Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassins #14) by Jennifer Estep

Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin) - Jennifer Estep

Gin Blanco has a new enemy. Deidre, Finn’s mother. Unfortunately she’s not just powerful and dangerous – but she’s also very very very good at manipulating Finn’s desperate emotions. Which means Gin has to play nice


She’s not very good at it. And definitely not a fan. Sometimes it’s easier when you just have to stab someone in the face.




I said in my last review of an Elemental Assassin book that this series has become very very formulaic (not bad, because I love the formula, but still) following the same basic pattern


Gin: *cooking BBQ*

Big Bad: Rawr, I am big bad and will control all Ashland and it’s improbably huge crime rate despite the Spider’s habit of stabbing everyone in the face which would suggest I’d be better off going somewhere else.

Gin: I will find you Big Bad and stab you in the face!

Big Bad: no because I have awesome powers! Super duper rare awesome powers like the last 10 face-stabbed people who tried this.

Gin: Oh no! *is captured/tortured/despairs*

Gin: Wait, past 50% of book! Escape time! See you, Sugah, bless your heart, belatedly remembered southernism. And I remember I have super powers! And Awesome friends!

Awesome friends: Yo!

Jo-Jo: *Cure Major Wounds*

Gin: Now I stab you in the face!

Big Bad: Aaaargh *is stabbed in the face*

Gin: *Makes dinner*


When I finished this book, my first thought was that we’d finally broken the pattern! And then realised that I was being, perhaps, a little optimistic there. I mean we have deviations but that same basic is there – super powerful enemy appears, we have the original set back and then the come back of awesome


So, it’s not exactly not following the same formulaic pattern. And a lot of the twists – with Deidre being Finn’s long lost mother, are somewhat repeating the same patterns we saw when Owen was dealing with Salina (which the book even gives a nod to).

However, while there are a number of similarities still, the pattern itself is disrupted by a whole lot of revelations towards the end of the book. And the introduction of a new big bad. Ok, since Mab Monroe died there have been a number of big bads brought in to replace her (including her daughter) and has followed the same pattern only briefer. But this book introduces an antagonist that is a concept, an organisation rather than a big bad scary elemental who is scary because of their big, bad scary powers. More, this affects the whole structure of the city, everything that Gin has done and everything she is part of.


In general, it feels like this book is bringing in a series reboot, a different focus and a change from the current pattern of repeated powerful one shot enemies. While we have a lot of similarities here, we can see the change of direction – we’re going somewhere new from here, or I hope so

And, like I said in my last book review, unoriginal doesn’t mean bad. That’s one thing that’s been hard in these reviews, pointing out how very formulaic these books are while, at the same time, making it clear that they’re still good books, still a load of fun and still worth a read.


It also comes with a lot of personal examinations and the excellent shared history between the characters – including Gin and Finn. Because Gin and Finn were an already established relationship before the book series began, in some ways we’ve had less insight and examination of their connection than we have, say, with Bria or Owen and Gin. It was a nice addition.


I’ve also noted a few interesting link ins with the Black Blade Series. In some ways I appreciate this because I like large, multi-series worlds, but I’m not sure it works – the magic, the creatures, everything is so different between the two series, I’m not sure they can be smooshed together into the same world setting.



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