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The Assassin's Curse

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Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke

Published: October 2nd 2012 by Strange Chemistry (first published October 1st 2012)

Format: Paperback , 1st Edition , 298 pages

Isbn: 9781908844019

Language: English


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Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn't really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

30 review for The Assassin's Curse

  1. 5 out of 5

    Noelle

    This is an accurate portrayal of me after reading The Assassin's Curse: In fact. You know, what? Hit it: Ananna is a pirate, born and raised and on the high seas is where she spends her days. Sword fightin', riggin', stealing your loot. Handy with a lie and a knife in her boot. All she wants is to travel to distant lands, but her mom and pop are plotting marriage plans. She'll take adventure over a relationship, so on the big day gives her fiance the slip. She has no idea just what trouble she's in This is an accurate portrayal of me after reading The Assassin's Curse: In fact. You know, what? Hit it: Ananna is a pirate, born and raised and on the high seas is where she spends her days. Sword fightin', riggin', stealing your loot. Handy with a lie and a knife in her boot. All she wants is to travel to distant lands, but her mom and pop are plotting marriage plans. She'll take adventure over a relationship, so on the big day gives her fiance the slip. She has no idea just what trouble she's in, turns out he wasn't joking about that assassin. Naji's an assassin with a capital A. He's got a new target, he's stalking his prey. He's the shadow behind her in the dead of night, knows eighty ways to kill, never lost a fight. All covered in blood magic, scars and tattoos. He'll meet her in the desert for a midnight duel. But versus Ananna, he experiences a first: instead of an easy kill they both get cursed. Enemies become allies if only to survive. The Curse is Impossible but they still have to try... Dance Break! I'm sorry. I'm not sorry. This book was so much fun! There are few things I like better than reading about two adversaries forced to become allies in pursuit of some higher goal. When Ananna accidentally triggers a curse binding herself with her would-be assassin, Naji, they quickly become one of my most favorite Buddy Cops of Convenience of all time. The awkward teamwork! The reluctant bonding! The coordinated sword fights! Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter! What makes this particular team so perfect is that both sides of the partnership hold equal weight. You'd think that might be hard to pull off with one side being a legendary blood magic assassin and all, but Ananna is no wilting flower either. In fact one of the most enjoyable parts of the book for me was how often Ananna nonchalantly saved Naji's ass. Perfect heroine is perfect. Etc. Etc. As much as I enjoyed this first book, I can already tell the sequel is going to be even better. I cannot wait to get my greedy hands on it. As is, though, The Assassin's Curse is a gem and has the perfect blend of hijinks and high stakes. Rating: 4/5 stars. Warning: I bought the paperback and the back cover copy includes developments that happen within the last 10 pages or so of the book so just go ahead and stick with the Goodreads summary if you don't want to know the set up for the next book until you get there. This review originally appeared on Young Adult Anonymous.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    2 1/2 stars. So, I finally tried the much-recommended The Assassin's Curse after all this time. I recently tried Clarke's adult novel - Our Lady of the Ice - and found it painfully slow, but I wanted to see how her YA book compared. The Assassin's Curse was not as slow as Our Lady of the Ice and I was able to finish it, however, I am a little surprised by all the hype. There were some parts that I had to push myself through and I can say I have no desire to read The Pirate's Wish. Firstly, there 2 1/2 stars. So, I finally tried the much-recommended The Assassin's Curse after all this time. I recently tried Clarke's adult novel - Our Lady of the Ice - and found it painfully slow, but I wanted to see how her YA book compared. The Assassin's Curse was not as slow as Our Lady of the Ice and I was able to finish it, however, I am a little surprised by all the hype. There were some parts that I had to push myself through and I can say I have no desire to read The Pirate's Wish. Firstly, there is no world-building. Occasionally, I can forgive this when the scope of the novel is small. Like Death Sworn, which takes place within a cave. However, this book moves from the seas, through towns, through desert and swamp, back to the seas and to the dark "Isles of the Sky" and I have no idea what's going on in this world at all. I've learned nothing about the system of magic, nothing about the laws and ruling system, very little about the geography, very little about the pirates and their ways/customs... very little about anybody or anything. The story begins with Ananna running away from her parents and her life as a pirate to avoid marrying into another pirate clan. This is a very emotionless undertaking - how does Ananna feel about leaving her parents? How does she feel about their desire to marry her off? Because, honestly, she seems unaffected. She simply runs away. The pirate clan then decide to send an assassin after her. But, in a bizarre twist of fate, Ananna accidentally saves the assassin's life and triggers a curse - one which forces the assassin (Naji) to become Ananna's protector. Neither of them is particularly happy about this, so they set out to break the curse. I'm starting to realize that I am not fond of journey books. The kind where the major plot points happen at the start and end of the book and the in between is one long-ass journey between the two. I think it also weakened Walk on Earth a Stranger, though it weakened this book more. The long journey between triggering the curse and getting to the person who can help them find a cure is so slow. Of course, it's peppered with random bits of action, fights and chases, but it all feels like filler to pad out the book. I had to force myself not to skim read. Also, I think this type of plot structure *might* work better if the characters were more interesting and had more chemistry. Not necessarily romantic chemistry, but at least some spark of something between them, because pretty much the whole book is made up of interactions between Ananna and Naji, and damn, they are so dull together. Ananna is more likable if you enjoy cardboard cutout "strong heroines", but Naji is just cold and boring. I never felt any emotion for him. Clearly, Clarke is just not an author for me, but I am glad I finally checked this out for myself. I do wonder if I would have enjoyed this book three years ago when it was first released; back when strong heroines and broody assassins were not quite so overdone and would have been right up my alley. Oh well. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest

  3. 5 out of 5

    Zuleeza

    This review is also available on my blog, Qwerty Easily, the BEST BOOK of 2012 I've read so far. First, I would like to offer a shitload of virtual Nutella for mah girls, Ebony and Lisbeth as a sign of gratitute. Without their gushing reviews, I wouldn't go about requesting this from Netgalley. I think I may have found my favourite book of 2012 so far. No, I'm not kitten you. My favourite shelf had been so loneleyh! SO LONELEYH! No books, and I mean no books had ever made it into that list after Da This review is also available on my blog, Qwerty Easily, the BEST BOOK of 2012 I've read so far. First, I would like to offer a shitload of virtual Nutella for mah girls, Ebony and Lisbeth as a sign of gratitute. Without their gushing reviews, I wouldn't go about requesting this from Netgalley. I think I may have found my favourite book of 2012 so far. No, I'm not kitten you. My favourite shelf had been so loneleyh! SO LONELEYH! No books, and I mean no books had ever made it into that list after Daughter of Smoke and Bone earlier this year. Some made it close, but this book just went cruuuuuuuuising into my favourite shelf. Like a boss. This is the book which I need it in physical form no matter what. This is the book which worth a place next to my Lord of the Rings trilogy on my shelf. This is the book which needs to be read slowly because you don't want it to end. This is the book which I'll re-read over and over again in my lifetime until the cover eventually falls off. This is the book I want to marry. I don't care if I die alone with 72 cats. This is the book which left me lost for words. I have nothing bad to say about it! Now, how the hell I'm going to write a review if I like everything about this book? I know, I know...shame on me for never running out of ideas on how to condemn a book but not to praise it. I mean, I expect nothing less from an author with mitochondrial as her twitter username. This is a usual story of how a girl meets a boy, well, except that the girl is Ananna, a pirate and the boy is Naji, a blood magician/assassin who is assigned to kill Ananna. Ananna is hunted by the groom's family when she decided to escape the wedding day. During the confrontation between Naji and Ananna, Ananna accidentally saved Naji's life which resulting in an impossible curse inflicted onto Naji. Consequently, Naji is bound to be with Ananna all the time to protect her, otherwise he will experience great physical pain. Together they cross the desert, the ocean and a magical island on a mission to break the curse. Hurm, that's why I hate summarizing. The story ended up sounding so dry. It was hard to get into at first for me. First, because it's from Ananna POV and she got all these pirates vibes going on in her speech and monologues. Second, I couldn't grasp the reality of her relationship with her parents that made her decided, it's okay to leave them to escape the arranged marriage. Ananna or as I'd like to call her How do I describe this young lady... I adore her so much, I wish to breed her, I wish for all the versions of myself in parallel universe to be like her. She is err...Anannananana batman. Unique. Fearless but not reckless. Ambitious but practical. Eager to learn. She does all those pirate stuff, cursing, shoplifting, pickpocketing but she possesses an admirable ability for compassion and loyalty. She could just leave Naji to die in the desert but she sticks with him anyway, through thick and thin. Most importantly, she is so much fun to read, to learn about. I was building up to my best one, about a whore and a court magician, and I knew it'd get a laugh of Naji for sure. I like 'em well enough, even though they teased me and tried to embarrasses me with crude stories and the like. Course, I had a few stories up my sleeve that made them blush. He was curled up on the net and didn't move. "E'mko and his twelve dancing seahorses, you better not be dead." A million possibilities raced through my head. Maybe he'd turned into moonlight after all, and I was next. Maybe he'd turned into a fern and I was ripping him into shreads in my fear. Naji WANTED: OVARIES DONOR. Damn, I lost my ovaries to Logan from Defiance two days ago but right now I'm in dire need to have them back so that I can explode them all over again. For Naji. Not much has been revealed about Naji's background up until this book but I think I've learned enough about him to decide that he is indeed swoonworthy. Naji doesn't talk a lot, hides many things, a bit sarcastic, rarely smiles let alone laughs but he is not a douche, not even close. Instead, he is sort of ermm...socially awkward no matter you believe it or not. He is...well, Naji, a very special character and perfect for Anannananana batman. "You really don't have to stay-it's-well, I'm doing something very rare, full ack'mora-I wouldn't expect-" He straighened up, ran one hand through his tangled-up hair. "Though I ask that you stay in the hotel. My-oath-I'm not sure what would happen to me if you got caught up in danger while I'm away." *sigh* Well, I ran out of things to say, so to whom I recommend this book to? I want to say everyone but I don't think this book will appeal to everyone. Not that I care, hah! I'd love this anyway if the whole world hates it. Suffice to say that if you're looking for romance and cookie-cutter male and female protagonists, you wouldn't get any because this is one of those books where the characters started off as friends, taking their time to know each other first. A relationship built on trust not lust. So...Book2, The Pirate's Wish NOW!!!! **The ARC was provided by Strange Chemistry in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)

    DNF @26% Pirates? Assassins? Sign me up! ...and then quickly un-sign me. Because as fun as this idea is, it’s executed really poorly. The story focuses on Ananna, who runs away from her pirate family to escape an arranged marriage. In doing so, she invokes the wrath of an assassin, and accidentally binds them together with a curse or some other mumbo-jumbo. (I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t make it to the curse part.) Though I really hate to put this down so early, I cannot get into this writing style DNF @26% Pirates? Assassins? Sign me up! ...and then quickly un-sign me. Because as fun as this idea is, it’s executed really poorly. The story focuses on Ananna, who runs away from her pirate family to escape an arranged marriage. In doing so, she invokes the wrath of an assassin, and accidentally binds them together with a curse or some other mumbo-jumbo. (I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t make it to the curse part.) Though I really hate to put this down so early, I cannot get into this writing style where the first-person POV features a very uneducated and colloquial narrative voice. It seriously felt like half the words were "ain't" and the other half were "had." Example: “I ain’t never liked snakes. You don’t see enough of 'em on the water to get used to ‘em, really, and when I saw this one I shrieked without meaning to and stuck my knife clean through it, cause my fear had turned me into a fool who only acted on reflex.” Besides that, the story gave me no incentive to continue. Ananna runs away from her family without a second thought. There’s no emotional element to any of her actions, and all the descriptions are devoted to making sure she seems spunky and rebellious. I received this through a book-chain over at Challenge Corner, a really fun group with a lot of buddy reads and challenges—much more fun than this book, sadly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel E. Carter

    Ladies and Gentleman, this is how you do fantasy. If you enjoy spunky, defiant protagonists a la Alanna (Song of the Lioness) or Saba (Blood Red Road), or, hell, even Arya Stark, then meet Ananna: the headstrong pirate’s daughter who wants to own her own ship to pillage the coast one day. Umm, who doesn’t? If you enjoy awesome world building (and we are talking the desert, sea, and a magicked island –how many times do you get all three settings in one book?) then you need to Buy. This. Now. But w Ladies and Gentleman, this is how you do fantasy. If you enjoy spunky, defiant protagonists a la Alanna (Song of the Lioness) or Saba (Blood Red Road), or, hell, even Arya Stark, then meet Ananna: the headstrong pirate’s daughter who wants to own her own ship to pillage the coast one day. Umm, who doesn’t? If you enjoy awesome world building (and we are talking the desert, sea, and a magicked island –how many times do you get all three settings in one book?) then you need to Buy. This. Now. But what is the most important reason to read this book? The writing. I can honestly name on one hand the number of authors who I would still devour if they omitted romance from their books. And I am a total romance whore. For me usually the best part of a book is the tension between the main character & her love interest -and I tend to spend most of my time counting down until the next scene between whatever character I am shipping, but occasionally I find myself so wrapped up in the author’s unique style that the romance just becomes just a pleasant side effect. Think about Harry Potter. There was no romance for the first couple of books, and yet while I was totally rooting for Ron & Hermoine, they weren’t the main reason I read them. But, let’s admit, it’s awesome that this happened: So, yeah, Ananna & Naji? Of course I want them to be together. This was pretty much going through my mind during all their scenes: Followed by this: I am human after all, and poor Ananna deserves a break. Did Naji stand out as one of my favorite love interests of all time? No. Did I hate him? Absolutely not. Was there instalove? Hell no. Would I reread this as a standalone if I never got closure (view spoiler)[or even a kiss (hide spoiler)] ? Yes. And that makes this book stand out. Will I be reading the sequel? It’s already on my e-reader. You bet I will.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀

    There are few things I FUCKING LOVE MORE than reading about two adversaries FORCED to become allies for some higher goal. Saving the assassinNanji's life binds him and Ananna together so Naji HAS TO protect her. The awkward teamwork! The reluctant bonding! Yelling at each other while fighting people! An odd pair but they were great ”Well, look who’s on my front porch,” he said, speaking Empire with this odd hissing accent. “A murderer and a cross-dressing pirate.” I know i've emphasized my ta There are few things I FUCKING LOVE MORE than reading about two adversaries FORCED to become allies for some higher goal. Saving the assassinNanji's life binds him and Ananna together so Naji HAS TO protect her. The awkward teamwork! The reluctant bonding! Yelling at each other while fighting people! An odd pair but they were great ”Well, look who’s on my front porch,” he said, speaking Empire with this odd hissing accent. “A murderer and a cross-dressing pirate.” I know i've emphasized my taste for independent and courageous heroines So here's my reaction when I read the summary: a freaking PIRATE heroine? A curse? Several impossible tasks with an underlying Arabic mythology? An ASSASSIN who wants to kill her? Both characters are equally KICKASS ~one being a legendary blood magic assassin while the other is an adventurous sword-fighting pirate princess! "You know, that pissed me off. We'd traveled half around the world to get to him, and there were monsters chasing us and Naji's curse was impossible to break, and here he was cracking jokes about our professions.” So, as you may have noticed, with her humor and her knife, Ananna won a place in my favorite heroines OF ALL TIMESSSS She was so feisty and felt so real. She knew how to fight, rule a ship, and basic survival stuff like construct shelters. "Um... I'm sorry?" I waited for a few minutes, watching him. Then I asked, "Are you going to kill me or what?" Then Naji the famous assassin- Mysterious, reckless, kinda grumpy, and attitude of an actual assassin (not some sissy-pretender). The moment he sat down, sullenly complaining about Ananna saving his life I loved him "She moved like water, graceful and soft and lovely. Every part of me wanted to stick out my foot and trip her, just to see her stumble.” Now the cons...... *frowny face* For a book that travels across seas, towns, deserts, swamps, then a mystical "Isles of the Sky" you'd think the author would explain what the heck is happening in the world. So theres some magic but you don't know anything about the magic. Theres villages and cities but nothing about the laws and ruling system. Our main character is a pirate and the entirety of the pirate's ways & traditions were summarized into a single sentence: "There are three ways of bettering yourself in the Pirates' Confederation, Mama told me once: murder, mutiny, and marriage. Thats nice and all BUT HOW ABOUT SOME WORLD BUILDING! It literally starts with Ananna running away. It was THE MOST emotionless scene I have ever read. How does Ananna feel about leaving her parents? Their desire to just marry her off for a "pirate alliance"? Nothing. She simply runs away. But thats not okay so the ditched fiancé pirate sends an assassin after her...? This is where the book picks up because in a bizarre twist she ends up saving the assassin's life ”Two weeks in the desert all on account of some assassin who doesn’t know how to look out for snakes.” “If you hadn’t killed that snake,” Naji said calmly, “I would have killed you.” “Oh, shut up.” Great characters, decent action-pace, and the world seemed interesting~ I just wanted to learn more about it. Expectations for book two rising. Highly Recommend

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ava

    I don't think there are words to describe my severe disappointment after finishing THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE. I began the book with high expectations after individually going through the glowing reviews my co-blogger friends wrote. I was ridiculously excited for THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE - but not only did it let me down... I disliked it heartily in general. I, along with a majority of the readers, found the idea of the plot to be interesting and original - a strong, independent pirate-chick on a quest to c I don't think there are words to describe my severe disappointment after finishing THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE. I began the book with high expectations after individually going through the glowing reviews my co-blogger friends wrote. I was ridiculously excited for THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE - but not only did it let me down... I disliked it heartily in general. I, along with a majority of the readers, found the idea of the plot to be interesting and original - a strong, independent pirate-chick on a quest to cut the bond between an assassin and herself. Plus, the blurb promised melting romantic tension, and I adore that in my novels. It's because I'll be forever alone, so might as well read about other teenagers falling in love, eh? But I found myself totally unimpressed with the plot, the characters, the writing, and the romance throughout the whole novel - not just the beginning, which was said to be the weakest part. The storyline dragged on and on, and I could completely imagine THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE as a prequel novel. Why? The blurb lied, because Ananna and Naji only begin the quest to sever the curse at the very end. The world-building was subtle and well-done, but there also weren't enough details. I'm still in the dark about the Empire and the Confederacy, because Clark didn't expand on it enough. In case you haven't noticed, Ananna is a pirate. The opening sentence contained the word ain't in it, and from there on, I could barely focus on the story because I was too busy translating her bad grammar and language in general. She didn't even sound like a freaking pirate in my head - she sounded Southern, because, you know, that's the first thing that comes to my mind when someone says ain't. I only got a break from it when Naji or another character spoke. The writing flowed perfectly with Ananna's thoughts: choppy, simple, and easy to understand, but lacking in elegance, too. Nearly every character was flat and two-dimensional - especially Leila, a river nymph who's only purpose was to spite Ananna, sabotage them, and act like a high-school bitch. No one gives a shit about Leila, right? Because there was no point in having such a flat character. While various bloggers and reviewers found Ananna to be a hilarious badass, I can barely even express my hatred of her. Annoying, bratty, naive, stupid, and whiny (YOU WANT SOME CHEESE WITH THAT WHINE, SWEETHEART?), I despised her with a passion. The world revolved around Ananna and her constant complaining about how ugly she was irked the crap out of me. Now, Ananna was also very realistic, and a survivalist, and I appreciated that. But when she's throwing quotes like these out, I lost all the remaining respect I had for her: She's beautiful. It means she ain't trustworthy... Beautiful people, things are too easy for 'em. They don't know how to survive in this world. Somebody's ugly, or even plain, normal-looking, that means they got to work twice as hard for things. For anything. Just to get people to listen to 'em, or take 'em serious. So yeah. I don't trust beautiful people. First of all, Miss Pineapple (yes, her name means pineapple in French), you ungrateful little girl, 'beautiful people don't know how to survive in this world'? That's the most ignorant thing I've read this year. And I don't think life is going to be any easier for, let's say, a model gang-raped and murdered. Because in the end, if you're dead, and the model is dead, you're BOTH FUCKING SIX FEET UNDER, AREN'T YOU? Don't trust good-looking people, guys, because they'll all stab you in the back. I can't stand heroines without a backbone: heroines who need the guy to always save them, heroines who can't stand up for themselves. Heroines who have absolutely no confidence in themselves, and most of all, I can't stand damsels in distress. Hi, I'd like to introduce you to Naji. Please meet the weakest, blindest, most sensitive, mysterious, and unconfident hero in young-adult literature I have read to date. Just because you're a guy doesn't mean you get a free pass on this bullshit, because I am not sexist, believe it or not. Having a hero who looks at themselves in the mirror and goes 'boo-whoo-whoo, I'm so fugly', is just as frustrating as having a heroine who does it. I would literally not be surprised if Naji looked at himself in the mirror and imagined that happening. As part of the curse, Naji is supposed to 'protect' Ananna, but it really just ends up as Ananna going all Avatar on his ass. All. The. Time. Except that it wasn't scarce, like in Avatar, and it definitely wasn't as sexy as that scene. Sure, Naji had an excuse for being such a damso-in-distress - using magic took up his energy and life force. IT'S. STILL. INFURIATING. I want a guy who can take care of himself and a girl who can too. Having a girl constantly protect a guy, and vice versa, is equally tiring. And there was one area that had me tearing my hair out: THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE BLURB IS A TOTAL LIAR. AGAIN. There is absolutely no bloody romance in THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE, and sure, I can deal with that. But when I'm told that it's a swooning romance and it's actually a nonexistent, ill-founded, unrequited love, I am going to get annoyed. I was promised some damn romance and I was lied to, because there was no chemistry, no kiss, and no attraction at all. I hate insta-love as much as the next person, but this can't even be called slowly falling in love BECAUSE THERE WAS NO EFFING ROMANCE. STOP FEEDING ME BULLSHIT. How about you just tell me that they're friends in this book, and in the next book, tell the truth? Literally, the closest thing to 'romance' was their bickering, and it wasn't even good fighting. No romantic undertones, no fun bantering. Nada. THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE was a serious miss for me. A lot of people adored it, and I'm sad to say that I was not one of them. Perhaps the second book will be better, because I'm fairly certain my co-blogger Lisbeth will murder me if I don't start loving the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jillian -always aspiring-

    When I first read the synopsis for Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Assassin's Curse, I was very intrigued. Pirates? Assassins? Magic? Curses? Yes, please! Who wouldn't want to read a novel that seems like what might have happened if someone like Tamora Pierce had written Pirates of the Caribbean? As often as I've been burned by false promises in novel synopses, I need not have worried with this novel:  The Assassin's Curse fulfilled its promises and managed to soar above and beyond my expectations. I When I first read the synopsis for Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Assassin's Curse, I was very intrigued. Pirates? Assassins? Magic? Curses? Yes, please! Who wouldn't want to read a novel that seems like what might have happened if someone like Tamora Pierce had written Pirates of the Caribbean? As often as I've been burned by false promises in novel synopses, I need not have worried with this novel:  The Assassin's Curse fulfilled its promises and managed to soar above and beyond my expectations. In a world where a Pirate's Confederation rules the seas and assassins stalk the shadows, Ananna of the Tanarau finds herself in a precarious position: she is engaged to marry Tarrin, son of the Hariri, yet she has no plans to play wife to a pirate captain's son. Rather, she wants to be the pirate captain, leading her own ship and crew. Even though Tarrin promises that his family will send an assassin after her if she were to leave, Ananna takes her chance and escapes her arranged marriage...but her goals are put on hold when she finds herself faced with the assassin hired by the Hariri. Through a series of magical mishaps, the unthinkable happens: pirate princess and assassin end up journeying to find a way to break a curse that binds them together. What good can come of these happenings? The first thing that really struck me about this novel was how subtle yet fascinating the world-building was. For one, I don't think I've read a novel recently that managed to contain so many culture cues and nods without being overwrought or feeling too authorially maneuvered for diversity's sake. Here everything felt natural, even with the shadow-traveling assassins (who reminded me of ninjas at times) and blood magic and mentions of mystical creatures. It was one of those worlds I never wanted to leave because it seemed so full of possibility. Of course, Ananna herself really stole my attention. Recently, I've found myself really admiring narratives that manage to capture a character's specific voice (Moira Young's Blood Red Road and A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet come to mind), and I can add The Assassin's Curse to the list because this novel also bears quite a distinctive voice in Ananna. Beyond that, though, she's the kind of heroine who's really fun to follow because she does things. Ananna doesn't wait for people to do things for her or protect her (instead, she's usually very opposed to these things because she was raised to take care of herself in dangerous situations), and she's a whole spectrum away from passive. With the assassin/would-be hero, Naji, there was quite a role reversal. In some ways, I think he actually took on some of the characteristics usually attributed to YA heroines (mind, I thought this was a *very good* thing). Despite being a capable assassin, Naji  mucks things up quite a bit through some impulsive decisions over the course of the novel and, even with his magic, he's far from "invincible." (Rather, he often ends up drained due to his magic use, leaving Ananna in a bind to drag him to safety somehow.) It's also quite interesting that Naji seems to bear quite a bit of insecurity, all born from people and happenings in his past. Too often in YA novels I see the insecure "I'll never believe I'm beautiful"/"I'm too ugly to be loved" heroines, so it was very refreshing to read about a hero who, despite capability and intelligence, seems to think very little of himself on a person-to-person level. Usually in various media (not just YA novels) we see male characters who are confident, most oftentimes bordering on arrogant, yet rarely do we ever see the ones who bear self-esteem issues and quite a bit of uncertainty. In that respect, Naji seemed very "real" to me as a character, especially in how he acted and interacted with others. Though the novel undoubtedly had flaws, I'm probably too close to it right now as far as "book infatuation" to point them out and note them in this review. The ending came far too abruptly for my liking, though that's likely due to the fact that I really, really wanted a resolution...only to reach the end and think, "Nononono, don't end, don't end... Oh, crap, now I have to wait for the sequel." (Don't we all hate when that happens?) I guess my reaction only gives more testament to how much I really enjoyed this novel and how much I look forward to the sequel, The Pirate's Wish. Needless to say, I feel that The Assassin's Curse is definitely a notable addition to YA fantasy and one that I hope fantasy fans will flock to read and devour come October. It's a fun novel that should quench any reader's thirst for magic, pirates, assassins, and a world where the possible and impossible twine together. Here's hoping that Ananna and Naji's journey will enchant other readers as much as it did me. Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    3.5/5 stars I really really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ronak Gajjar

    Magic - Check! Pirates - Check! Assassins - Check! The Hero with worst past - Check! The dumbest Heroine who for once doesn’t do what she is told to - Check! Guns - Check! Swords - Check! (**If you could get the irony!) Machines - Check! Poor world building - Check! Controversial reviews - Check! (**I should have followed my intuitions! - I wish!) Weird comparative Metaphors - Check! Whatever! - Check! Concept: 2.0/5.0 Execution: 2.5/5.0 Characters Bespoken: 2.25 /5.0 Cover: 3.0/5.0 Overall: 2.5/5.0 So, where Magic - Check! Pirates - Check! Assassins - Check! The Hero with worst past - Check! The dumbest Heroine who for once doesn’t do what she is told to - Check! Guns - Check! Swords - Check! (**If you could get the irony!) Machines - Check! Poor world building - Check! Controversial reviews - Check! (**I should have followed my intuitions! - I wish!) Weird comparative Metaphors - Check! Whatever! - Check! Concept: 2.0/5.0 Execution: 2.5/5.0 Characters Bespoken: 2.25 /5.0 Cover: 3.0/5.0 Overall: 2.5/5.0 So, where to start this fantastic review? Ah, I know! *Shouts* Even the magic written here was boring! Nothing happening at all like all the times and our female protagonist - Ms.Ananna is so dickhead to even think for once. God knows why how many times she chilled to her bones? The only reason that held me or I suppose my lifeline for this book was the Assassin Naji. P.S.: I am sure an idiot to continue this series but I cannot stop a series in midway! I am ready for some more torture where I will keep on picturing the dumbass heroine as a pineapple!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    Do you love Grave Mercy, Blood Red Road, or The Bloody Jack series? Then you need to read this book. Do you like Grave Mercy, but wish it had more actual murder and a less prim heroine? Do you like Blood Red Road but wish it had a plot that actually made sense? Do you like Jacky Faber, but wish she would just grow up already? Then you definitely need to read this book. This book is an absolutely entertaining, fun ride that swept me up onto the back of a stolen camel and never let me go. I finished it Do you love Grave Mercy, Blood Red Road, or The Bloody Jack series? Then you need to read this book. Do you like Grave Mercy, but wish it had more actual murder and a less prim heroine? Do you like Blood Red Road but wish it had a plot that actually made sense? Do you like Jacky Faber, but wish she would just grow up already? Then you definitely need to read this book. This book is an absolutely entertaining, fun ride that swept me up onto the back of a stolen camel and never let me go. I finished it in one day and it was one of those completely pleasurable, huge-grin-on-my-face reading experiences. I almost didn’t request this book, because I’ve been disappointed so many times by “this type of book.” You know what I mean – fun, romantic adventure stories that inevitably have idiotic love interests or wimpy/spineless heroines, unbelievable happily ever afters, or all the other things that have prejudiced me against reading romance over the years. Or else they’re fun, romantic fantasy stories with black villains and shallow world-building. Thankfully, I am able to accidentally move past my own stupidity every once in a while and give one of “these books” a chance. And every once in a while, I am very pleasantly surprised. I actually requested this for a very random reason: the author’s name is weirdly close to the name I was born with and had for the first 24 years of my life. Plus, there’s just something about girl pirates that will always pique my interest. This book did not disappoint. Ananna is smart, tough, practical, and resourceful. She’s no shrinking violet, although she is realistically young in a few hilarious ways. She's not a gorgeous knock-out who thinks she's plain. She actually spends the majority of this book in men's clothes. Her voice is a complete delight to read, but more than that - she feels like a real person. Ananna wants nothing more than to be the captain of her own pirate ship and sail off into the sunset. Unfortunately, her parents have other ideas: they've already arranged for her to marry the son of another pirate family. Ananna wants none of it, so she escapes on the day of her betrothal by making use of the thieving and trickery she's been specializing in since toddler-hood. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get far before a powerful Assassin, hired by the jilted groom’s family, tracks her down. Naji, the dark Assassin, mysteriously scarred and covered in magical tattoos, trained in blood magic, is a fantastic love interest. He’s quiet and flawed and willing to let Ananna fight her own battles. He’s no controlling macho-man and he doesn’t instantly fall head over heels for the heroine. Quite the contrary, in fact - he seems to be completely oblivious to her as a woman, which is hilarious. Nevertheless, these two have great chemistry and so obviously complement each other that it’s just delicious waiting for them to figure it out. My one criticism is that this book is so short and there are so many things left to be explained – it feels unfinished. It feels like half of a book. When I got to 95%, 96%, 97%...and realized that this was going to end soon with so much left unexplained and unresolved, I felt a bit…FURIOUS, actually. Damn it, waiting a whole year to have any resolution between these two is probably going to kill me. Don’t read this if, like my friend Heidi, you prefer not to be left high and dry. Perfect Musical Pairing Heart – What About Love? Because sometimes a romancey pop song just feels so right. Seriously Naji…think about it. Don’t you want someone to care about you? (Bahahaha…I can’t even type that without busting out laughing.) Also seen at The Readventurer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stacia (the 2010 club)

    Give this at least 3 chapters... ...okay, maybe 4 chapters... ...come to think of it, go with 5, just to be safe... 3.5 stars. I can't remember where I got hooked, but it took a short amount of time. But when it happened, I was all in. It was sort of like when I read Graceling and felt like the story didn't really start until Katsa and Po hit the road. That's what happened to me with Assassin's Curse. Things start to pick up when Annabanana (uh...or something like that, her name was sim Give this at least 3 chapters... ...okay, maybe 4 chapters... ...come to think of it, go with 5, just to be safe... 3.5 stars. I can't remember where I got hooked, but it took a short amount of time. But when it happened, I was all in. It was sort of like when I read Graceling and felt like the story didn't really start until Katsa and Po hit the road. That's what happened to me with Assassin's Curse. Things start to pick up when Annabanana (uh...or something like that, her name was similar) gets into a scuffle and saves a MOTHEREFFING ASSASSIN'S LIFE. Yep. The girl saves the bad-ass, scarred assassin. From a snake. Hence, the curse. You know the, "oh crap, you saved my life, so now I'm bound to protect you" curse? Which makes this hi-lar-i-ous because he was supposed to off her. But, enough summarizing of the first few chapters (you know me, I'll never spoil anything that happens past the first small section). Let's break down the writing style. This reads like a subtle fantasy. Sure, there's magic and assassins and mystical, far-off lands...but no amount of swashbuckling and faux middle-eastern adventures is hiding the cutesy romance. I honestly expected this book to lean more on the guy-appeal side. Now, this isn't to say that guys can't/won't appreciate the book, but I do think there was quite possibly more swooning and pining than anticipated for an adventurous romp about an assassin being cursed. Although, I can admit to being (just a little bit) girly, so I will never turn down a chance to swoon inside of my head at the mysterious, scarred, bad-ass man. "Scars don't spontaneously emerge overnight, Ananna. They come from somewhere." So much of the book was spent on a journey, that I think the story suffered a slight hiccup during some of the time spent 'just surviving.' Don't ask me what I'd change because I couldn't tell you. Maybe I just want my travel time to be wrought with Percy Jackson-eseque adventure. Who knows? There was enough that I did enjoy about Assassin's Curse, so I'll gladly continue with the series. Strong Points : ~ Unique setting. Bonus points for the fantasy version of a historic middle east, as well as the pirating/high seas adventures. ~ Likable characters. Nobody's perfect in this tale. ~ Unique magic system. And he started to dissolve, turning into shadows like the ones I'd seen the first time he attacked me. The room got darker and darker and his tattoos glowed brighter and brighter. Weak Points : ~ No real grip on a language style. Some of the descriptions were lush and fell in line with traditional fantasy storytelling, while other descriptions and speech felt almost crude and post-apocalyptic in nature. The lead female has moments where she speaks like someone out of Blood Red Road. I was taken aback for a second when the word 'bullshit' was thrown in. It's a fantasy world with other forms of words being used for slang; I'm not sure why there would be a modern-day swear word thrown into the mix ~ The story seemed to flounder in parts, while we waited for things to happen. When the action happened, it was great. When it wasn't happening, not much else was happening. For me, the strong outweighed the weak, so I will call this book a good time. I'm guessing the next installment will be even better. This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tamora Pierce

    A very unusual fantasy, with a female pirate hero and a brooding assassin male hero. You have to know I loved it because I gave it a quote for the cover!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This book has been making the rounds much more than I would have thought, considering it's published by a new indie publisher. But honestly, The Assassin's Curse is one of the best debuts I've read all year. I've been saying for quite a while that what YA needs more of is pirates. There just really aren't that many. And I mean, come on. Who doesn't love a good pirate? And the pirates in Ms. Clarke's book are epic. Think Pirates of the Caribbean #3, with all the different pirate lords getting toget This book has been making the rounds much more than I would have thought, considering it's published by a new indie publisher. But honestly, The Assassin's Curse is one of the best debuts I've read all year. I've been saying for quite a while that what YA needs more of is pirates. There just really aren't that many. And I mean, come on. Who doesn't love a good pirate? And the pirates in Ms. Clarke's book are epic. Think Pirates of the Caribbean #3, with all the different pirate lords getting together. Our MC Ananna is the daughter of one of these pirate lords, and she's about to get married off to the son of another pirate lord. Too bad she's not much into arranged marriages. I really liked Ananna because she's spunky and feisty, but she also had genuine fears and weaknesses. I don't like a lot of kickbutt heroines because I feel like they turn into Wonder Woman, and who wants to read about that? But Ananna could kick butt AND she had personality. *cue "Hallelujah Chorus"* I also really liked Naji, although he falls into the category of mysterious, brooding boy. But, y'all. He's a freaking NINJA! Why has no one thought to mix pirates and ninjas in a YA book before?! It's like the quintessential question: which is better? Cassandra Rose Clarke answers with, "Who the eff cares?! I used them both!" This story was just so original. And the worldbuilding was AWESOME. I tried to figure out what sort of folklore she could have used to base her world in, but I totally gave up. It's like a mixture of Arabian Nights and "Pirates of the Caribbean"...with Japanese ninjas. There are also some rather steampunk elements in the story, thrown in for good measure. Yeah, mind = blown. The adventure took prominence over the romance, as well, which was refreshing. Ananna and Naji sort of hate each other at the beginning of the book, so I was worried that the relationship between them wouldn't be developed very well. But it's actually very slow, which was great. I also liked that the love triangle was opposite from what we're used to: there were two girls vying for one boy. At first, I thought this was going to be a standalone book and I was sort of pissed. The ending is a definite cliffhanger, and I REALLY want to know what happens next. But it's since then been announced that this is the first in a series, so YAY! This is a book like no other YA book I've ever read, and I'm really hoping that it'll start a new trend. Please bring more pirates into YA! And ninjas! And Aladdin-esque settings! We shall all thank you. :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    3.5 The Assassin’s Curse, Cassandra Rose Clarke’s debut novel, is an exciting and unusual adventure filled with pirates, magic and, of course, assassins. It’s a must read for everyone who’s grown a bit tired of the same ol, formulaic stories. This book could never have a girl in a pretty dress on its cover. Here’s something I’ve noticed in Clarke’s adult book (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter), and it’s even more pronounced here: she tends to write slow-developing, complicated and subtle romances. So 3.5 The Assassin’s Curse, Cassandra Rose Clarke’s debut novel, is an exciting and unusual adventure filled with pirates, magic and, of course, assassins. It’s a must read for everyone who’s grown a bit tired of the same ol, formulaic stories. This book could never have a girl in a pretty dress on its cover. Here’s something I’ve noticed in Clarke’s adult book (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter), and it’s even more pronounced here: she tends to write slow-developing, complicated and subtle romances. Sometimes they’re so subtle, in fact, that you can’t even be sure they’re there. She doesn’t hesitate to throw a third, fourth or even a fifth person into the mix, and she doesn’t hesitate to let that third (fourth, fifth, you get the picture) person win. While I recognize and even appreciate the originality, I don’t always like it. Call it a personal flaw if you will. Now, in the interest of full disclosure (and please take into consideration that I’m risking my life by writing this down because there will be quite a few bloggers willing to come for me with torches and pitchforks), I must admit I didn’t like Naji all that much. I understand why a girl like Annana would be drawn to him after growing up in such unusual circumstances, but I guess that, somewhere along the line, I’ve outgrown characters like him. ”Yeah,” I said. “This is Naji.” “I was expecting a little boy,” Marjani said. “He acts like one sometimes.” And he does. For a trained assassin, Naji acts far too much like a twelve-year-old boy, and his behavior was just too off-putting for me. He takes the whole broody-and-mysterious thing just a bit too far. I like a dark, quiet hero as much as the next girl, but for me, there really wasn’t much to like about him. In terms of plot, The Assassin’s Curse is seriously underdeveloped. After an excellent introduction in which our heroine, Ananna, escapes an arranged marriage on a stolen camel of all things, the usual narrative structure quickly becomes neglected, if not altogether abandoned. Even the ending wasn’t the cliffhanger I’d expected. Instead, the book just sort of ended at a pretty random place, there was no real climax and the resolution never came. A few questions were answered, but nothing was actually resolved. What I really did like about The Assassin’s Curse was the language. A lot of people thought it was inferior to Moira Young’s writing, i.e. the dialect she used for Saba, but I think the two were created with different things in mind. They serve different purposes, and they are both excellent, each in its own way. Ananna’s language use cleverly emphasizes her lack of education and social finesse without disrupting the fluidity of Clarke’s prose or taking away from the reader’s enjoyment. In other words, it is different and useful, but by no means impenetrable. Considering that this is the only positive thing I’ve written so far, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that I didn’t like this book, but I honestly did. I just felt that there were enough positive reviews out there and that I could afford to be brutally honest and critical. The Assassin’s Curse is certainly worth your time and I hope you’ll give it a chance.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Keertana

    This, ladies and gentleman, is how you write a spectacular debut novel. Clarke’s first book is a masterful mix of imagination, thrill, suspense, and a subtle, but underlying, romance. Although I do have my own qualms with this book – which I will get to in a little bit – I can’t deny that it kept me entertained, forcing me to devour it all in one sitting. I fell in love with the character interaction and rich world that Clarke had created and I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel of thi This, ladies and gentleman, is how you write a spectacular debut novel. Clarke’s first book is a masterful mix of imagination, thrill, suspense, and a subtle, but underlying, romance. Although I do have my own qualms with this book – which I will get to in a little bit – I can’t deny that it kept me entertained, forcing me to devour it all in one sitting. I fell in love with the character interaction and rich world that Clarke had created and I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel of this fantastic story. In fact, my only complaint at having received this as an ARC is the fact that I have to wait longer than anyone else to get my hands on the sequel, but you can bet that I’ll be one of the first ones to do so. Seventeen-year-old Ananna, the daughter of a rich pirate lord, wants nothing more than to become captain of her own ship, sailing the seas with a crew of her own. However, when she is forced into marriage with a boy she does not love and barely trusts, she does the only thing she can think of – she runs away. Pirates, however, are not known to be forgiving people and before she knows it, Ananna has an assassin on her trail. Yet, Ananna’s assassin is no ordinary killer and when Ananna unwillingly saves his life, she finds herself bound to him in a way she never wanted. Naji, the enigmatic assassin who is sent to murder Ananna, is victim to a terrible curse causing him to live his life protecting Ananna and forcing him to experience severe pain when she is away or injured. Thus, is it with reluctance that the two of them embark on a journey to find a cure to Naji’s “impossible” curse. Yet, as time will tell, there is more to fear on their adventure than pirates and assassins and their deadliest threat may come from what, to Ananna, is completely unknown… In all honesty, the plot of this story reminded me a lot of Brightly Woven. Both novels feature a tortured male protagonist who is suffering from a curse and a female protagonist who is forced to remain with him, slowly falling in love with him as time passes. Although these similarities were egregiously obvious throughout the story, The Assassin’s Curse threw in something completely different and original that made it stand out. For one, Ananna is an admirable heroine. She stands up for herself, doesn’t back down from a fight, and knows how to hold her own. Although she comes across as young, juvenile, and even quite less-than-kick-ass at first, that quickly changes. I thoroughly enjoyed Ananna’s narration – her quick wit, brilliant humor, and rapid banter made this novel one that I couldn’t put down. Furthermore, she is far from any typical “Mary Sue” character that I’ve come across and isn’t shy to argue or challenge Naji and the predicament they find themselves in. Speaking of Naji, I think it’s safe to say that I’m in love with him. There is simply something about tortured characters that rips out my heart and tears my soul, making me sympathize with and eventually fall head-over-heels in love with them. Naji was no different. At first, Naji can come across as cruel, strange, and even hard to like. However, Clarke does a spectacular job developing his character as we progress through the story. She doesn’t hesitate to show us Naji’s weak, vulnerable, and ugly sides just as much as she knows us his compassion, pain, and total badassery. Naji, despite being a handsome man, has a scar across his face which disfigures him, causing him to be extremely self-conscious. Although it seems as if taking on so many issues – a curse, an adventure, pirates, assassins, murder – seems too much to do justice to without adding on the classic theme of don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover, Clarke does a remarkable job of balancing everything out. In fact, I think this idea, more than even the curse, truly made Naji stand out to me and revealed a whole other side of him we previously didn’t get to see. What I loved most about it though was how Ananna found it in herself to love him and see him for all his positive aspects rather than his ugliness, murder, and killing. All in all, I feel as if I’ve gotten a truly thorough and complete picture of both Naji and Ananna’s characters after reading this novel and I couldn’t be any happier. The romance in this book is very subtle and slowly creeps up on both Ananna and the reader. I don’t want to give anything away so all I’ll say is that I can’t wait to see where it goes and how it progresses in the sequel! Gushing aside, I still had a few qualms with this book. First and foremost, it should be noted that this novel takes place in an entirely different world – a world which I still, unfortunately, don’t know too much about. This lack of information did not hinder the story in any manner and was, in fact, probably a very calculated writing maneuver as the narrator, Ananna, obviously knows about the world she lives in, but as a reader I found myself wishing there was more importance given to the world-building aspect of this story. I definitely think we will be getting a lot more information about this world and the multiple detailed intricacies of it in the sequel, but this all goes back to another issue with this novel: the pacing. Now, when I discuss pacing I don’t mean that this book was slow or lagging in any aspect, because it wasn’t. This was a true page-turner. By pacing I mean that there was a flood of information given to the reader during the first few chapters and then the plot took over and there was more information-dumping in the last chapter. I know I would have enjoyed this book more if the intrigue and mystery about Naji’s curse was not revealed to us in the very beginning (or in the synopsis for that matter) and if the world-building had steadily progressed and increased throughout the course of the novel. Overall though, The Assassin’s Curse is a debut novel you should definitely watch out for. It is entertaining, filled with heart-pounding action and characters that you cannot help but love. Even though this novel comes across as juvenile in some parts, I think it is an excellent addition to the small cluster of good YA fiction out there. Plus, who can resist that beautiful cover? Not me, that’s for sure! I am thrilled to see where Clarke is taking this series and I’ve enjoyed every minute I spent in her world. So, when October rolls around, don’t let it take a curse (or me cursing you) to read this! Pick up this amazing debut – you won’t regret it!(: Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry for providing me with an ARC of this book and giving me the opportunity to read and review it! You can find this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caz (littlebookowl)

    WEEEEEEE I can't wait to continue this! I love it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janina

    I feel like the blurb for this book very much summarises the whole story and is more than a little spoiler-y. I usually don't mind that too much, but if you would like to be surprised, better try to not take a closer look at it. (I just noticed the blurb was changed, so you are now free to read it ;) - and not be spoiled.) You may not believe it: we have here a book about assassins and pirates that actually includes - hold your breath, hold your breath - real pirates and a real assassin who even I feel like the blurb for this book very much summarises the whole story and is more than a little spoiler-y. I usually don't mind that too much, but if you would like to be surprised, better try to not take a closer look at it. (I just noticed the blurb was changed, so you are now free to read it ;) - and not be spoiled.) You may not believe it: we have here a book about assassins and pirates that actually includes - hold your breath, hold your breath - real pirates and a real assassin who even do a fair amount of pirating and assassinating. I know, I was shocked as well (in the most positive sense). It is actually hard to really put a label on this novel. At its core, it is fantasy, yes - but not your typical epic quest for honor and glory, not urban fantasy either, and certainly not paranormal. And it is not your typical story featuring an introduction, main part, climax and ending either. In a way, The Assassin's Curse read more like a very long short story or novella to me. We have little background information on the characters, sporadic world building and an overall unusual story arc ending mostly open. I know this sounds rather negative, but somehow, it worked. The world building is very unobtrusive. It leaves room for your own imagination without holding back too much, and does a good job at not overwhelming you with information at certain points in the story. This is exactly how I like it - but I am aware of the fact that it might be too little for some. I prefer to not be told about a world, but experience it for myself, and Cassandra Rose Clarke definitely gave me that opportunity. Clearly, the charm of this book stems from Ananna's voice and her relationship to Naji. Ananna is a very active character, feisty and dauntless - a lot of people will probably label her "kick-ass". For some reason, I have my problems with that expression - it focuses too much on the violent nature of a character for my taste. Yes, Ananna is perfectly able to wield a sword, but she is not a hard or even emotionless fighting machine. I really like her attitude to life in general, her sense of humour and her way of just acting on her feelings, but also her sensitivity and sense of family. Also, she is clearly a fan of the double negative - which sometimes annoyed me a little. Naji is more a brooding and withdrawn kind of guy, and his interactions with loud and bubbly Ananna often brought a smile to my lips. In this story, he is the one who needs to be rescued, the one carrying around emotional baggage. Despite his skills and abilities in the magic department, the position of stronger character clearly belongs to Ananna. And yes, this novel is actually funny and does not take itself too seriously. If you can live with the very open ending and survive the long wait for a second instalment: Definitely recommended. Thanks a lot to Netgalley and Angry Robot for the review copy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    First of all : I've always been a sucker for pirates. Humm. Nah. Not those ones Nope. Hell, yeaaaaah! *blush* Okay I must confess, I loved the first two too. Guybrush Threepwood powaaaa! Oh, well. Moreover, I have enough emphasized my taste for independent and courageous heroines. So here's my reaction when I read the summarize : a pirate heroine? A curse? Several tasks to perform? an assassin who wants to kill her? And as if that were not enough, I read : "The assassins were blood magicians in ad First of all : I've always been a sucker for pirates. Humm. Nah. Not those ones Nope. Hell, yeaaaaah! *blush* Okay I must confess, I loved the first two too. Guybrush Threepwood powaaaa! Oh, well. Moreover, I have enough emphasized my taste for independent and courageous heroines. So here's my reaction when I read the summarize : a pirate heroine? A curse? Several tasks to perform? an assassin who wants to kill her? And as if that were not enough, I read : "The assassins were blood magicians in addition to skilled fighters." OK. Where can I throw my money? Here I am. If you're not as excited as I was, perhaps you won't think like me. "I ain't so heartless I'm gonna let someone be struck down with pain on account of me. Even if that someone is a murderer and a liar. Hell, murderers and liars used to sing me to sleep." Welcome to Lisirra, desert city, where we meet Ananna of Tanarau, only child from Tanarau's family and whose parents decided to marry her to Tarrin of Hairiri in order to form an alliance with his family. And the least one can say is our heroine isn't pleased by the fate her parents chose for her. Like, not at all. Her only option? To escape. "[Papa] wasn't never one to miss an opportunity, and I am nothing if not my father's daughter. Even if the bastard did want to marry me off." This is where our journey starts. That's gonna be awesome. 1) The characters : I couldn't start my review without talking about Ananna. The heroine of our story. The true heroine. What I mean is, we often find ourselves stuck with a main character who only turns out to be our window into the story, the eyes and the heart by whom we perceive events. That's not the case here. Of course Ananna is the narrator of the story, but not only : she lives it, she transformes it, she owns it, in a word : she's freaking heroic. I admire her . That's simple, her caustic wit and repartee won me from the first line. Pretty rare, isn't it? That's utterly wonderful to follow the story in her point of vue : her digressions are hilarious, she thinks before acting (I know!!!) and seriously, we can't help but care for her. Although her ethics derive from pirates lessons. Or maybe because of it, actually. Lessons we can't help but learn with a huge smile on our face, as the entire world created by the author seems true. No paper mache decor as a stooge of any Romeo and Juliet operetta here. Nah nah : aventure, I said. "Fortunately, Mama and Papa never much went in for things like that. They always taught me that honor was best defined on a case-by-case basis." So, as you may have noticed, with her humor and her knife, Ananna won a place in my favorite heroines of all times list, with Meda and Alex. Because she knows how to fight. And rule a ship. And construct shelters. But I must stop here, or I might overshadow Naji, the famous assassin, who would have much to learn from our little pirate. But I'm coming to that. "Some people, soldiers especially, make a big deal about their swords, and you can get 'em to talk about the things forever. Never been one for that sort of thing myself. A weapon's a weapon." Ah, Naji, you don't know who you're dealing with when you meet Ananna. Don't be fooled though : I strongly loved his character. He's mysterious, unable to open to others, reckless, grumpy, he knows how to handle a sword - and magic, to sum up, he's a real assassin. Besides he's funny in... humm... his own way I guess - that is to say, without intending to be. The only thing is - *sigh*, that would be sooo cool he acknowledges the fact he would have been lost without Ananna. Several times. And I'm okay with it, but I'd have loved he admitted it. A little bit, at least? But where I have to thank the author, warmly, that's for the absolutely perfect way she manages the relationship between our two heroes. Because now that I finished my reading, I can admit I was afraid our assassin wouldn't be able to kill Ananna because of, you know, love at first sigh. Can you believe it? That's not the case here, and their relationship evolution is really remarkable and credible, involving the reader from the very beginning. Because come on, an assassin is an assassin, right? If he doesn't even try to fulfill his task because of some woman's beauty, he's not really an assassin, right? Nah. He'd be a moron with a sword. So see, Naji, even if you need Ananna, you're still super awesome. Loyal. Adorable. And that's a true pleasure to see your shells breaking, even if it takes a ridiculous amount of time. After all, you're a freakin' assassin. "Um... I'm sorry?" I waited for a few minutes, watching him. Then I asked, "Are you going to kill me or what?" 2) The plot : Aventure, do you want aventure? You won't be disappointed. The pace never slows down, and we are immediately drawn into this infernal race in which our heroes are thrown against their will. The world building is created with such talent - I'm always there. Actually I'm waiting on an island, to be clear. But that's another story. The writing style is catchy, and as I said earlier, the twists aren't created to showcase a love story. How refreshing is that? You might not believe me, but there is a real plot here. You heard me. Exciting, filled with magic, fights, a beautiful witch who annoyed me something fierce, mysterious creatures from another world and pirate's life. How could I not fall in love with that book?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ash Wednesday

    2.5 STARS ”Well, look who’s on my front porch,” he said, speaking Empire with this odd hissing accent. “A murderer and a cross-dressing pirate.” I’m still having a hard time figuring out how a book from this author, with this kind of premise, in my go-to genre could have failed me monumentally. A sassy seventeen year old pirate bride ditches her groom who in turn sends a deadly assassin after her to… well, kill her. By some brilliant turn of events, the pirate bride saves the assassin’s life, 2.5 STARS ”Well, look who’s on my front porch,” he said, speaking Empire with this odd hissing accent. “A murderer and a cross-dressing pirate.” I’m still having a hard time figuring out how a book from this author, with this kind of premise, in my go-to genre could have failed me monumentally. A sassy seventeen year old pirate bride ditches her groom who in turn sends a deadly assassin after her to… well, kill her. By some brilliant turn of events, the pirate bride saves the assassin’s life, binding both of them in an impossible curse where her supposed killer is now compelled to protect her. ”Two weeks in the desert all on account of some assassin who doesn’t know how to look out for snakes.” “If you hadn’t killed that snake,” Naji said calmly, “I would have killed you.” “Oh, shut up.” Neither happy in their new situation, they become the unlikeliest allies searching for a way to break the curse, crossing mystic forests and treacherous seas in their search for the wizard who has the answers. That plot breaks my heart from all the wasted opportunities to blow my mind but what hurts the most is seeing glimpses of the story I was expecting, in a messy tangle of dull and charmless characters and confusing plot progression and transition. There were stretches of scenes in this book that captured my fancy: I liked Naji and Ananna’s moments aboard the Ayel’s Revenge (a ship) and found excitement in their fight with the Hariri in the desert (when I thought this was taking the surreally awesome turn towards Arabian Steampunk)… everything that happened in between felt like gaping black holes in terms of plot and character logic. Holes I found myself filling out with assumptions and excuses to fashion some sense into what I am reading. I’ve often complained about books that are all about the telling, neglecting the showing. This relied a little too heavily on certain presumptions. For example, this presumes that I will automatically like the not-so-attractive heroine for bucking against her father’s will to marry the attractive, arrogant and entitled asshole. Because, duh feminism. Except I never really got to like Ananna. For all her supposed independence and (barely) sassy (not so) smart-mouth, she came across bossy, bitter and naggy to me. It makes zero sense how she transitioned from sassy bitchy pirate to concerned companion to Naji to enamoured girl harbouring some serious unrequited love. But then again, her name has an unnecessary repetitive syllable in the end… so I suppose that explains everything. I didn’t even feel Naji’s presence enough to comment on his character. He’s all about the brooding and the answers with double meanings and “woe is my pretty face if not for these scars, gimme my mask dammit!” I suppose much would be revealed in the second book about his past but here, up to the very end, I barely know why I should be concerned of what will happen to this character. The paranormal fantasy aspect didn’t feel seamlessly incorporated to the story to me and hardly had any claws to pin my attention fixed. Details about this world and the characters get dropped in when it suits the plot, tailor-made for convenience’s sake. Something that doesn’t work for me. I found myself midway through the book with still very little backstory on Annana and Naji to pull emotion from towards the end. Which sucks because the ending of this one is certainly making promises that I’m seriously SERIOUSLY hoping it could keep. Also on BookLikes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lady Luna. ✨

    Pirates? Assassins? Take all my money now and feed me badassery.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anja H.

    *3 CURSED STARS* “You don't realize how much you miss something till it comes back to you, and then you wonder how you went so long without it.” This book was okay. Not very special and gave me an overall meh feeling. It's a shame really, because this could've been really good, had the author took the time to explain the world-building and the magic system because now it was all pretty vague. Didn't really care for any of the characters either. On the plus side, this was pretty fast-paced and ke *3 CURSED STARS* “You don't realize how much you miss something till it comes back to you, and then you wonder how you went so long without it.” This book was okay. Not very special and gave me an overall meh feeling. It's a shame really, because this could've been really good, had the author took the time to explain the world-building and the magic system because now it was all pretty vague. Didn't really care for any of the characters either. On the plus side, this was pretty fast-paced and kept me entertained. I will read the sequel though, but I definitely hope that everything gets more background in that one!

  23. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    I read about 30% of this before I did some severe skimming. The heroine speaks like this "I ain't had no dreams." the whole way through the book, personal dislike. The magical world, the magical associations, characters, and pretty much everything makes no sense to me. I'm not a usual YA reader, not sure if that is the problem here but I did not like the writing style, flow, or point of the story. It looks like 90% of my friends really liked this, I'm definitely in the minority here. I've read T I read about 30% of this before I did some severe skimming. The heroine speaks like this "I ain't had no dreams." the whole way through the book, personal dislike. The magical world, the magical associations, characters, and pretty much everything makes no sense to me. I'm not a usual YA reader, not sure if that is the problem here but I did not like the writing style, flow, or point of the story. It looks like 90% of my friends really liked this, I'm definitely in the minority here. I've read The Mad Scientist's Daughter by the same author and was a big fan but yeah, this one, not so much :/

  24. 5 out of 5

    Norah Una Sumner

    Real rating: 3.5 Interesting book.I don't think I've ever read a book about pirates and their adventures.However,there is some fantasy and magic involved.The main character,Ananna,is quite cool,but she can be a bit impulsive sometimes.The main male character,Naji,is an assassin with bad-ass magic skills.I really liked him but he,too,was sometimes a bit impulsive.The world-building could've been a bit better but once you get accustomed to the setting the book becomes more interesting and easier to Real rating: 3.5 Interesting book.I don't think I've ever read a book about pirates and their adventures.However,there is some fantasy and magic involved.The main character,Ananna,is quite cool,but she can be a bit impulsive sometimes.The main male character,Naji,is an assassin with bad-ass magic skills.I really liked him but he,too,was sometimes a bit impulsive.The world-building could've been a bit better but once you get accustomed to the setting the book becomes more interesting and easier to follow.Also,the whole part with Leila was kind of unnecessary.Was it just supposed to make Ananna jealous?Probably,but I got bored whilst reading that part.When it comes to romance...well,honestly,Naji showed zero interests in Ananna or maybe that's just how it seemed to me.He didn't even think of her when they found out (view spoiler)[that true love's kiss is one of those tasks he has to complete.HE THOUGHT OF LEILA?Wow. (hide spoiler)] .I really hope that he's going to realize what an amazing woman he has right by his side.I'm really curious to see how the story's going to conclude in the Pirate's Wish.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    A really fun read! The world may not have been explained all that well but the characters were awesome! I love where this story and adventure is going to go!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    Original Review found at: www.awesomebooknuts.blogspot.com This was a cute, fun, light, adventure with pirates, magic, curses, and of course, assassins. However the problems I had with this story is it was underdeveloped, I had a hard time getting into the story. I felt that the beginning of the story was fine where the main character Ananna runs away from an arranged marriage and the fact that his family sent assassin's after her to kill her because of it. But after that I was hoping for more, I Original Review found at: www.awesomebooknuts.blogspot.com This was a cute, fun, light, adventure with pirates, magic, curses, and of course, assassins. However the problems I had with this story is it was underdeveloped, I had a hard time getting into the story. I felt that the beginning of the story was fine where the main character Ananna runs away from an arranged marriage and the fact that his family sent assassin's after her to kill her because of it. But after that I was hoping for more, I wanted a little more about this abandoned fiancé and the narrative becomes neglected after that and I felt the author pretty much focused on moving the story along. Plus the ending? It just...ended. It DID however leave me WANTING to read the sequel so in terns of that I guess she succeeded but other than that, the whole story just left me, wanting. I felt the actual assassin, Naji, lacked somewhere. He didn't seem like the assassin I would assume assassin's would be like. Sure he was nice and A LITTLE distant but nothing to keep really interested in him. He was bit of a disappointment. He does have a bit of mystery surround him and the fact that he is scarred but other than that I just wan't into him. The main character Ananna was a little immature for me. Yes she is 16 and maybe that is why but for some reason I just want to reach in the book and slap her and say, "shut up for the love!" and she was just a bit annoying to me. I think the author was trying to make her sassy, which she was it just was too much for me and it got on my nerves. The story progresses with Ananna ending up saving the assassin's life by killing a snake that was about to strike him. Because of that Naji is cursed and forever bound to Ananna to protect her on verge of death himself. There were many things I liked about this, the fact that neither are happy about it, the fact that they have to be near each other at all times so Naji doesn't get sick or have headaches and whatever the the whole journey begins of them trying to find a way to break this curse. However the over all story was eventually fun, once things got going and Naji found himself with a bit more character I was overall able to enjoy the story. It was cute and a quick little fun adventure regardless of the issues I had with it. I would recommend this to people because it still was enjoyable and I still want to continue with the story and see where it goes. She did do a good job of making you want to find out what happens and see if they are able to break this curse. Sexual Content: mild Violence: moderate (some fighting scenes not graphic) Language: mild Drugs/Alcohol: mild/none

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ylenia

    This book was okay. And okay, sometimes, it's not enough.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Experiment BL626

    The Assassin's Curse (TAC) was a fun read. What a pity that the YA fantasy lacked substance. Hollow Characters +++ Ananna Ananna was feisty, practical, and compassionate but these traits of her were not in good synergy. One example is when she rescued Naji from an asp after his failed attempt to assassinate her. She acted compassionately but how was it practical to save someone who was trying to kill you? She had no problem, or I should say no hesitancy in stealing, lying, and killing when necessar The Assassin's Curse (TAC) was a fun read. What a pity that the YA fantasy lacked substance. Hollow Characters +++ Ananna Ananna was feisty, practical, and compassionate but these traits of her were not in good synergy. One example is when she rescued Naji from an asp after his failed attempt to assassinate her. She acted compassionately but how was it practical to save someone who was trying to kill you? She had no problem, or I should say no hesitancy in stealing, lying, and killing when necessary. I thought killing your assassin would count as necessary. Not to mention that she trusted him too quickly. Her, the daughter of a mighty pirate family; pirates and a trusting nature doesn't usually go hand in hand. Truly, the biggest problem I had with Ananna was how I had a hard time getting into her head — and the story was written in 1st PoV from her side. It was unfortunate because Ananna was the type of heroine I love to cheer for. I couldn't maintain an emotional connection with Ananna so cheering for her was a tedious affair. +++ Naji Naji was even worse. All I got from him was a stoic and incompetent assassin. So stoic the dude might as well have been a robot. So incompetent that I thought if he taught Ananna his super-secret blood magic that only others in his super-secret assassin order know, Ananna would have seriously made a better assassin than him. I could not understand for the life of me of why the assassins of his order, especially Naji with his mask, could be so conspicuous — an observation repeatedly made throughout the story. They didn't hide the fact they were assassin, instead chose to stand out like a peacock in a flock of geese. It seem to me that the only thing that made them assassins was their wicked-awesome blood magic, instead of the special training to hunt, hide, and kill a singular target. +++ others The supporting characters were also interesting, but just like the main characters the supporting characters were not fully fleshed. All the characters in TAC left me wanting more. Hollow Plot +++ the Hariris Based on my understanding and TAC's lack of backstory, the Hariris sent an assassin after Ananna simply because they were irked by the fact that she spurned their son and ran away from the arranged marriage. It wasn't because they were ruthless pirates, or there was some sort of pirate's code of honor, or the possibility of war between their clan and Ananna's pirate clan if the arranged marriage failed. No, it was because they were simply irked. +++ the curse TAC was deliberately vague on the operation of "the impossible curse." For example, distance. In one scene, Ananna had enough Naji's unwillingness to share info and started walking away and out of the room. As a result, the curse inflicted horrible pain on Naji as punishment. In many other scenes, Ananna wasn't with Naji but the curse didn't inflict pain on him. Did that mean intention factored into the curse or was this a big plot hole? All the readers was told that Ananna's pain was Naji's pain, her death was his death. You think the characters would have explored the curse's parameter to make sure Ananna didn't cause any unnecessary harm on Naji (the curse was one-way), but nothing of the sort occurred. The two focused so much on finding a cure for the curse that they failed to manage curse as it was. It was like sending a victim of hypothermia to the hospital to be saved but forgetting to warm up the victim and defibrillate him on the way. +++ the romance The blurb said there was "growing romantic tension." It's true if you ignore the fact that the romantic tension appeared at the last few pages and was purely one-sided. The only tension that existed throughout the book, from start to finish, was of the life-threatening kind. Not only did Ananna and Naji had to contend with the curse, they had to contend with the pirates, other assassins, and mysterious magical beings from another dimension. TBH, I'm glad TAC didn't have a romance. Ananna and Naji didn't have chemistry between them. The "growing romantic tension" at the end felt incredibly contrived. In Conclusion The prose was brisk, the pacing was fast, the plot was unpredictable. These things could have put TAC in the I-like-it land were it not for the ending. The story had no ending. Oh no, there wasn't a cliffhanger; TAC simply ended in the middle of the story. I rate TAC 2-stars for it was okay. TAC is best for readers in the mood for an action-packed, nonthinking fantasy. I recommend readers who wish to pick up the series to wait until all of the duology is available to them.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cassi aka Snow White Haggard

    This review is Breakdown of a Heroine Style because I just love Ananna that much. Who is Ananna? Ananna is the seventeen year old daughter of a pirate captain. She's been raised on a confederation pirate ship, knows her way around the riggings. She's handy with a sword and can find her way out of almost any problem. Strength of Character Ananna is kickass in all the best ways. She can defend herself with a sword and knife. She doesn't hesitate to fight off evil. When she decides to learn navigation This review is Breakdown of a Heroine Style because I just love Ananna that much. Who is Ananna? Ananna is the seventeen year old daughter of a pirate captain. She's been raised on a confederation pirate ship, knows her way around the riggings. She's handy with a sword and can find her way out of almost any problem. Strength of Character Ananna is kickass in all the best ways. She can defend herself with a sword and knife. She doesn't hesitate to fight off evil. When she decides to learn navigation, she's a quick study despite her limited education. But that's not what stands out most to me. For most of this story Ananna travels with an assassin named Naji. He has a massive scar on his face. Whenever anyone tries to bully Naji because of his scar, she's ready to kick their ass. She can recognize a bully, sees how beautiful people get away with it and she's not having any of that on her watch. Ananna's Storyline This book had one of the BEST opening chapter's I've read in a long time. Ananna's father has bargained with another pirate clan, offering Ananna's hand in marriage to create a partnership. Ananna is absolutely furious. Her father promised to teach her navigation and sailing. She feels completely betrayed. Ananna dreamed of captaining her own ship, not being a wife to some spoiled pirate's son. So Ananna takes things into her own hands, running away from the marriage. Things go awry when the Hariri clan sends an Assassin after her. These are not your normal assassins, these are dark magician's who always kill their prey. Except, this assassin doesn't. Instead Ananna saves him life. By saving him, she accidentally enacts a curse that forces him to protect her. Whenever she's far away or in danger, Naji feels excruciating pain. Not being cruel, Ananna doesn't abandon him and they set off together, both running from the Hariri and searching for a cure for the curse. Romantic Entanglements I want Naji to myself. Does that count as a romantic entanglement? The moment he sits there sullenly complaining about Ananna saving his life I loved him. Naji is scarred, literally, sullen, funny and he respect Ananna as a strong woman. Even though he's cursed to protect her, he recognizes and compliments her ability to protect herself. There are hints of romance, always in the background to the story, and slow building. There is nothing unhealthy about it, instead it's a friendship that grows then begins blossoming, at least in the background. It's the adorable type of romance I like, where nobody realizes it's happening except the reader. But you'll find yourself cheering for it, believe me. Conclusions I loved this book. 5/5 stars of love. Rarely do I love a book this much. Everything was just perfect for me. Ananna is everything I want in a main character - witty, intelligent, funny, feisty and believable. She's the type of girl I want to go adventuring with. From the first line, I was all in. "Tarrin of the Hariri looked just like one of those paintings. Golden skin and huge black eyes and this mile that probably worked on every girl from here to the ice-islands. I hated him on sight. Sometimes you love a book so much that it's hard to write a coherent review. Instead I just want to cuddle it and tell it how much I love it. That's not very useful to other readers though. When I tried to be the objective cool-headed reviewer and find the flaws in this book I couldn't. The characters won me over immediately, the pacing kept moving forward (I read this book quickly), everything pushed the story forward, it made me laugh, it made me feel and I just loved it. For those who like fantasy with strong heroines and are looking for Tamora Pierce meets Jacky Faber, this book is perfect for you. In this book you'll find your next fictional crush (especially if you're into men who treat women with respect), a new fictional best friend and maybe event a favorite novel. I received an advance reading copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley For reviews and more check out my blog Galavanting Girl Books

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jasprit

    Recently I’ve noticed that the type of books I seem to get the most enjoyment out of as late are fantasy books. Contemporary novels are typically my best friend, I know I can turn to them when I need a quick pick me up and they always deliver through and through. But in the last few weeks’ books such as Throne of Glass, Defiance and Stormdancer, books which at the beginning of the year I never would have considered are ending up as my favourites of 2012. They seem to bring that extra oomph throu Recently I’ve noticed that the type of books I seem to get the most enjoyment out of as late are fantasy books. Contemporary novels are typically my best friend, I know I can turn to them when I need a quick pick me up and they always deliver through and through. But in the last few weeks’ books such as Throne of Glass, Defiance and Stormdancer, books which at the beginning of the year I never would have considered are ending up as my favourites of 2012. They seem to bring that extra oomph through their magical world building and their exotic characters. The Assassin’s Curse was no different. Annana comes from a family of pirates; she’s typically a kick butt heroine who’s learnt how to hold her own. So when it is arranged that she will marry Tarrin of the Hariri, something she doesn’t want, she decides to run away. Knowing that as a consequence she is putting her life at risk; of course Tarrin’s family won’t allow it, they will probably hunt her down themselves or hire an assassin to do it. Annana’s heard her fair share of assassin stories and so knows they’re not ones to mess with. But Annana’s plans go straight out of the window when she ends up stuck with the assassin Naji who was hired to kill her. Certain books with specific themes easily become my favourites; sports related, road trips, music /performing arts related and books featuring pirates. I’ve always secretly enjoyed pirate books, maybe because I grew up reading Peter Pan several times a day and then watching both movies again and again. So I loved Clark’s idea of mashing up pirates and assassins together in one book. Seriously how cool is that? The situation Annana and Naji found themselves in was problematic to both; Annana found she was limited to what she was able to do as if she wandered off by herself she could cause any harm to Naji, but that meant that she was stuck with a great big assassin with her at all times, which was also great in a way as she did have the Hariri clan after her. However she was kept in dark a lot about things which I would too find hugely frustrating. It was clear Naji did have her interests at heart, but the constant avoidance of her questions made me want to smack him upside the head sometimes. Despite her situation being problematic and dangerous, their situation was also hilarious. An assassin and a pirate being bound to one another when it was clearly something they didn’t want, it was definitely an eye opening experience which required them to make that extra effort and adapt themselves to one another. Naji and Annana’s adventure to seek their answers was a thoroughly enjoyable one. Meeting irksome characters along the way, having several near death experiences, constantly having to be alert, adjusting to being stuck together and that ending! Cassandra Rose Clark has managed to create a mesmerising debut. My hands are already itching in nervous anticipation in getting a copy of the next book. This review and more can be found on The Readers Den

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