Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publication Date: 10/2/12
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Blurb(GR): 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.
Do you love Grave Mercy, Blood Red Road, or The Bloody Jack series? Then you need to read this book.
Do you like Grave Mercy, but wish it had more actual murder and a less prim heroine?
Do you like Blood Red Road but wish it had a plot that actually made sense?
Do you like Jacky Faber, but wish she would just grow up already?
Then you definitely need to read this book.
This book is an absolutely entertaining, fun ride that swept me up onto the back of a stolen camel and never let me go. I finished it in one day and it was one of those completely pleasurable, huge-grin-on-my-face reading experiences.
I almost didn’t request this book, because I’ve been disappointed so many times by “this type of book.” You know what I mean – fun, romantic adventure stories that inevitably have idiotic love interests or wimpy/spineless heroines, unbelievable happily ever afters, or all the other things that have prejudiced me against reading romance over the years. Or else they’re fun, romantic fantasy stories with black villains and shallow world-building. Thankfully, I am able to accidentally move past my own stupidity every once in a while and give one of “these books” a chance. And every once in a while, I am very pleasantly surprised.
I actually requested this for a very random reason: the author’s name is weirdly close to the name I was born with and had for the first 24 years of my life. Plus, there’s just something about girl pirates that will always pique my interest. This book did not disappoint. Ananna is smart, tough, practical, and resourceful. She’s no shrinking violet, although she is realistically young in a few hilarious ways. She's not a gorgeous knock-out who thinks she's plain. She actually spends the majority of this book in men's clothes. Her voice is a complete delight to read, but more than that - she feels like a real person.
Ananna wants nothing more than to be the captain of her own pirate ship and sail off into the sunset. Unfortunately, her parents have other ideas: they've already arranged for her to marry the son of another pirate family. Ananna wants none of it, so she escapes on the day of her betrothal by making use of the thieving and trickery she's been specializing in since toddler-hood. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get far before a powerful Assassin, hired by the jilted groom’s family, tracks her down.
Naji, the dark Assassin, mysteriously scarred and covered in magical tattoos, trained in blood magic, is a fantastic love interest. He’s quiet and flawed and willing to let Ananna fight her own battles. He’s no controlling macho-man and he doesn’t instantly fall head over heels for the heroine. Quite the contrary, in fact - he seems to be completely oblivious to her as a woman, which is hilarious. Nevertheless, these two have great chemistry and so obviously complement each other that it’s just delicious waiting for them to figure it out.
My one criticism is that this book is so short and there are so many things left to be explained – it feels unfinished. It feels like half of a book. When I got to 95%, 96%, 97%...and realized that this was going to end soon with so much left unexplained and unresolved, I felt a bit…FURIOUS, actually. Damn it, waiting a whole year to have any resolution between these two is probably going to kill me. Don’t read this if, like my friend Heidi, you prefer not to be left high and dry.
Perfect Musical Pairing
Heart – What About Love?