Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin)

Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep Gin, the Spider, is an assassin. She kills people for money and she's very very good at it, even in a world with vampires, elementals, dwarfs and giants – she hardly even needs to use her Stone and Ice magic, her knives and training are more than enough.Until a job goes wrong. Her employer has double crossed her and is now out to kill her and her loved ones to continue to frame her for a death she didn't cause. Working with her remaining family and a reluctant police officer who complicates things by being both extremely hot and enraged by her previous job killing his partner, she must find out who is after her, why – and avenge the dead.I loved this book. No, I really did though for a while I didn't think I would. The characters are very real and very well developed, Gin herself is a wonderfully deep character with a nuanced and full portrayals. She mixes the vulnerable street kid she was, her familial angst (and yes, it's another Urban Fantasy protagonist with the Tortured Past. AGAIN) her desires, her drives and being a cold blooded assassin extremely well to form a full character. I found her interactions with Finn funny and very real – and even her interactions with detective Caine, even if the sex was a little contrived.Despite being vulnerable and pining for a lost father figure, she's a strong, capable, deadly and dangerous. While she has powerful magic, most of her lethal skills come down to her just being better than the men around her – better trained, better skilled not needing magic. She's also completely and utterly unabashedly sexual which is nice to see. She likes Caine, thinks he's hot and is horny so wants to have sex. End of – no need for twu luv (though I suspect that develops later in the series) no soul searching about being a “good girl” or anything like that (and yes, I'm tired of seeing protagonists kill 4 people then worry whether their sex lives make them a bad person) just “you're hot, I'm horny, let's get it on!”I also love the world. It's large with a range of mystical beings and it has several surprising twists. Vampires aren't top of the hierarchy. The introduction of dwarfs and giants are fairly original in the genre. It's also resisted the urge to play with “fantasy prejudice”. Dwarfs, vampires, giants and elementals (elementals are more magical talent and you can be an elemental and human or vampire or dwarf etc etc) are part of society and they're just that, part of society. A police captain is a Giant. The leading socialite stylist is a dwarf. Vampires make up a lot of street prostitutes and heavy in the sex industry (because some can feed on sex as well) but can be in every tier of business too. This is probably the first book I've read where the supernatural is fully integrated into the world and not an alien other – it's a nice twist.Read more