Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication date: 2nd October 2012
My rating: 4 stars
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.
Recently I’ve noticed that the type of books I seem to get the most enjoyment out of as late are fantasy books. Contemporary novels are typically my best friend, I know I can turn to them when I need a quick pick me up and they always deliver through and through. But in the last few weeks’ books such as Throne of Glass, Defiance and Stormdancer, books which at the beginning of the year I never would have considered are ending up as my favourites of 2012. They seem to bring that extra oomph through their magical world building and their exotic characters. The Assassin’s Curse was no different. Annana comes from a family of pirates; she’s typically a kick butt heroine who’s learnt how to hold her own. So when it is arranged that she will marry Tarrin of the Hariri, something she doesn’t want, she decides to run away. Knowing that as a consequence she is putting her life at risk; of course Tarrin’s family won’t allow it, they will probably hunt her down themselves or hire an assassin to do it. Annana’s heard her fair share of assassin stories and so knows they’re not ones to mess with. But Annana’s plans go straight out of the window when she ends up stuck with the assassin Naji who was hired to kill her.
Certain books with specific themes easily become my favourites; sports related, road trips, music /performing arts related and books featuring pirates. I’ve always secretly enjoyed pirate books, maybe because I grew up reading Peter Pan several times a day and then watching both movies again and again. So I loved Clark’s idea of mashing up pirates and assassins together in one book. Seriously how cool is that?
The situation Annana and Naji found themselves in was problematic to both; Annana found she was limited to what she was able to do as if she wandered off by herself she could cause any harm to Naji, but that meant that she was stuck with a great big assassin with her at all times, which was also great in a way as she did have the Hariri clan after her. However she was kept in dark a lot about things which I would too find hugely frustrating. It was clear Naji did have her interests at heart, but the constant avoidance of her questions made me want to smack him upside the head sometimes.
Despite her situation being problematic and dangerous, their situation was also hilarious. An assassin and a pirate being bound to one another when it was clearly something they didn’t want, it was definitely an eye opening experience which required them to make that extra effort and adapt themselves to one another.
Naji and Annana’s adventure to seek their answers was a thoroughly enjoyable one. Meeting irksome characters along the way, having several near death experiences, constantly having to be alert, adjusting to being stuck together and that ending! Cassandra Rose Clark has managed to create a mesmerising debut. My hands are already itching in nervous anticipation in getting a copy of the next book.