Title: The Assassin’s Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
The Assassin’s Curse Digital (Only $6.01 for the eBook!)
May Contain Spoilers
I love books like The Assassin’s Curse. The premise sounded intriguing, but when I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure that I would like Ananna. She’s rough and unpolished, the daughter of pirates. She’s a thief, she lies with aplomb, and she just didn’t seem like someone I wanted to know better. But like Aria in Under the Never Sky, by the time I reached the fourth chapter, I had a drastic change of heart. While Ananna could be crude and violent, she was also brave and ready to fight for her own freedom. After fleeing from an arranged marriage, she opens a huge can of worms that includes an assassin with her name on his hit list, a curse that she unwittingly unleashes, and an adventure the likes of which she could have never imagined. Neither could I, when I first sat down with Ananna and Naji. By the last page, I wanted more of their story and more of their larger than life journey. Even more than that, I wanted them to be happy, and to be safe from the dangers that stalked them.
I read The Assassin’s Curse in less than a day. It is a fast read, one that you won’t be able to put down. Ananna careens from one life-threatening situation to the next with the speed and trajectory of a pinball, and the only thing she has to keep her alive is her courage and her razor sharp wits. She may not have had the benefit of an education like Naji or her ally Marjani, but she is far more clever than either of them. She also has a steadfast confidence in her own abilities, which gave her an edge in every thing she did. Ananna is street smart and street savvy; she has been raised among cutthroats and thieves, and she fully expected to take her place as a pirate ship’s captain, whether she was a girl or not. Her gender just gave her more of a challenge to make her dream of owning her own ship, with her own colors, come true, and she wasn’t going to give that up. Ditching her stupid fiancé was easier than ditching the scary, shadowy assassin his family set loose on her, but Ananna didn’t even back down from Naji and his deadly, mysterious blood magic.
I loved the gradual friendship that develops between Ananna and her would be killer. Naji didn’t strike me as the kind of guy who could take money to commit murder, but when pushed, he suddenly turned into a freaking badass. One with little common sense, but with all of that magic at his command, he was able to move mountains. Literally. What happened after that, well, that was anyone’s guess, especially when he depleted his energy so much that he could barely remain upright. Given his impulsiveness and, at times, his complete lack of common sense, I wasn’t surprised that he was the victim of an impossible curse. That Ananna, his would be target, set the curse into motion made the premise of the book that much more enjoyable. These two extremely diverse people are stuck with each other, not able to venture far apart, and they must learn to get along and, more importantly, learn to work together, to find an answer to Naji’s problem. As long as the magic shackles them together, Ananna is a target of a different sort. Powerful magical beings want Naji, and they will do anything to get him, including using, or hurting, Ananna.
My one nick pick with the book is, as usual, the lack of an ending, but I felt optimistic and happy when I reached the last page. I don’t even know why, because Ananna and Naji are left with more questions and challenges than answers at the end. I think that I just enjoyed spending my time with them so much that Ananna’s optimism rubbed off on me. She knows that they will overcome all of the impossible tasks before them, and she knows that, one way or another, all of her dreams will come true. Even though she despairs at Naji’s cluelessness, and even though his disregard cut to the bone, both Ananna and I know this one thing; Naji’s impossible curse has at least one possible cure. It’s a pity that we must both wait until the next book for him to finally open his eyes to the answer that is sitting right in front of him.
Review copy provided by publisher