The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
What this book is about (if you haven’t read The Assassin’s Curse already, this review will contain spoilers):
After Ananna and Naji are told the three impossible tasks that they need to do to get rid of the curse that bonds them together in quite an unpleasant manner, they are still stranded in the Isles of the Sky. While they are waiting and hoping that Marjani will come and rescue them, Ananna makes acquaintance with a big, dangerous creature who eats men, a manticore. And guess what is the manticore’s most gourmet dish..A Jadorr’a assassin of course! So how do you get the three impossible tasks done with the help of a manticore who wants to devour you?
Let me start by saying that I liked this book more than The Assassin’s Curse, so even though it’s not possible here on Goodreads, in my head it earned the 2.5 star rating (I’m sorry I just can’t go more than 2.5, it’s not fair to the other books). This story was like a fairytale for adults. The classic “we-have-to-get-three-tasks-done-while-some-very-mean-people-want-to-kill-us-and-some-others-want-to-help-us-and-at-the-same-time-we-are-falling-in-love” theme with the addition of some adult aspects that you don’t find in fairytales very often like sex, violent scenes (well not that violent) and some gay characters. And some swearing.
I loved him more fiercely than I’d love anyone. But he didn’t love me back.
So what did I like about this book? First of all, it was way more fun than the first one. I was always a fan of fairytales since I was a kid. I enjoyed listening to a story that had a specific plot of an adventure that leads to an end goal with some difficulties in the middle that of course ends in “and they lived happily ever after”. The Pirate’s Wish was one of these kind of stories. Moreover, there were a few lines during conversations that I found funny (like one or two but still!). The way the characters spoke to each other was like watching contemporary people of modern society speak to each other while knowing that you are in a fantastical world of magic where no one should say things like that. So even though the conversations sometimes really didn’t fit with the atmosphere and the ambiance of the novel, they were quite funny.
I stopped. “Groom?” There I went, making deals with a manticore again.
“Aye. Brush my mane and coat, and pull the thorns from my feet.”
“That all? You want me to wipe your ass, too?”
“Don’t be crude, girl-human.”
“I’m just checking on the particulars before I agree to anything.”
Another aspect of the book that I appreciated from the author was the introduction of queer characters. People who identify as LGBTQ+ should exist in every single story because it makes a book more realistic. We don’t live in an only straight universe. Moreover, I enjoyed the portrait of Ananna who was a very straight girl who wanted to be a pirate, wear men’s clothes and fight in battles, while the one lesbian character was the opposite of Ananna, all fancy and delicate, wearing dresses and having proper manners and what not. I like watching stereotypes being burnt to the ground in books.
“Love is a wound,” the assassin said. “Neither life nor death.”
But even though I found this second part of the duology more pleasant than the first, I still had many issues with it. The world building was almost non existent, to begin with. Cassandra Rose Clarke had a great conception of a magical world and since we’re talking about a fantasy book, I believe that 200 pages could have been added to create a more vivid and prominent picture of what this conception looks like. I don’t enjoy the sloppy description of: okay, that’s where our characters are now and that’s how this place roughly looks. This is an aspect of the YA genre and I personally don’t like seeing it in YA fantasy books.
“Manticores with love spells,” Marjani said. “Well, that’s awfully terrifying.”
Another big disappointment for me (which will contradict what I said in the paragraphs above) was that I was reading a fairytale. I mean..yeah, it was pleasant, it had some funny moments. But the plot was too simplistic and the ending was completely predictable. You might say that I knew I was getting into this kind of story before I opened the book, but I can still express my thoughts about it. Just because we are reading a short YA fantasy book doesn’t mean that my expectations have to follow a specific schedule. This book didn’t surprise me, didn’t “wow” me, didn’t really do anything to me. It just kept me company for a few hours.
“That don’t make sense.”
“Of course not,” he said. “It’s magic.”
Anyway, the point is that the second book – at least for me – was better than the first. If you enjoyed The Assassin’s Curse I think you will enjoy The Pirate’s Wish even more. It’s definitely a step up. If you enjoy YA books or YA fantasy books I believe this is a book for you. It’s a nice, fun adventure, romance story. If you are more into fantasy books you might still like it but it’s definitely not Tolkien or George R. R. Martin type of story.
You can click here for my review of the first book The Assassin’s Curse.
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