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.
Okay, for starters, this book is about a Pirate and an Assassin, so it pretty much screams awesome without even reading it. And it has a very pretty cover, yet I sat on it for months because I'm an idiot. That would be Idiot with a capitol, because I still can't believe I didn't read it until now! However I am about to gush about it, so hopefully this makes up for the error in my reading ways. Cross my fingers and pray to the Strange Chemistry gods, because I am dying for book two.
The Assassin's Curse has a sweet mix of all my favourite things in a rip roaring YA adventure read. Feisty heroine, check, dark and complicated male lead, check, epic questy type adventure, check, some good laughs thrown into the mix to occasionally lighten the mood, check, fantastic locals, and many flamboyant side characters, check and check. I particularly love Ananna's voice, which is no-nonsense, pirate girl and not at all the fainty, girly girl (with awesome slang, 'cause, you know, pirate).
The mystery surrounding Naji, his profession in the uber secret Jadorr'a sect, and the curse he's under are part of what makes this story a real page turner. Rose Clarke is excellent at pacing out the reveals in a slow but steady stream, and in combination with the quest element of their adventure The Assassin's Curse reads as a classic fantasy quest story but with unusual elements of deserts, camels and pirates thrown in for spice. Think Aladdin mixed with say, Tamora Pierce's Alanna series, plus a little Pirates of the Caribbean for good measure, and you'll have an idea of the flavour of this story. I know you're already thinking it, Fun with a capitol F, and you're right, it is.
I especially loved the ending and how it introduced the direction the rest of the series will be taking, nothing sounds more appealing then Impossible Curses and three Impossible Tasks. I am 100% looking forward to following Naji and Ananna's adventure continuing on in The Pirate's Wish, in fact I'll be awaiting it's arrival with baited breath. Join me so we can wish the months away until June. Baby, shmaby, bring on The Pirate's Wish!
The Assassin's Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Published by Strange Chemistry, October 2nd, 2012