Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review - The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Assassin’s Curse #1
Published by Strange Chemistry on October 2 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 298
Rating: 3/5 stars
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. 
To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks--all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic...and the growing romantic tension between them. 
For a book about pirates and assassins, The Assassin’s Curse was rather dull. The best part of the book is honestly the cover – it’s a very nice cover. Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had for it. It wasn’t a horrible book, but it wasn’t great either. Perhaps my expectations were high, but I think that they should be. I go into every book with the hopes that it will wow me and leave me yearning for more, but this just didn’t do it.

The characters weren’t bad – kind of predictable YA fantasy tropes, but nothing glaringly offensive. I would have liked to see a more interesting reason for Ananna to run away from her responsibilities. Her reasoning seemed both immature and over-used. Running away from an unwanted marriage is a very familiar scenario, and I don’t think that The Assassin’s Curse offered an interesting spin on it in any way. She was rather naïve for a girl who was raised by pirates, and she lacked the fieriness I expected of her. Naji was slightly more interesting, but he was kind of an asshole most of the time.

I thought it was really refreshing that Ananna and Naji weren’t beautiful people. They weren’t physically spectacular, which is so uncommon in YA. It seems like everyone in YA is a super model, and it gets old. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ananna was of a heavier/thicker build than the average YA heroine, and that Naji was insecure about the scars on his face (going so far as to hide behind a desert mask, which was pretty cute for such a tough guy).

I did enjoy the setting – you don’t see a lot of fantasy set in Middle Eastern-esque places. I appreciated the way that the setting changed as the book progressed – it never felt stagnant. I also kind of liked the pacing of the romance – there were no declarations of undying love two days after first meeting one another, hurrah! It isn’t until the last few pages of the book that Ananna even recognizes that her feelings for Naji have turned romantic, which was so nice. I can see other readers not being so keen on the slow burn, but that’s the kind of romance I prefer. The only problem I have with the romance is that it just kind of… popped up at the end of the book. There wasn’t really much build up – to friendship, yes, but not to romance.

The ending of this book was really disappointing. It ended very abruptly, with no real climax or resolution. It just… ended. I think it would have made a lot more sense, considering that it’s a two-book series, for the publisher’s to package it as a solitary book. It wasn’t like The Assassin’s Curse was particularly long to begin with, so it could have worked. It would definitely have been more satisfying, considering I don’t feel like I got any kind of closure at the end of this book.

This book was fun, but it wasn’t particularly memorable, nor did it meet the hopes I had for it. I may or may not read the sequel, but I found the poor pacing and stereotypical characters trying. It was a quick read, but it didn’t grab my heart. I have no emotional attachment to Ananna and Naji whatsoever, and that’s a big disappointment. I simply don’t much care what happens to them.

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