Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Released: October 4th 2012
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.
And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be. (from Goodreads)
The characters made this book for me. That’s not to say The Assassin’s Curse didn’t have an awesome plot too, because it did, it really did. But the characters...well, you’ll just have to read the book to see what I mean.
Ananna was a heroine extraordinaire. She was pirate (a pirate? How freakin’ cool is that?) and was generally just a great character to read about. She refused to go through with an arranged marriage and ran away from the only home she had ever known. Even in times of great danger, she showed immense courage and strength. She also has some awesome skills – she could easily pickpocket and steal without getting caught; she was like some thieving mastermind. And having lived on a ship her whole life, she was great at helping out and she even started to learn navigation, determined to get better so that she could fulfil her dream of running her own ship one day. She was her own person, and I actually liked that she wasn’t hugely caring of others and all self-sacrificial – she didn’t have time to be worrying about other people when she was barely struggling to survive herself. She didn’t trust very many people, but as she got to know Naji, she did become protective at him (though she tried to hide how he felt). Their conversations were hilarious sometimes; I wanted to be there just so I could see the expressions on their faces! And I loved Ananna even more for the way she talked back to Naji...an assassin. She was relentlessly sarcastic... to an assassin. It was hilarious. I loved the last few chapters of The Assassin’s Curse because I got a great sense of how Ananna was feeling, and the last line...brilliant. I am so excited for the sequel, it’s insane.
Naji was another amazing character. He was an assassin, yes, to be feared and avoided if possible, and could perform dark blood magic which most people regarded as evil. However, he also seemed...broken. As if he used to be something else, something other than just an assassin carrying out a task. He seemed to have morals (which appeared on occasion), which made me wonder why he became an assassin in the first place and why he continued to be one. He also had a scar covering half his face, and seemed very self-conscious about it. He often seemed to think the scar made him less of a person, though Ananna never thought that was the case. We never found out how he got the scar, even though I was dying to know throughout the book. I wanted to know what it was that happened to him, what event changed him. Even though we were never told what Naji was like before he got his scar, it seemed to me that he was pretty different (judging by his previous girlfriend/lover, who I personally thought was AWFUL. Ananna clearly thought she was awful too, though she tried not to say anything because they depended on her for help). Towards the end, when Ananna had started to understand her feelings towards Naji, I was just shaking my head at the man. I was just like, “You idiot! Realise! Realise that she likes you!” But nope. Damn assassin was oblivious. Even though there was no real romance (more a developing friendship, which I assume [read: hope] will slowly progress into something more) in this book, Ananna and Naji must be one of my favourite pairings ever. I hope Naji realises in the next book that he’s not as alone as he thinks.
I loved the setting in The Assassin’s Curse – it was so magical and alluring, but also dangerous and frightening. There were magic users and sirens and strange creatures and so many other things that made the story that much more enjoyable. I loved the time the characters spent on ships too, like when Ananna and Naji were travelling with Mirjani, who was another character I loved because she was intelligent and strong and funny, but also pretty kind, and helped Ananna with her navigation. The plot was great because there was always something happening in the quest to break Naji’s curse. So many things came into play, and I loved the way the book ended (even though it’s left me desperate for the sequel). I am very intrigued by the “three tasks” and can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Overall, The Assassin’s curse was an excellent fantasy with fantastic characters. Highly recommended!