Date of Publication: October 2, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. 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 spell, 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.
Review:Pirates and assassins are two of my absolute favourite fictional occupations in books, so it's a wonder I waited so long to read Assassin's Curse. In my experience when a book promises pirates or assassins, you are almost guaranteed a nice action packed read. But when you get both of them jammed into one book it isn't far from a perfect read. Saying this, Assassin's Curse was a great read although not a perfect one, but perfection is not necessary for enjoyment.
The story surrounds Ananna of Tanarau. As the daughter of a pirate Captain, all Ananna knows is the sea and her desire to roam it with her own crew and ship under her own colours. Her dreams come to a stop when she is set up to be married to Tarrin of the Hariri, the son of a pirate clan that spends more of their time on land than the sea. Faced with a life as the wife of a pirate and nothing more, Ananna decides to flee, leaving behind her family, Tarrin and her life of pirating. But no one flees the Hariri's without having to deal with their hired help, the assassins. When Annana accidentally activates a curse, she and Naji, the assassin, are sent on an adventure traveling to the far reaches of their world, on land or ship in search of a cure.
Personally, I really enjoyed the book. I found it to be gripping and interesting. I was looking forward to learning about what happened next. The assassin/pirate match up was another interesting aspect of the story. Through their journeys, Ananna and Naji were placed in environments that was ideal for one but not the other and this allowed us to see a little bit of each of their lives, as they both came from two completely different yet similar backgrounds.
I quite liked Ananna. I found her to be very strong, committed and loyal, despite the little hitch with her running away from her intended. Throughout the story she proved herself as an independent young woman who wasn't afraid to fight for what she wanted out of life. She won some brownie points from me on this, as there is nothing that annoys me more than a damsel in distress, especially in a fantasy/action book.
I also liked the male lead Naji, he was just as dark and brooding as you would expect an assassin to be. Although, at times I felt like his quiet demeanor kept us from learning much about him. Throughout the story he kept a lot of secrets from Ananna which did get annoying, as it was hard to understand him and his actions, sometimes because of the lack of information. Still, I found the bits that we did learn about him fulfilling (for now) and interesting. In the next books, I'll definitely be looking for more character development on his part.
The world Clarke created in these books was so enchanting from the night markets that sold all types of magical ingredients to Mists and the Confederation Pirates. With all these things, there is a need for world building. I think Clarke did a good job introducing them but I'm looking forward to getting more in depth explanations of everything.
Overall, The Assassin's Curse served as a nice blend of action and adventure. It didn't have much or any romance but the plot more than made up for it. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series and recommend it to those looking for a nice fantasy read with a lot of action and adventure.