Julie Decker's Reviews > Spider's Bite

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
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it was ok

If you've got the money, Gin's got the knife. She's an assassin, code-named the Spider, and she uses her Stone magic to hear whispers in the walls and her lesser Ice magic to pick locks and ice up the occasional too-warm drink. But when a clean killing goes wrong and Gin finds herself targeted by another assassin, she knows she's been double-crossed, and now her inner circle--essentially her family--is in danger. Who is the Air elemental who tortured and killed her beloved mentor, and how can she stop her from making Gin the next victim? Joining forces with her mentor's son Finn and bewildered (and hot) good cop Donovan Caine, Gin follows trails and exploits inside sources to find out where the leaks are in the corrupt police force and who might be trying to become the next elemental powerhouse to rule the city with an iron fist. Nearly as confusing as this maze is Gin's attraction to Caine, which is awkward considering one of her previous kills was his previous police partner. An uneasy trust must develop between the assassin and the cop so they can solve the mystery, but what else is developing? . . . Guess.

I was disappointed in this book because I usually love unique takes on elemental magic and I do usually prefer my fantasy to be set in modern times. The biggest problems I had with this book were related to the storytelling; there were huge numbers of repetitive phrases that were odd or unique enough to be instantly memorable the second, third, fourth times they came up. Gin has a particular way of getting ready for battle which describes the placement of her knives, and it's relayed the exact same way multiple times in the book. The narration tells us Gin's eyes are gray, Finn's eyes are green, and Donovan's eyes are gold collectively perhaps four dozen times. (Not an exaggeration.) And Gin's peculiar phrase for getting sexually aroused is repeated using the exact same words both the first and the second time she sees the man she's attracted to.

And the exposition was sometimes repeated when the background was more than clear already. Backstory was almost always unnatural; the narration paused constantly to insert anywhere from four sentences to two pages in background information, and this even happened in the middle of action scenes (like one bit in which Gin literally had a gun to her head and the narration decided to cut away to give us philosophy on assassin practices, history, and secret code names). The plot felt unusually thin and it choreographed everything, with some of the exposition and plot-relevant details being revealed through incomprehensibly thorough conversations that delivered the entire story of someone's past or involvement or intentions despite that everyone in the vicinity (except our eavesdropping heroine) knows these details. The plot's predictability frustrated me as well. I felt like the author hadn't really figured out how to employ natural reveals of backstory and doesn't know how much she needs to tell us for us to understand--I felt underestimated throughout, and was bored by a lot of it (especially since some of the tension was supposed to come from whether and how Gin and the cop would have sex even though they're on opposite sides, and it was no mystery to me that that they definitely would be doing this). I couldn't get into it at all.
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Reading Progress

September 20, 2014 – Shelved
September 20, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
October 4, 2014 – Started Reading
October 9, 2014 – Finished Reading

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