The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Book Review)

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What this book is about:

Ananna of the Tanarau is the daughter of a captain and belongs to a famous pirate clan. Or rather was until she decided to break her family’s vows to marry Tarrin, the son of another pirate of another clan. The day of the wedding Ananna decides to make a break for it and run away. But Tarrin’s clan won’t have it and sends an assassin after her. As if Ananna didn’t have enough troubles already, while facing the assassin she accidentally activates a curse that binds them together. Now Naji, the assassin, has to protect Ananna’s life if he wishes to remain alive while they travel in search of a cure to the curse.

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So, here’s the thing with me and fantasy books. First of all, fantasy is my favourite genre. Thus it’s usually not very hard to please me when it comes to high fantasy or epic fantasy books. But when I read my fantasy, I am expecting to get the full deal out of it. The extended, complicated world building, the massive paragraphs of descriptions of events and scenery, the complex, multilayered characters and their cryptic or meaningful conversations. That’s what I love about fantasy. I love reading about new creatures and adventures and I love exploring a fantastical “earth” where everything is new. That’s what makes it different from the fiction genre. In all these aspects, this book was just okay in my opinion.

She moved like water, graceful and soft and lovely. Every part of me wanted to stick out my foot and trip her, just to see her stumble.

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Let me explain myself a bit clearer. This was a book of less than 300 pages with quite a big letter font printed on small-sized pages. As you can gather, there were no lengthy descriptions like the ones mentioned above. There was barely any world building. We only got the absolute necessary explanations that one needs to complete a novel and understand what happened. To get a small taste let’s say. Basically, Cassandra Rose Clarke gave us some sketches but the world had to be mostly imagined and constructed by the reader. If I had to characterise this book I would call it a marriage or a hybrid between YA contemporary and fantasy but not a young adult fantasy.

You don’t realise how much you miss something till it comes back to you, and then you wonder how you went so long without it

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Back to my YA contemporary x fantasy argument. This book deals with two main characters and three side characters that play small parts in the story, unlike fantasy books but much like contemporary books. Moreover, the whole story – while a journey across a land where magic and strange creature exist – mostly revolves around the relationship between Ananna and Naji, their arguments, jealousy and bond. There are no complicated characters and serious conversations which is a bummer – for me at least. Naji is a badass assassin who is not so badass after all and Ananna is a badass girl pirate who again is not so badass, much like Naji. Every basic element of fantasy that I personally enjoy was missing from this book. What bugged me the most was how vague the whole plot, back stories and world were. This book has quite an interesting premise and I wish the author had exploited this more by lengthening it and crafting it with more complexity. Just build this world you have imagined and let us see it!

He smelled like magic and sweat and the sea, but there was something else beneath all that, something sweet and warm like honey, and just for a moment I didn’t feel afraid anymore.

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Despite all the things I mentioned above, my opinions on what is a fun fantasy book are not shared by a lot of people and I can definitely see how this book could appeal to many readers. First of all, it’s quite pleasant to read since as I already mentioned a hundred times before, it’s not complicated, but also it’s funny and it offers a nice little story with fun characters to follow. Moreover, it is perfect for anyone who unlike me, doesn’t enjoy lengthy books and chunky paragraphs of vast descriptions but prefers a more quick and light read. Plus, the YA contemporary element that I mentioned above takes this book to another level of appeal to non-fantasy readers which is pretty cool.

Beautiful people, things are too easy for them. They don’t know how to survive in this world. Somebody’s ugly, or even plain, normal-looking, that means they got to work twice as hard for things. For anything. Just to get people to listen to ’em, or take ’em serious. So yeah. I don’t trust beautiful people.

All in all, this is a pleasant, quick and simple book marrying two big genres, fantasy and YA contemporary. I would recommend it, thus, to anyone who enjoys YA literature, adventure stories and characters who get into each other’s nerves all the time. But if you are a hardcore fantasy fan of Tolkien, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin, etc. you will probably not be very satisfied with this book.

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