be very difficult to like if she was not the narrator because she is so cold and contained, and so I like it in this case.

    The secondary characters are well drawn and three dimensional, which is excellent. They each have a strong voice of their own and are memorable in their differences. I am intrigued by Sophia and would like to know more about her, although she is great as mysterious comic relief at the moment. I was actually sad when Fletcher was killed, mostly because of how it made Gin feel, which is surprising considering how early in the book he met his end.

    I would have preferred more smoldering and friction in this book, with the sex saved for later in the series, because it did feel a little out of place here. I guess that grief could be cited as an excuse, but I was a little disappointed that Gin allowed her emotions to get in the way of dealing with Fletcher’s killer. I have a feeling that their relationship will continue to be mostly physical and be very on/off as they cannot ignore each other but are always at odds because of their different outlooks on life.

    I thought it was pretty obvious that Bria was not dead, so I assume that we will follow Gin’s quest to find her sister. I also thought that Mab was almost too obvious as the guilty fire elemental, but I could be wrong.

    Whatever happens in the next book, I do hope that we have far fewer examples of my two pet peeves from this book, “my grey eyes” and “Mmmm”, which were used so often that they were annoying me! :D

  16. Gin is strong like Merit from Chicagoland Vampires and it’s really powerful. I liked that she doesn’t use her power as a everyday thing and trust in her body and training to succeeded. And her confidence is really high. But she’s the Spider and always finish the job so that’s kinda expected.

    I prefer 1st person, it’s always better to know how she feels and how she’s handling things after they go wrong.

    I liked Finn and the Deveraux sister, they are strong and supportive of Gin, but also know the reality. Mab didn’t showed herself very much in this book and there was only references of her and her power, need to know more to actually say something, but she’s powerful.

    Fletcher is another thing, since he died right at the start and the story was all about revenge, I get the feeling he treated Gin like a daughter and she’s really grateful and happy for him, but couldn’t he raise her like a normal kid? Finn is more normal than her, but I guess he wanted his legacy taken care of and she had some power to handle it.

    I think Gin and Donovan have a chance on the future, but it’s only up for the detective. Their world is really bad, but he’s so nice to people and can’t overlook some mistakes. But he’s only problem to me is his blindness to his ex-partner. He treated the guy like a saint and when he died killed by an assassin he should have investigated better, because I good guy wouldn’t need an assassin in the first place.

    I think Gin is going to find her sister and the elemental how killed her family, but it’s not going to be easy, so maybe she will need to kill some people on the road, and discover some secrets, maybe that’s how the series got so long.

    I think Mab is part of her future and her past. Maybe she’s responsible for what happened years ago with Gin, but I don’t think it’s that easy.

  17. Better late than never? I know I'm super late, but I just couldn't get it read by Friday... I'll do better next time, promise. Anyway, here's some quick takes on my first impression.

    First, I'm a huge PNR/UF reader. I'm eclectic in my reading taste, but those genres pretty much take up most of my reading time. Second, I don't think I've ever been able to turn down a book that Ashley has recommended. Granted, it may take me a while to get to them, but I always do, eventually. So basically, what choice did I have but to pick this first book up. Needless to say, I am now hooked.

    When I first read the synopsis I was wondering how an author could turn an assassin into a heroine that I could relate to. Wow... the premise and the connection between her and the other characters left me with no further doubts. She was a great female lead character. Enough said.

    As for the narrative style.. there aren't many that bother me. I don't mind first person, especially when there are different POV throughout the book. I could handle only having Gin's though because her personality and take on the situation at hand was interesting. Plus, she had great insight into what the characters around her were thinking and feeling so it didn't seem like anyone was left out.

    The other characters? I don't think that there were any that I didn't love by the end of the book. Finn's take on things was priceless and I loved the sibling banter between him and Gin. Losing Fletcher broke my heart. *sigh* I loved the Deveraux sisters too. They were a perfect balance to each other. Can't decide which one of them I liked best. Mab is too much of an unknown to form an opinion on yet, but she's going to be a huge force to contend with I'm sure.

    Then there is Donovan and Gin. Wow... that was pretty combustible. I like how Gin goes after what she wants. Donovan irritated me with his preconceived opinions. His draw to Gin was obvious, but he was so cruel with her at times. Of course he could only see her for what he thought she was, but he was given enough glimpses into the real Gin that he should have taken a hint. I kept expecting Finn to have enough and tell Donovan exactly who Clint was. I know why Gin didn't and I almost can't wait until Donovan gets to the point where he sees Gin for who she really is and feels like a heel. Wishful thinking?

    I have no idea what's in store for Gin and company next. I do know that it's going to be a fun ride regardless. I know she's retired, but trouble will find her. Can't wait to start the next book.

    I loved the flash back sequences and the revelations at the end were intriguing.

    Thanks Ashley and Brianna for hosting! Great questions and the quotes chosen this month were perfect. ;)

    1. I'm with you, it was amazing Estep could take an assassin and make readers relate to her. I'm not normally a first-person narration fan but since I love Gin it worked really well.

      Is this a first time read for you too? I wonder how many of us are first-timers and how many involved are rereaders...be interesting to know!

    2. Yep, this is my first read too and I'm buying them as I go, which is why I was behind this time. I need to get the next one a little sooner this month so I can jump in with everyone else. ;) I can see that this will be a series that I will go back to and reread though.

  18. Completely late and missed the party here, but I did finally get to reading this book over the weekend so maybe I will do better next month. I'm not going to chime in on all the discussion, but I did want to state how much I love that there is actual sex in this book. So many of the UF don't ever go there and I love that this series will. And I love that Finn is a man-whore and their relationship. I could see it becoming more eventually, although I do really like Donovan...he just needs to have his extreme ideology knocked down a few pegs into reality. I think Gin is the girl for that job.

    I'll do better next month! smiles...

  19. I'm also completely late to the party, but I'm playing catch up! I'll post my answers here, but I'm also posting at my blog, to try to get more people to join in :D

    I mostly picked up this series because a friend had read and reviewed Spider's Bite for the blog, and Smash had pointed me towards her read-a-long. I love read-a-longs!! Also, I'm always up for trying another urban fantasy series! My expectations were definitely for a typical urban fantasy series with a tough chick with all the moves going and killing people because she has to right some wrong or something. There would definitely be a hot guy in there somewhere to, and probably some cool magic that the tough chick is uber good at ;-).

    I'm not going to lie, Gin came off as a little too tough for me at first. I mean come on, there is only so much that a person can go on about not having emotions before it starts seeming trite. I get the whole she lost her family and kills people for a living making her into a cold person thing, but she has to have some emotions in order for us to connect to her, so it just ends up her with her sounding hypocritical when she goes on and on about emotions making someone weak. Anyway, I think the world she is in is freaking awesome, and the assassin gig (what we saw of it at least) seemed rough, but worked for her!

    I'm totally fine with first person narrative. I think it works really well in urban fantasy and allows us to really connect with the main character. Since this genre tends to be about one person's (woman's) struggle against some difficulty, it makes a lot of sense to focus just on how Gin is feeling about everything. It also makes it easy for me to connect with the book, since I'm a woman and have a generally easy time connecting with female characters when the story is in first person.

    Fletcher was awesome and his story made me sad, Finn was a little over the top, but it worked. We didn't really get to know Mab at all, so I can't judge her. I think we'll get to know her better in later books, so I'm going to reserve judgement ;-). The Deveraux sisters, wow, those women.... just wow. Great bad gals!

    I think that Donovan will have to look into his partner's past, because he is a curious and moral person. Once he figures out the truth, if he can deal with it and not completely break, he and Gin totally have a chance, especially given the ending of Spider's Bite. I think that as soon as Donovan realizes that Gin is an assassin, but not a monster, that she has rules, he might be more willing to understand her.

    Well, there was some pretty heavy foreshadowing that she was going to start investigating her family's murder, so I think that that is going to be the start of the next book. It seems likely that during that process, something else will crop up that she will deal with, and her family's murder will probably be a several book plot, if not the plot of the whole series. I also see Donovan and Gin teaming up again in the future to take down Mab and save the world :D.

    The memories.... They're sad? At the beginning of the book, they hit me as a little overdramatic, I mean, there is only so much horribleness that I can take before I get overburdened by how horrible a character's life is ya know? But I'm definitely interested in finding out why all that death happened, since it doesn't seem like we every got a good reason. As far as I recall, I think we've only met one major Fire Elemental, and then maybe a couple street performers?

    And my full post will be here when it goes live: Live on Nov. 10th

    And now I'm off to read Web of Lies!

    -Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

    1. Haha, so I realized after I wrote this that I had gotten my sisters mixed up! The Deveraux sisters are awesome, not the crazy bad sisters, last names are hard okay xD


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