Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 400 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release date: September 27, 2011
Series: Elemental Assassin #5
Old habits die hard for assassins.
And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.
Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very, very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters Mab hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Ice and Stone magic—and my irresistible lover, Owen Grayson—to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a good chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me . . . no matter what I have to do to make that happen.
I must confess. I’ve read Spider’s Revenge several times since I got it. And I’ve tried to write about it as many times, with little success, because it all comes out awesomeawesomeawesomesqueeawesomeawesome and that’s not really useful. Full of praise but not useful. And probably not all that interesting to read, true though it may be. :) So here is my attempt at a more articulate post on one of my favourite books this year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do the book justice but it’s a superlative entry to the series and the urban fantasy genre. Everyone should be reading this series!!
Spider’s Revenge is the fifth book in the Elemental Assassin series and it’s also the culmination of the Gin’s quest to kill Mab Monroe, the elemental who murdered her family and has been trying to get Gin and her sister Bria, too. As the blurb says, Gin’s had a rough road but she’s managed to survive this long. But Mab’s close to figuring out that Gin is the Spider and also the Snow daughter she wants dead, and Gin’s tired of fighting her way through Mab’s henchmen and hired guns. As a result, Spider’s Revenge is Gin’s final push, and the stakes are the highest they’ve been all series, which is what makes the book so fantastic.
Gin is one of my favourite urban fantasy protagonists, mostly because she’s very self-aware. She’s an assassin and she doesn’t feel bad about it or make excuses, even when it would facilitate things. Over the course of the series, she’s also grown a lot, learning to let more people into her world and her heart, and this journey culminates in Spider’s Revenge since Gin acknowledges how important her relationships are and tells these folks how much they mean to her. It’s a big step for her since she was so guarded in Spider’s Bite. I was particularly touched by Gin’s scenes with Owen because Owen is one of my favourite characters in the series. Gin’s growth of the series, and in Spider’s Revenge in particular, is one of the many reasons I love this book so much.
Another reason? Intense action sequences that really had me on the edge of my seat. Jennifer Estep has a real gift for writing action. She writes every movement so clearly that it makes you feel like you’re there. Gin’s confrontations with her enemies are gritty and painful and you can feel the toll they take on her over the course of the novel. And Gin’s confrontation with Mab is epic!! I don’t want to say much about it so that it’s as thrilling for you as it was for me but I will say that the battle is a fine example of Jennifer Estep’s ability to plot, pace, and execute incredible fight scenes.
Spider’s Revenge also contains a scene I was waiting for. We finally get to see what happened between Mab and Eira, Gin’s mother. It’s a small part of the book but it’s a moment that shaped many of the characters’ lives so it was nice to finally see how Eira was killed. It’s not a happy scene but it’s a crucial moment for the series and I’ve desperately wanted to see how it all went down. It’s gorgeously written, as is the rest of Spider’s Revenge, but it really stood out because of its emotion and intensity.
Despite the heavy subject matter, I ended the book with a smile on my face. Why? Because Jennifer Estep closes Spider’s Revenge with the opening line of Spider’s Bite -- “My name is Gin and I kill people.” -- but the context is complete different and really reflects how Gin has changed over the series.
Now that the Kill Mab story arc has come to a close, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Gin when she doesn’t have a mission. The sixth Elemental Assassin book, By A Thread, is due out at the end of February and you can be sure I have my copy pre-ordered!
**Jennifer’s website also has a lot of free short stories that bridge her novels, which you can read here**