I requested this title on Netgalley without ever reading the synopsis. I know they say never judge a book by its cover but I judged and that cover did not disappoint! The Assassin’s Curse is a truly original work. I had no idea what was coming next and the way Clarke weaves magic, mystery and a little romance into the story had me quickly turning the pages. When I got to the end I kept pressing the turn page button on my nook not believing the author would just leave the story hanging like that (she did!). Now I am eagerly awaiting the sequel which isn’t coming out until June 2013.
The Assassin’s Curse begins by jumping straight into the action. Ananna’s family is trying to marry her to a rival pirate clan but being the strong independent pirate she is Ananna escapes and hides out inside the city. This works until she begins being followed by an assassin and has to fight for her life. During the fight Ananna unwittingly triggers a curse and the assassin, Naji, and Ananna must become allies in order to break the curse. I do need to warn perspective readers though that there is a slight dialect or an uneducated person’s vernacular used in this novel but it is no where near as bad as Blood Red Road by Moira Young and I was able to easily get past it.
What I liked the most about this novel was the main character Ananna. She is street smart, a pirate, strong, independent, and at times vulnerable. Ananna is the way I wish more characters in YA would be. She is not sad because of her past, while she does miss her parents she understands their actions and never feels sorry for herself. Ananna even in the worst situations pushes on and never gives up. I felt really motivated reading about her.
Naji, the assassin, was also more then I expected him to be. At first I thought he was going to be the standard sexy love interest but he easily broke out of that role and became an integral part of the story. I enjoyed learning about his past (the little he would disclose) and the blood magic he can work. I actually have a hard time deciding if Naji or Ananna was my favorite character, which is strange because usually my favorite character is the narrator.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Assassin’s Curse and can not wait to return to the world Clarke created. The only reason I wasn’t able to give this book 5 stars is because I wish there had been more romance (although I expect there might be more in book 2) and I had trouble with the dialect in the beginning but was able to quickly get over that hurdle.Thank you Netgalley and Strange Chemistry for allowing me to read an Advanced Readers Copy of The Assassin's Curse.