The review assumes you are up to date with the series. If not, look away…maybe
Sophia: When I heard The Spider would be a step back, a story set 10 years from the start of the Elemental Assassin series I was excited. We know who Gin is today, so getting a look back to see what made her into the woman she is was very appealing.
As much as I’ve loved Gin as the badass assassin, learning about why she is who she is today was an emotional journey in this book. Her heart has hardened and looking back we now get to understand why. We get a look at her romantic past to understand a little more about why she struggles in romantic relationships.
One the things that always bothered me was that we never got time with Fletcher, Gin’s mentor. Throughout the series, we have learned about their relationship, but Fletcher was of course, missing. Unfortunately Fletcher was not as “present” as I wanted him to be in The Spider. He was there appropriately as a mentor but I suppose I thought we’d get more in the way of father figure in this book.
Angela: I will admit to being both excited and a little tentative going into this installment, because yes, I was stoked to see how it all began, but I also wondered how this would fit into a series that is so evolved. I mean this is book 10. We’ve already been through the completion of one story arc, two break-ups and one reconciliation.
After reading I have to say that I agree with your assessment, this was a very emotional journey into how and why Gin does what she does and is who she is. It isn’t easy and the reader can almost see what’s going to happen before Gin does. But I really feel like this look back into her past was worth the read.
Sophia: One of the fun things about this book was the cameo appearances from the current players from today and how their paths crossed briefly in the past. Since I’m a long time reader of the series, it was fun to peek into the past and feel like I was in the story, knowing how they will interact in the future.
Angela: The more I read the more I enjoyed myself and the cameos were one of the reasons. Jennifer Estep has crafted such a well thought out series, where everyone plays a very detailed role both in the past and present. In fact every time someone I recognized from the series made an appearance I had an “aha” moment and that just kept me reading faster.
Sophia: There was a point in the book where I emailed you with an “OMG” moment. I suddenly realized the who and what of the conflict. I guess I should have seen it coming sooner but I didn’t and loved it! Not because Gin was betrayed yet again, but because I didn’t suspect who it was sooner. This was a particularly nasty betrayal a big lesson learned for Gin.
Angela: I know! I actually saw it a little quicker. I kept thinking I knew what was coming and was anxious for it to happen, but when it finally did I was still sad and overwhelmed for the girl Gin used to be.
Gin is so different at the start of this story. Not quite as hardened, not as wise and still looking for someone to love her. I struggled at first trying to reconcile the younger Gin with the one we all know and love. This Gin made stupid decisions and acted recklessly. It wasn’t until the betrayal plot started to unfold that she finally understands all the things Fletcher has been trying to teach her all along. That’s when the reader really gets a glimpse of the kind of woman Gin will grow into, both in her private and public lives.
Sophia: Someone new to the series might consider starting here. This book is a good foundation for the series. But personally I enjoyed reading this book at this point in the series. I feel like I’ve bonded with Gin throughout the series and reading her history was so much sweeter at this point.
This was a chance to get to know my favorite UF heroine ever better. I’m not always a fan of “looking back” on well established characters but Jennifer Estep gave us a great story, great history of a loved character and an emotional journey. This series is consistently good; The Spider was extra special for me. Final grade: A
Angela: I agree, some may want to start here if they are new to the series, but for me this book was perfectly placed. I completely enjoyed my journey back to where it all began and finding out what made Gin into the woman and assassin she is today. Now I’m looking forward that much more to the next book in the series, Poison Promise, that has a release date of July 29, 2014. Final Grade: A
Sophia’s Favorite Quote:
“I’m Finnegan Lane, baby. The best there is at everything—including the boudoir arts.”
“You fucked with the wrong assassin,” I growled. “You fucked with the Spider.”
Angela’s Favorite Quote:
Assassins weren’t supposed to fall in love. Oh, it wasn’t one of Fletcher’s hard-and-fast rules, but it was one of those things that simply went without saying. Because how could someone ever really know you, much less ever truly love you, when you spent your life in the shadows? When you went from one dirty job and violent confrontation to the next? When being an assassin was what made you, well, you, for better or worse?