The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose ClarkeMy rating: Fantasy
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
A fantasy adventure with pirates and assassins? Yes, it's fairly safe to say that I knew I'd love this book before I even opened it, but I'm pleased to say that I wasn't disappointed. If anything, I loved it even more than I expected to.
Ananna grew up on her father's pirate ship, dreaming of becoming captain of her own vessel one day, but that's not how things work in her world. Instead, as a girl, she's expected to wed for political expediency. Ananna's having none of that, and instead makes a break for it on her own - causing her jilted groom to send an assassin after her.
It's when young assassin Naji turns up that things get really interesting, and not just because he can perform dangerous blood magic and vanish into the shadows. While he's thinking about maybe killing her, she saves his life, kicking off an ancient curse which means he's bound to take care of her in return. Forever. And since Ananna is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, this doesn't exactly feel like an improvement in her situation.
The story gripped me from the beginning and I didn't want to put the book down. The way Ananna and Naji navigate the tricky waters of their enforced relationship is sweet and convincing, and meanwhile, there's no shortage of adventure as they try to break the curse.
The novel is narrated entirely in first person, in Ananna's chatty and informal style, which works really well, while still being a very easy read. I can't wait for the next one, as this is clearly just the beginning - there are three "impossible" challenges yet to be faced down before Ananna and Naji can be free.