Published on October 2, 2012 by Strange Chemistry
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me. I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley/Angry Robot & Strange Chemistry and I’m glad I accepted. The Assassin’s Curse was definitely a swashbuckling adventure filled with magic and pirates. Clarke transports you to a whole new world where pirates are actually organized (that’s right, Pirates of the Caribbean fans, organized) and make alliances through various methods including marrying off their children. Ananna is the daughter of a well-known pirate on the verge of an arranged marriage with Tarrin, a young man from another pirate family. To Ananna, the marriage would ruin her chances of a life at sea so she runs away. Where do the assassins come in? Well wouldn’t you send assassins after the girl who turned her nose up at your son? Despite Naji the assassin’s mission, he ends up stuck with Ananna on an adventure across both the desert and sea.
One of the draws of this book is the voice in which it’s written in. Ananna and the rest of the cast have a distinct way of talking and thinking to the point that reader could say who is who by the end of the book. Each personality is different while retaining similar values that allow connections to form. Ananna and Naji are from different worlds yet become friends. I especially enjoyed Ananna’s character. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and has morals despite having come from a family of pirates. She’ll steal and lie when she has to but only if necessary. I also love Naji. He’s very loyal to the Order, revealing practically nothing to Ananna, but that’s his character and it works.
I’m disappointed I couldn’t learn more about the world The Assassin’s Curse is set in as it is an alternate world. I would have liked to have more background on both the physical settings but also the culture. This, I think, would have added an extra element to the story, bringing more depth to it. The info dumps at the beginning and end were also slightly annoying. It would’ve been nice to have that information more spread-out throughout the novel, intermingling with the plot instead of separate.
In the end, The Assassin’s Curse is a page-turning adventure sure to sweep you off your feet. I recommend this to all ages, boys, girls, aliens, and whatever species you find yourself. If you love an action-packed adventure filled with suspense and a tiny bit of romance (not enough to really count at this point) then you’ll love The Assassin’s Curse.