Cassandra Rose Clarke After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction. The Pirates Wish is book two in the Assassins Curse duology and as such this review may contain unintentional spoilers for book one.
It’s no secret that I loved The Assassins Curse (read my review here), and that I began agonizing over the wait for The Pirates Wish from the moment I turned the final page of the first book. As one of my most anticipated releases for 2013, you can imagine my delight at getting my hands on an advanced readers copy, and shortening that wait by a few weeks.
I was immediately transported back to the creepy and disorientating Isles of Sky. Weeks after the events of Assassins Curse, barely tolerating the cold, rain and monotony, Naji and Anna are no nearer to finding the cure to the curse and their misery was palpable.
Into this environment of listlessness Cassandra introduces a new character, a manticore (with an unpronounceable name), who’s uniqueness and humorous partnership with Ananna is a sparkling light in the gloom.
The introduction of new friends doesn’t detract from our reunion with our beloved characters. We learn more about Marjani and the circumstances which led to her life on the high seas. While I appreciated the friendship and support she provided to Ananna in the first book, in The Pirates Wish her mentorship of Ananna is more than just instructive. Naji is still very much strong, silent and brooding. But like Ananna, through better acquaintance, we learn to read Naji’s non-verbal cues more clearly.
After all of her experiences, I was not at all surprised to find that Annana is not quite the bolshie, over confident, firecracker we met in book one. While she retains her distinctive voice, quick witted snark, and fierce loyalty, she is at times winey and self serving, and I found her naive attempts to catch Naji’s attention and make him jealous, squirming uncomfortable. Ananna’s flaws, however, make her more believable as character, marked her growing up, and actually endeared her to me even more.
At one point, as Cassandra’s imagination conjured up an unexpected twist in the quest to break Naji’s curse, I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief. Although the twist was firmly grounded in Cassandra’s excellent world building, It was just a tad too “Disney” for me.
While the ending may not have been the traditional HEA ( I have an increasing respect for Clarkes unique perspective of love and romance. Read my review of Clarke’s The Mad Scientists Daughter here) that romance fans like myself crave, it was absolutely perfect for the characters and so beautifully written that I have already re-read the final chapter twice.
After bemoaning the trilogy formula, and the agony of committing to a series for two years or more, the current spate of duologys (that’s a sequel to you and I) have come as a welcome relief. However, I am one who is never satisfied and I can’t help wishing that we could spend more time in Ananna and Naji’s lives (yes I want to have my cake and eat it!).
However, I am happy to be consoled with the news that although The Assassin/Pirates story is complete, Cassandra will be revisiting the world in The Wizards Promise, another duology for Strange Chemistry (expected publication 2014). Verdict: For me Cassandra Rose Clarke is an author who’s work is synonymous with one click preorder. Reviewed by Caroline