The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep has been one my more entertaining series in the past year, Spider's Revenge being the fifth book in the series. A book which promises to be the culmination of the arc which had begun in the first installment, so very much looked forward to by fans of the series. Gin Bianco is back, and someone is getting his throat slit.
Estep delivers once again on an action packed violent ride, my main reason for reading the series. Gin Bianco is simply a kickass character, and has a blunt narrating style very much to my liking. I like how she sees the world, and how ruthless she can be when needed. If someone is a threat, and needs to "get dead", there's no hesitation; a quick stab to the heart and a cut throat for good measure is standard practice. In Spider's Revenge we see a more vulnerable Gin, as she deals with various failures of her life and how she has to adapt to push forward to do what needs doing.
The book did contain a few elements that I thought could be a bit problematic for some readers. One is that it seems like some facts became a bit repetitive and redundant through the narrative, and also maybe a bit too much recapping of previous events. In my opinion, more trust to the reader should be granted. On the other hand, the book does grant a great opportunity for new readers to jump on the series. But, I think it could have been better balanced. Also, one has to give some allowances that many of these facts get repeated because we're inside the narrators head, we're dealing with her emotions often in this book, so it at times might become disingenuous if some of these things weren't mentioned with some regularity. It does set the right atmosphere, particularly during portions of introspection. At the same time, this is a very easy series to follow and quite straightforward in many regards. So it's all about finding the right balance. Though these issues didn't hamper my reading much, I thought they should be mentioned.
The above issues aside, still a very cool read for me. There's little down time, always on the move, and plenty of fun moments. One of my favorite things of the book is when Gin is talking with people who she has to hide her identity from for whatever reason. Though not a fan of heroes hiding their identities, I like being in Gin's POV as she feigns weakness or misleads people, just plenty of fun for me particularly with how Gin depicts the scene. Looking for more of that when possible in future installments.
As mentioned before, Spider's Revenge indeed closes the arc which began on the first book of the series. Those readers that hesitate on starting a series because they don't know when it'll finish, at least know that Spider's Revenge provides a very good stopping point as pretty much all main plot-lines get a satisfactory resolution, and we also got plenty of backstory on some of our side characters. So for all intents and purposes, after reading this book you'll feel like you've read a series to it's totality. I for one am glad that the arc is finished and not dragged longer than needed. I'm looking for a fresh start in the series, and very much looking forward to what comes next.
Spider's Revenge is another solid entry in the urban fantasy scene and the Elemental Assassin series. While not a perfect novel, it does serve it's purpose and it gave me the satisfaction read I was looking for. Violent and gritty at times, as expected from a revenge tale, it's also a book about making peace with one's self, acceptance, and sacrifice. So I recommend the book with little hesitation, it should be welcomed by new readers of the series and fans of the series alike. And at the chance that it doesn't work for you, it should at least give you a satisfactory finality and know that the book's narrative is a page turner. Regardless, I'm looking forward to more Jennifer Estep novels, including the next installment By a Thread.
Buy Spider's Revenge at The Book Depository.
Please visit Jennifer Estep's website for more information on the series and her other books, also for information on short stories, some of them free.