TITLE: The Assassin's Curse
AUTHOR: Cassandra Rose Clarke
SERIES: Assassin's Curse #1
PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry
RELEASE: 20th October 2012
Note: An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Cassandra Rose Clarke has managed to surpass all of my expectations with her debut novel The Assassin’s Curse. A wonderful mix of fantasy, adventure, piracy and a subtle but definitely present romance, this book kept me entertained into the long hours of the night and is highly recommended for anyone looking for something a little bit different.
The daughter of a pirate lord and a wind mage, Ananna of Tanarau’s biggest dream is to sail the high seas in a ship of her own. Bartered for in a marriage to a boy she hardly knows Ananna reacts on instinct and runs away, hiding in the city and waiting for her retribution. This comes in the form of Naji, an assassin hired by the boy’s father who becomes unwillingly bonded to Ananna when she inadvertently saves his life. Tied together by a terrible curse, Ananna travels with Naji in his quest to find the one wizard who can break it. However, they may find that it takes more than just a wizard to break this ‘impossible’ curse, and Ananna will learn that danger comes from many sources; not just the assassin at her side.
Ananna is an admirable heroine and her witty, observational narrative is one of the highlights of this book for me. Quick to stand up for herself and thoroughly capable of holding her own, it was astounding to see her enormous amount of growth during the course of the book. Far from being the stereotypically perfect ‘Mary Sue’, Ananna had flaws and Clarke wasn’t afraid to show them. It was this in particular that made her such a well-rounded, realistic and enjoyable character that was such a delight to get to know.
Then there’s Naji; the tortured hero who made me fall for him just as much as he did Ananna. Cold and brutal at the beginning, it was wonderful to see him slowly reveal his gentler side as he spent more time with our heroine. Clarke seems to be particularly adept at character development, and this is particularly noticeable the further you progress into the story. She doesn’t shy away from showing Naji’s uglier aspects as well as his better ones, and I found myself sympathising more and more with him as the truth about the nature of his curse was revealed.
The plot was a definite hit with me – unique, balanced and teaming with pirates and magic. The curse was a brilliant invention of the behalf of Clarke, and I cannot wait to see where she takes it with the introduction of these ‘tasks’ at the very end of the book. The only problem I found was with the world building, in that we don’t seem to get too much information about the whole domain in itself and just the parts that are relevant to the story. The reveal of the curse also seemed to be a bit rushed and probably could have been held off a bit longer, though in all honesty it didn’t really ruin anything, just cut of the suspense quickly.
Despite this I still stick with my initial statement that The Assassin’s Curse is a debut novel I would highly recommend. With amazing characters and a five star plot, this book is one I think the vast majority would love. Make sure you get your hands on a copy in October, and I will be eagerly awaiting the second book in this fascinating series.