Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publication Date: 6/4/2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Blurb(GR): After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
Above all else, this is a pretty satisfying conclusion to a story that began not so long ago with one runaway pirate bride on a camel. I thought I would have to wait a whole year to find out how the dreaded Assassin’s Curse was dealt with, but lo – the internet is generous to me. I read this book in about four noncontiguous hours of metro riding and would have happily holed up with it somewhere if I’d had the chance. It was a quick, enjoyable read. However, this second installment was not as enjoyable as the first for me, for a variety of reasons.
This second half of the duology starts off pretty much exactly where the first left us – with Ananna and Naji trapped on a mysterious magical island and bound by an impossible curse. As with all impossible curses, the cure involves three impossible feats – one of which is true love’s first kiss (naturally!). Poor, scrappy Ananna knows that it would be all too easy to complete that particular feat, but Naji is still delightfully clueless about her feelings. However, once a rather feisty manticore enters the picture, bent on curing Naji so she can have a tasty meal of non-cursed blood magician meat, things really get cracking.
I went into this thing expecting the final resolution (and mostly the kiss) to get pushed off (realistically or artificially – by any means necessary) until the very end. After all, the romance novels I know and sometimes love are notorious for dragging out final declarations and for placing undue emphasis on THE FIRST KISS. Here is how the average plot structure of a romance novel looks like to me:
I must say that I was shocked when that didn’t happen! I have to give Clarke major kudos for punching my expectations in the face and surprising me many times in this book. I mean, not only did she give me yet another talking cat (close enough) for my collection, she let the heroine claim the first kiss in the beginning chapters AND learn to be an independent badass lady by the end of the book. However, weirdly enough I think that some of the things I admired about the book’s nonconformity to romance novel standards actually ended up lessening my overall enjoyment of the book. The plot of The Pirate’s Wish felt something like this:
However, I did really like that the ending was left open and only partially resolved and I also liked the lack of a completely gushy-mushy HEA slash epilogue. This was a bit of a let-down for me after the brilliance of The Assassin’s Curse, but it was still a fun ride.
Perfect Musical Pairing
Heart - I Didn't Want to Need You