Next up: “The Assassin’s Curse” and “The Pirate’s Wish” by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
There are also two short stories in the same world, about a different character: “The Automaton’s Treasure” and “The Witch’s Betrayal.”
Ananna is the daughter of successful pirates, and she fully intends on becoming a successful pirate captain as well. Unfortunately, her parents have other plans for her. Namely, marriage to the son of an ally pirate clan. Ananna finds her intended to be an incompetent, untrustworthy creature and refuses to be his second-in-command rather than a captain in her own right… so she runs away. But her intended’s clan is furious at her insult to them, and they hire an assassin to teach her a lesson.
When the assassin, Naji, catches her, she accidentally triggers a curse, which binds the two of them together. Now they must work together as they solve the riddles and complete the tasks that will release them from the curse, all while avoiding the personal enemies that dog each of their steps.
The story is fairly unique. Though some aspects are very predictable (of course they start liking each other and of course there are things that stand in their way), I found myself unable to predict where the story would take Naji and Ananna next. It was entertaining in that. The world was a little bit “Sinbad the Sailor”-esque; not a type of fantasy world that I see very often. I think this contributed to the unique feel of the books.
The writing was okay. It’s from the POV of Ananna, and there is a haphazard attempt at giving her a pirate-y accent– largely poor grammar. It’s unfortunately kind of annoying, and oddly spotty in terms of consistency. It wasn’t enough to make me stop reading, though.
The characters… Ananna was a bit annoying to me. There were times when I just wanted to shake her “stop being belligerent and exercise some common sense!” She does grow over the course of the two books, and there were times when I wanted to high-five her, so it wasn’t all bad. It still drives me insane when people decide to do something because someone else told them to do the opposite. “Cut off your nose to spite your face,” as it were.
The story is okay, and I was interested to see where the adventure took the characters, but I was never gripped with an urgent need. It was fine, but nothing earth-shattering.