The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke: review

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How good is The Assassin’s Curse? It’s so good I read it in a day!

The Assassin’s Curse is an otherworld fantasy story that can hold its own with the best of the genre. The Assassin’s Curse has about it the feel of Robin Hobb – although this instalment is shorter than one of a Robin Hobb trilogy, however, I suspect that there will be four or five books in this series (if you read The Assassin’s Curse, let me know if you agree!). Since I really want to know what happens next and how Ananna and Naji deal with the challenges they’ve been given, I shall be keeping a watch on Strange Chemistry’s blog for the next in series, although since The Assassin’s Curse isn’t released until October 2012, I suspect I will have a bit of a wait!

The story begins with our heroine running away from her betrothing ceremony – and I can’t say I blame her. Thus begin her adventures and her meeting with the eponymous assassin. One of the things that I particularly liked was that  it has a strong female lead. It’s funny how fantasy books much more often have strong, independent female leads than a number of other genres. Perhaps that’s why I’ve read fantasy (and Sci-Fi) books since I was a girl. One of my favourite authors was Andre Norton; Ms Clarke is most definitely in Ms Norton’s league.

The adventures the pair of unwilling co-travellers share follow logically from one to another, although there were a few points when I felt there was a tad too much running around without purpose and without Ananna and Naji growing further. I think there may have been some over-exuberant editing or revising around the storm sequence, since the plot progression got a little mushy around there. For me, a veteran of many sail-era naval novels, the lack of detail in, and slightly inaccurate, telling of the actions on board ship (I am being intentionally vague to avoid giving any of the story away) was a minor irritation – a very minor one. I would have liked more details about the Isles of the Sky – my mental pictures there was rather sketchy.

The telling of the developing relationship between Ananna and Naji is mostly well done – and I enjoyed that it is not too much of a formulaic romance. All of the characters are well drawn and believable. I hope we meet the wizard again – he is a character with much potential.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Assassin’s Curse and found the standard of world building by Ms Clarke to be well executed. I would have liked a little more detail on the various peoples and their cultures & religions to be worked into the tale. Had the book been somewhat longer, this and the other additions I have mentioned could have been included. The key to adding these details is to do it as part of the story and not for the author to tell the reader directly. I suspect that the publishers, Strange Chemistry, have a standrd format in which they publish and that the books they publish are edited to this format. I hope that as time goes by, they are able to offer a range of book formats (i.e. lengths).

I really liked the cover…the script’s font and the skyline are reminiscent of ancient Arabia and get the reader in the right frame of mind for the world they are about to visit.

I think this is a debut novel for Cassandra Rose Clarke and I have great hopes for her future books.

I thank Strange Chemistry for my opportunity to read The Assassin’s Curse, as a NetGalley ARC for kindle. I also thank them for introducing me to a new (to me) author. Details of the release dates for The Assassin’s Curse can be found in my WOW post.

_._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._

View all my Goodreads reviews

I’m claiming this book as No. 121/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge; and No. 6 in the First in Series Reading challenge..
[All links in right hand sidebar]

I particularly liked was that

Advertisements

5 responses to “The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke: review

  1. I hope there isn’t four or five books in the series. I agree with most of your assessment. For me, it was missing that “ommphf” to wow me. It teetered there but never fully fell over. I think it was the weaker world building as you suggested and the author distancing readers when readers are on the verge of getting close to the characters.

    • My thinking is that TAC is the introduction, there will be one book each for the challenges and then a concluding volume in which they finally “get it together”!
      I think a trilogy with Intro & Challenge 1, Challenge 2, and then Challenge 3 & resolution would look less commercially minded…
      I wonder how much my reaction is based on the other books I’ve read recently. I liked the shape of TAC’s storyline and it was nicely paced, but edited to fit the format and I think that removed a lot of the depth for which I (and you, I guess) was looking.

      • That makes sense in dividing up the challenges, but they have to have enough meat to spread it that far and personally, I don’t see it. Hopefully, it turns out well with whatever happens.

        Did they really edit the book to fit publishing format? That’s kind of unheard of for me. But anything is possible. Books should be edited to sound/read better but never to fit a certain publishing length. It’s sad.

        • Just my suspicion – but have you never wondered why M&B books are all ~220 pages, and certain other books all the same length (within ~10 pages?) It’s got to make life easier at the binders…LOL

  2. I haven’t not until you mentioned it and you are completely right… it is suspicious… haha

... and Over To You

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s