Cassandra Rose Clarke 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.
The daughter of high ranking pirate clan leader, Ananna is no Disney princess waiting for a handsome prince to come and sweep her off of her feet and in to a hasty teen marriage.
Born and raised with deck underfoot, the wind in her hair and salt spray on her skin, Ananna’s plans for the future are filled with adventure, freedom and the dream of commanding her own ship of cut-throats and thieves.
Betrayed by her parents, who bargained her freedom for strategic advantage, facing a life of control and restriction with a man she doesn’t trust or respect and with her hopes slipping like sand through her fingers, Ananna utilizes her skills as a pirate princess and makes her bid for freedom on the back of a bedraggled camel!
I was first attracted by the uniqueness of the cover. Conjuring images straight out of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and hinting at the swashbuckling adventure within. A peruse at the synopsis (Pirates and Assassins! Who could resist?) placed the book firmly at the top of my wish list!
The Assassins Curse certainly lived up to its promise. On the one hand you are flung at break neck speed in to a world of magic, dominated by an organized hierarchy of pirates and a shadowy brother hood of hired assassins. Racing from one heart pounding action scene to another, fighting for survival and personal freedom.
Simultaneously Clarke hands the reader a gorgeous meandering, and at times deliciously awkward, story of loyalty, trust and growing friendship between two outwardly strong characters whose spiky shells mask cores of vulnerability.
So ensconced in Clarke’s world building and accepting of Ananna’s voice I didn’t question Ananna’s worldview and her pride in her ethically challenging heritage. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of cut-throat pirate with honest narrator, compassionate human being and loyal protective friend.
I adore Ananna. A free spirited, feisty and independent heroine with a sharp knife and even sharper tongue, she didn’t wait around in her ivory tower for a prince charming to rescue her, and she used all of her experiences and resourcefulness to save herself and her unlikely companion, Naji.
Ahhhh, Naji! Who can resist a bad boy, and I doubt you could choose much worse than a black magic wielding, tattooed assassin, who’s been hired to kill you!!
I have a soft spot, for the bad boy with a troubled past, a dark secret and a hidden soft center. The YA genre is liberally sprinkled with these brooding, over protective, and at times almost chauvinistic male protagonists.
The enjoyment of these characters, for me is a guilty pleasure. The guilty element comes from the uneasily feeling I get as I wonder what the behavior of these “romantic” leads is teaching our daughters about relationships, dependence and acceptable behavior. I loved how Clarke took the archetype of possessive protector and turned it on its head.
I am very glad that a blogging friend fore warned me that The Assassins Curse was in fact a part of a series and not a stand-alone. While the book doesn’t conclude with a traditional cliffhanger it has certainly left me desperate for more. Verdict: Marooned in the middle of Ananna’s story and desperate to read the conclusion, I wish I could fashion a raft and paddle until the 2013 release of A Pirate’s Wish is in sight. Reviewed by Caroline
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: October 2012
Challenge: Debut Author