Monday, August 13, 2012

The Assassin's Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Release date: October 2nd 2012
To be published by: Strange Chemistry
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Find it on: Goodreads
Pre-order it on: Amazon, Book Depository

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 Assassin's Curse had a lot of premise, I'll give it that. And my expectations were high, in a way. The synopsis was eye-catching, and the cover is pretty different and unique. However - and I don't say that lightly - something was missing. I couldn't fully give in to this story, and though it had some appeal, it didn't satisfy my needs at all. The writing was good, as was the setting, but the characters just didn't work for me. 

Ananna was the biggest issue, I guess. She seemed reasonable in the beginning, but towards the end, all I wanted to do was shake her. She wasn't mature (though that would've been fine, had this been her only negative aspect) and her decisions were childish. I don't like it when the author makes the heroine fight the love interest just to look like she has a strong personality, without any real reason to. Luce, from the Fallen series, is like this. Nora, from the Hush, Hush series, is like this. And Ananna is like this as well. It was a big disappointment, and I couldn't help but notice how her arguments with Naji were pointless, and didn't add anything new to the plot, or to the character development.

Naji was another question mark, though I quickly grew fond of him. At first, I thought he was just another closed, intense guy that all readers are supposed to love, even without any real depth, but as his character was explored more, it became clear how complex he is. Naji's been through a lot, and that's what makes him broody. When I finally understood that, Naji was surprisingly easy to relate to. The romance between him and Ananna was close to nonexistent, and I appreciated that. Though there is some romantic tension going on, it never took the attention from the plot, and the trouble Naji and Ananna were in. This leaves space and context for something else to develop in the sequel, and I look forward to that. Maybe Clarke will dive in this territory when the time comes. 

The world-building was solid, and had a lot of potential for action scenes, which unfortunately was wasted. The story has some quick scenes, but for the most parts, it was painfully slow, heavy with details and dialogues. It took me nearly five days to read this book, and considering the fact that I spend almost five hours reading per day, that's a long time. I wish the author had explored the action scenes a bit more, though I understand that she wanted to build the setting and introduce us to the world she has created. This introduction, however, could've been shorter. 

Overall, The Assassin's Curse was an interesting debut. It failed to blow me away - though I'm pretty sure it will blow a lot of readers away -, but I'll pick up the sequel. This story has a lot of potential, and I'm hoping this will be explored, and a certain character - aka Ananna - will develop a lot more and grow into her own skin. She can be a fascinating character, if only Clarke knows how to do it. The only thing I can do for now is think positive... and wait for the sequel.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley. Thank you!


  1. This one looks good. I got the book, in hopes it will be so. Thanks for your honest review! Happy reading!

  2. I'm glad you're interested enough to want to read the sequel. I liked this a little more than you did - perhaps because my reaction to Ananna was a more positive one. It's really interesting to hear your thoughts. A great review as always, Beatriz! :)