Title: The Spider
Series: Elemental Assassin, Book 10
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Sensuality Rating: Sensual
Source: review copy provided via Edelweiss
Published: December 24, 2013 by Pocket Books
The tenth book in the bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series finally reveals for the first time the origins of Gin Blanco’s career as the deadliest of assassins.
For the first time, the origins of Gin Blanco’s career as the deadly assassin “the Spider” are revealed in full. In a story that pre-dates the other nine books in the series, Gin Blanco goes through her paces to become the most feared assassin in the Ashland.
Why I Read this Book: I am a HUGE fan of the Elemental Assassin series. When I read the books in this series, the words just melt away and I’m in the story.
What I Liked: The Spider felt like it was written to suit my reading tastes. Being that the bulk of The Spider is a flashback from ten years prior, I had thought it was going to be a book in which readers see Gin go through training exercises which, admittedly, sounded a bit bland compared to the other novels in this series. While we do see Gin in training, it was not a mix-match of events that took place like I had thought the book was going to be. There is one specific hit Gin was hired to take care off. And there’s the added bonus of a love interest. The Spider was just as gripping as the other books, if not more so. There’s history here that the reader is privy to that they weren’t before along with quite a bit of foreshadowing going on.
We get to see Gin in her early, rookie days. She’s not the expert assassin we’ve read about in all nine of the preceding books. In fact, you can see how Gin has grown and learned from each book on. Since The Spider is set ten years before the first book in the series even takes place, we can almost expect there to be mistakes made. Gin is a bit cocky and a little too sure of herself here in this timeline. And to use Gin’s own words: sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. We see Gin have some doubts about her assignment; she questions things so there’s some uncertainty. She was terribly narrow-minded and a bit naïve in her early days as an assassin. She was also not as stealthy and aware as she is now. It was good to see how much Gin has honed in on her skill.
The author does a great job of giving readers small pieces of the puzzle without giving too much away at one time. I still had questions until the last of the pieces were put together. It was also clever that the author incorporated a unknown mystery element (MMM) from the current timeline in the series into this prequel.
There were some characters that Gin meets, and some she only saw, for the first time in this point of time of her life – characters that Gin knows in present day time, which was interesting to see play out. Then there was a new character introduced in The Spider and I have to wonder why we haven’t heard of this person until now, in Gin’s flashback. And why now? And will we see more of this character in the next book? Things that make me go hmmm…
And lastly, we finally find out where Gin and Quinn stand, relationship wise.
Overall Impression: Being a prequel written into an already well-established series, I was a little apprehensive about an entire book being dedicated to past events. Any apprehension was foolish on my part. I also didn’t think that The Spider could progress the current storyline but I was proved wrong. A new reader could start the series with this book, so as long as they went to book one right after reading The Spider, but I think to completely grasp the parallels in this book, you’d have to be caught up on the series.
Brianna’s reviews for other books in this series:
Spider’s Bite, Book 1
Web of Lies, Book 2
Venom, Book 3
Tangled Threads, Book 4
Spider’s Revenge, Book 5
By A Thread, Book 6
Widow’s Web, Book 7
Deadly Sting, Book 8
Heart of Venom, Book 9