Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Edition: Strange Chemistry Paperback (ARC)
Release: October 4th 2012
Series: The Assassin's Curse #1
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. And when Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.
To break the curse, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks—all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic, and the growing romantic tension between them.
For me, this is one of those books where you're just not sure - however hard you try to analyse it - what rating it should have. Sure it was good, but was it that good? I'm not sure. Maybe writing this review will help me decide.
The one thing that disappointed me the most, was probably the synopsis. Now I know that sounds pretty strange, but it's true. This book caught my eye because of the so-called "quest" the characters were going to have to go on to break the curse. And what did I get? Well, not that. Instead the whole book, led up to the fact that they were going to have to complete these three tasks. We got told about it at the end. So the second half of this blurb should really be used for the sequel, The Pirate's Wish. Don't get me wrong, the novel itself was good, but it had me hoping under false pretenses. I think I would still have been drawn to this book even if the synopsis only contained the first paragraph (as above). I mean, a pirate? an assassin? a curse? That's all it takes to interest a person!
Still on the criticism side of things, I honestly need to say that it did take me a while to settle into the story. Especially since it was told in a slight pirate's dialect. Only a few times I had to re-read lines to realise what Ananna meant, it was more the coming to terms with the prospect of having a book in dialect that unsettled me near the start. But once I did, it was fine! I even began to appreciate that by doing this, the author made The Assassin's Curse unique. Sure I've read books where in the speaking part of things there was dialect, but not when the whole of the book was narrated in it.
Another slight thing... The way Ananna accepted the assassin near the beginning was too unrealistic for me. I mean, if an assassin suddenly went all quiet, stopped trying to attack me and said that I needed to trust him, I'd get the heck out of there in case he was lying. I wouldn't just accept it the way Ananna did. Heck, I felt like shaking her!
But when I made myself get over that, I started really enjoying the book. It became more mysterious and adventure-like and I just couldn't put the book down for a second without thinking about what could possibly happen next. I especially liked the parts involving action. I loved reading from a pirate's perspective. She had been brought up in battles on pirate ships so it was so... pirate-y! If you get what I'm saying. She might not have been the most awesome kick-butt heroine but she was certainly admired for her braveness and stubborness. She fitted into the story perfectly. The assassin, Naji I also warmed to because of how underneath his tough exterior, he had his reasons for being how he is; secrets and painful memories.
The writing style, as already mentioned, became much more appealing after a while. I really enjoyed how every now and then there would be some intricate details of the setting thrown in. It was really refreshing and enjoyable. Also, the ending definitely picked up and left me wanting more! Much more!
I'm definitely excited for the sequel, The Pirate's Wish, plus the romance that could ensue! Aside from the fact that I found the faults I did: the misunderstanding in the blurb, the way it took me a little while to settle into the story and how Ananna accepted the assassin too easily for my liking, I still did really enjoy it and would recommend it. So I'm thinking three... four stars... A little blurb makeover would be nice! ;)
Thanks so much to Strange Chemistry for sending me a review copy of this book!
EDIT: The final rating is 3.5 stars. I think 4 was a wee bit too gracious of me. ;)