The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Paperback, 320 pages
Published: Oct 2nd, 2012 by Strange Chemistry
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.
This book was very very close to perfection. I went in with high expectations and it definitely met them. But sometimes when you're reading a book that is so so good you start to get nitpicky. Generally I'm not a nitpicky reader, I don't notice the little things. But I was so in love with this book I started noticing things that would maybe make it even better. The thing is, I LOVED this book and I think that it still is a 5 star book for me. All the way. But it could have made it into all time most favorite books EVER quite easily.
First I have to tell you about the characters. Ananna is a very strong character. She says what she thinks and does what she wants to do and she's very headstrong and bold. We're in her head though so we also see where she's vulnerable and we know that she has a very good heart inside her even though she's been raised as a pirate, she's definitely not ruthless. At times Ananna makes some poor choices. Stupid choices even, but for some reason it was so easy for me to forgive her this. We all make mistakes, right? Naji is the kind of character I LOVE to read about in fantasy. He's an assassin who can do a crazy magic. He's this person who's basically suppose to be feared above all but because of this stupid curse Ananna is stuck with him because if she leaves it puts him in serious pain. He has to protect her above all else. Which is crazy since he's suppose to kill her. Through their journey of trying to break the curse they have to protect each other, save each other from everything that comes after them. And through this we see that Naji is not this evil villain (well, we saw this pretty much right away) and while the two are constantly at each others throats you can see they are growing on each other. One downside to Naji is that he's hurt a lot and this made him feel weak to me. He's this kick ass guy who can literally blend into the shadows and does incredibly powerful magic, but yet Ananna spent a lot of time saving him and taking care of him. Now I still loved him. Seriously, he was an absolutely fantastic character, but that was a small issue for me. I wanted to see more of his kick ass'edness.
The plot of this book moves along very quickly and even though much of it is a journey each little part of it goes by super fast. I think this book could have been longer with more detail and been just as good if not better, but yet I kind of liked that it was a fantasy that was a quick read. I just think it had all the elements to make it EPIC if maybe it had been a little more in depth. But the world and the magic and all that was fantastic! Really, I absolutely LOVED it! It was so creative and so easy to picture. While there's not much with pirates at all it ended up not being a bad thing because everything else was just so great. And Ananna has pirate blood, she thinks like a pirate and that was pretty awesome.
The romance.... I'm not sure what to say here without revealing too much. These two are at each others throats a lot, but you really start to feel the sexual tension when they have rare tender moments, when they start to feel something for the other but yet almost don't even realize it. Like when one goes to automatically swipe the hair off of the forehead of the other and then freezes up realizing it was a tender gesture and they hadn't even realized what they were doing. Those moments to me mean so much. That tension between them, them thinking they could never work, or even that Naji maybe thinks he doesn't deserve Ananna (I don't know that he feels that way, but I'm guessing maybe he does). But the romance itself doesn't get far in this book. And at first I was disappointed, but once I thought about it I realized that that's what I love so much about it. It's those few moments of tenderness that speak volumes, and I think that really elevated this book for me. But don't get me wrong, I'm dying for things to move forward. Seriously, dying here!
I really loved this book, so please take any of my nitpicking with a grain of salt, because this really was a fantastic read. The characters, the setting, the plot, the magic, even the not-yet-romance, was so so amazing. I most definitely can't wait to read the next book!