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The Assassin’s Curse

Book Review: The Pirate’s Wish

The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke is the sequel to The Assassin’s Curse, reviewed here. In the interest of remaining spoiler free, I’ll keep my summary brief. Pirate Ananna and Assassin Naji are bound together by an impossible curse, which can only be broken by completing three impossible tasks. Less a sequel and more the second half of one story too long to be published in its entirety, The Pirate’s Wish follows Ananna and Naji on their journey to break the curse, amidst enemies attacking them on all sides. 

The review:

I loved the first book in this duology. I reviewed it, tweeted about it, and recommended it to dozens of reader friends. I’d been eager for the conclusion ever since I put down the ARC. Clarke builds an amazing relationship between Ananna and Naji, and the first half of this sequel didn’t disappoint. She sucked me right back in to their subtle affection and bickering while keeping true to the unique voice and style of her writing. 

But the nature of the story was to slowly reveal how these three impossible tasks were in fact possible, and this is where I had issues with the plotting and pacing. The fantasy genre gives a writer endless possibilities of imagining solutions to problems. But just because an event is plausible inside the rules of the fantasy realm, that doesn’t always make it acceptable or satisfying to me as a reader. I have a fine line between wow, that was unexpected but cool and whoa, things just got too crazy for me. Without giving anything away, The Pirate’s Wish crossed that line.

Even though the conclusion wasn’t quite what I’d hoped, I’ll always be a sucker for awesome characters and a steamy romance.

4 out of 5 stars.

Music for today: Love is Blindness by Jack White. 

RTW: Best Book of September

Today YA Highway asks, “What was the best book you read in September?”

This gives me the perfect opportunity to review The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke, which I read through a SBB ARC tour. The Assassin’s Curse debuts October 2, 2012.

 
The summary:
 
When teenage pirate Ananna refuses an arranged marriage, the intended groom’s family orders her assassination. Instead of killing the hired assassin Naji when she has the chance, Ananna saves his life, activating a curse that binds them together. Forced into partnership, Ananna and Naji must work together to break the impossible curse and evade enemies coming at them from all sides.
 
The review:
 
I really loved The Assassin’s Curse, enough to make it my best book of September. (And I read some great books this month — Throne of Glass, Starters, A Need So Beautiful, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, and Cinder.)
 
From the opening chapter Clarke displays a powerful voice, complete with slang and dialect that teeters on the line of “over-the-top” without ever crossing it. The intrigue of magical pirates and assassins hooked me, but the characters really captured my heart. Cursing, thieving, and headstrong, Ananna felt more real because of her faults. And Naji was perfect as the brooding, dangerous leading man with a mysterious past. If you like a slow-building romance with plenty of action, The Assassin’s Curse is the book for you.
 
5 out of 5 stars
 
Sometimes before I write a review, I visit Goodreads to help with the summary or to see what other readers have to say. The Assassin’s Curse has many great reviews there, with an average over 4 stars, but I came across one that was truly awful. The reviewer trashed the book, and while I know readers can have vastly different reactions to a book, this one really bothered me. The reviewer felt that the romantic element was completely thrown in at the end, and I couldn’t disagree more. Clarke does an excellent job of “showing” Ananna’s feelings for Naji without “telling.” As a writer, I couldn’t help but wonder if the reviewer missed the subtlety, or if she just didn’t connect with the characters like I did. Is it just me? Does it bother you when you read a terrible review of a book that you loved?
 
Music for today: Help I’m Alive by Metric