Title: The Assassin’s Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Source: Strange Chemistry & NetGalley
Series? The Assassin’s Curse #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Speculative Fiction
Page Count: 320
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.
And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be. (summary from goodreads)
I’m ashamed to say it took me a while to start The Assassin’s Curse, but once I did finally start reading, I couldn’t stop until I finished it. This is the book for you if you like pirates, assassins, and magic — and even if you don’t, I still encourage you to check it out. You’ll find out why so many of us like pirates, assassins, and magic.
Ananna is one of the most unique heroines I’ve met this year. How many girls run away from an arranged marriage ON THE BACK OF A CAMEL THEY STOLE? Ananna doesn’t sit around and wait for others to change her destiny — she does it herself. She is impulsive, and often lands herself in more trouble, but she goes ahead anyway.
Ananna doesn’t want to be a pirate captain’s wife, she wants to be the captain, with a ship of her own. After running away without a plan, she’s suddenly in even more trouble when her intended husband’s parents send an assassin after her. Hell hath no fury like a pirate scorned?
I have a thing for kick ass heroines, and Ananna more than qualifies. Her skills, from weapons to thievery, are believable, as she grew up on a pirate ship, one of the crew from an early age. She definitely has some flaws, including the impulsiveness I mentioned, but she’s also extremely loyal, and usually tries to do the right thing, even if may not always be the smart thing to do. Also cool about Ananna — she’s not your typical gorgeous girl character. In fact, she doesn’t trust beautiful people, because:
“Beautiful people, things are too easy for ‘em. They don’t know how to survive in this world. Somebody’s ugly, or even plain, normal-looking, that means they got to work twice as hard for things. For anything. [...].” (Chapter 9)
Naji, the assassin sent to kill Ananna, is just as interesting as she is. He’d be next to the definition for “mysterious” in the dictionary, as he never explains anymore than necessary, and sometimes not even that. I can’t wait to find out more of his secrets, because I know there have to be a lot of them.
When a twist of magic binds the two together, they set off a journey to end the curse, which exposes us to more of their world. It sounds fascinating, and I really wanted to learn more about it. There’s a Pirate Confederation, different types of magic, mythical creatures, ASSASSINS YOU CAN HIRE (if you have enough money), and so on. In one way, not getting a lot of information about the world in The Assassin’s Curse is good, because there aren’t page long info dumps, but on the other hand, I’m greedy and wanted to know more.
The writing is a joy to read. Usually it bugs me when authors try to make dialogue realistic — using “ain’t” or improper grammar, for example — but Cassandra Rose Clarke pulls it off flawlessly. There’s also a lot of humor in the writing, and this was one of my favorite parts:
“So are you here to kill me or to rob me?” the old man said. “I generally don’t find it useful to glow when undertaking acts of subterfuge.” [...]
You know, that pissed me off. [Ananna] (Chapter 18)
The ending is somewhat disappointing, because it … just ends, without any real resolution, as if this book is mostly set up for the next one. Fortunately, The Assassin’s Curse is part of a duology, so the next book, The Pirate’s Wish, should finish the story. Unfortunately, The Pirate’s Wish won’t be released until 2013.
I also had some trouble believing the romantic aspect, but to go into that would spoil too much. The summary for the book itself is pretty spoilerish, but even so, The Assassin’s Curse is an enjoyable read.
Rating: 4 owls
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