Jaclyn's Reviews > The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
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's review
Jun 25, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, magic, net-galley, teen-fiction, pirates, assassins, favourites, arc
Read from June 24 to 25, 2012

I received an advanced reader copy of The Assassin’s Curse courtesy of NetGalley.

Pirates, assassins, a thwarted arranged marriage, and an impossible curse, how could I resist?

Ananna Tanarau, a seventeen-year-old pirate, is not having a good day when the novel begins. She is meeting her betrothed, Tarrin, for the first time and hates him on sight. Ananna’s marriage has been arranged by her parents, who want to form an alliance with Tarrin’s family, also pirates in what is known as the Pirate Confederacy. Ananna is understandably perturbed by the idea and decides to make a run for it. However, this action is not without its consequences. Tarrin’s family sets the assassin, Naji, after Ananna. The scarred and brooding anti-hero unwittingly becomes Ananna’s protector when Anana saves Naji’s life from a poisonous snake. Naji must now protect Ananna from harm and cannot be physically far away from her or he experiences pain and may ultimately die. Neither character is initially happy about this curse and they set off to find a way to break the curse. However, the curse is not Ananna’s and Naji’s only problem, mysterious characters from the mist are also tracking Naji and could use Ananna is kill him. Naji will ultimately have to rely and trust Ananna in order for him to survive.

The characters of Ananna and Naji are the main reason that I enjoyed this novel so much, neither is the perfect, stereotypical protagonist. Ananna is a pirate! She has no qualms about stealing or doing what needs to be done to take care of herself. As Ananna is the narrator in this book we get to see her thought processe in her actions, and I loved hearing her reflections concerning the advice she received from her father – mainly evading capture and jail as a pirate. Her narration style and way of speaking isn’t perfect either; again she’s a pirate and not totally educated and that is clear in the way that she speaks in the book. At the same time she values education and is somewhat uncomfortable with her lack of education in some areas, like mathematics.

As for Naji, he’s an assassin, so enough said on that departure from the perfect hero. Naji also has a scar on one side of his face disfiguring him (hence the brooding hero vibe he has going). It’s not revealed in this book how Naji got this scar, but it is obvious that he is self-conscious about it as he wears a mask to keep it hidden from sight. It seems like there is a lot more to Naji in terms of his own history; however, I feel that this book was firmly Ananna’s story and I liked that the author didn’t try to cram too much about both characters in the novel. I am hoping that we get to learn more of Naji’s history in the next book.

In terms of the world building, I felt that there are some holes that need to be filled in the next book. I didn’t totally understand how the Pirate Confederacy worked and the way it was described made it sound like a legitimate profession rather than a criminal activity. I also didn’t understand the concept of Ananna’s confederacy tattoo and its significance. However, I loved the concept of the world and how magic is an integral part of everyday life and just an accepted fact – like it is totally normal for someone to be cursed.

Overall, I loved this novel and I can’t wait for the next one to come out to find out if Ananna and Naji are able to complete the three impossible tasks to break Naji’s impossible curse. It will also be interesting to see how the relationship between the main characters develop as Naji is obviously clueless as to how Ananna feels at this point, partly I think because of his facial scar and how he has been treated in the past. Its kind of obvious where the romance is going but I like the direction that the author is taking in how that relationship is unfolding. I think this book will appeal to teens who are fans of fantasy fiction, including books like Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games, Kristin Cashore's Graceling, and Melina Marchetta's Finnikin of the Rock.

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