The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse #1) by Cassandra Rose ClarkePublisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: 2nd Octorber, 2012
Rating: 3.5 stars
Firstly, thanks to Angry Robot for letting me read and review this ARC of The Assassin's Curse on NetGalley.
I was really excited to find out about this book and when I got this ARC, I went straight to read it. But as soon as I started, I found myself slightly confused about the writing style and setting for this book, as well as what age it was intended for. It was a really olden day kind of style of writing but some of the things mentioned in it was also kind of modern. So I was really confused at first. The language used at the beginning also struck me as rather simple and childish.
Still, I continued reading it and in fact did find this book as funny and entertaining. The plot got better as it progressed. I really enjoyed having a pirate girl as the main character; she was strong, skillful and knows when to do certain things and when she should keep her mouth shut (unlike a lot of immature YA main female characters I had come across). I also got used to the strange language and its faults, I have to say: I didn't want to put it down until I finished, the story pushed me forward to flip each page for more of Ananna and Naji's turbulent and exhilarating adventures. This really surprised me, because usually if I didn't like a particular writing style I would not want to continue the book.
Despite the weird feeling Clarke's writing style of the book gave me, I have to admit that to keep the whole book in such a type of writing is quite hard to do and I give her credit for that. It reminded me of the writing style of the book Chime by Franny Billingsley. Unlike Chime, which I didn't really like and couldn't get used to its strange feeling of the placing of the words, the more I read the more I liked Clarke's writing. It seemed like a combination of the older English with the ragged language of pirates and other lower society slangs, but I can't be sure, I will have to ask Clarke about it!
Many parts of the story was entertaining and funny, especially when Ananna initially met Naji, but some parts of the story were meaningful at the same time. I learnt a lot more about pirates after reading this book and by the end of it, sort of figured out the time and setting of the story. Still slightly confused though. Because I couldn't connect with the character through this style of writing, I couldn't feel a lot of the characters' emotions and couldn't think in their place, for this I didn't enjoy this book as much as I might have otherwise. Naji seemed a particular puzzling character and I'm not even sure if I really like him all that much. He seemed so opposite to Ananna and I ended up wondering what he really thought half of the time (the book was written in first person perspective of Ananna). The plot was a bit dragging and slow in the middle, and not much happened in this whole book. The story was actually quite different from its synopsis and I found myself slightly disappointed at that and the lack of real substance at times.
Overall, the story was simple and sort of child-like, maybe written for readers a few years younger than myself, between Year 7-Year 9? But it was still entertaining and kept me wanting to read it (quite an accomplishment for this book) and I would really like to read the next book when it comes out next year to see whether it would be the same style of writing, if it has improved and whether the plot will be more mature. I do enjoy pirate stories and hope that Ananna continue to be sensible and fiery at the same time!
Ananna of the Tanarau is the eldest daughter of a highly-ranked family in the loose assortment of cutthroats and thieves in the Pirate's Confederation. When she runs away from the marriage her parents have arranged for her, they hire Naji the assassin to murder her.
When a mysterious woman in a dress shop offers her magical assistance for dealing with the assassin, Ananna accepts. She never went in much for magic herself -- she lacks the talent for it -- but she's not quite ready to die yet, either. Unfortunately, the woman's magic fails.
Fortunately, Ananna inadvertently saves the assassin's life in the skirmish, thus activating a curse that had been placed on him a few years earlier. Now, whenever her life is in danger, he must protect her -- or else he experiences tremendous physical pain. Neither Ananna nor the assassin, Naji, are pleased about this development.
Follow Ananna and Naji as they sail across the globe, visiting such mysterious places as the Court of Salt and Waves, in their desperate effort to lift the curse. Soon they will discover that only by completing three impossible tasks will they be able to set themselves free.