Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)Title: The Assassin's Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Assassin's Curse
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure

A Quick Introduction: When seventeen-year-old pirate Ananna flees an arranged marriage, she figures the threat of her betrothed's family sending an assassin after her is empty. After all, they're only stories. That is, until they actually follow through on it, and she accidentally activates a curse that binds her would-be killer to her, forcing him to protect her. Reluctantly, they become travelling companions, searching for a way to break the curse so that both of their lives can go back to normal.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: An enjoyable adventure, though with some flaws in world-building and some weakness in character development and relationships.

Review: Can we talk about the over for a moment? Let's. I like this cover, I think it speaks to some of the elements of the story, without directly saying it, and the font is lovely. This is how you make a cover.

This book kind of came right up the middle for me. Good enough to be engaging, but nothing that blew me away. One of my main issues was that I just wasn't fully immersed in the world. At best, I made superficial connections to it, there just wasn't enough of it. The information about the world was conveyed mainly through the narrator telling everything to the reader, which, in this case, served to jolt me out of the story somewhat. (Hint: maps. A picture is worth a thousand words).The elements of the world just somehow didn't feel cohesive, it was as if various fictional creatures were just thrown is as they occurred to the author rather than enmeshed in the world completely. The magic system was explained fairly well, and as it is fairly conventional, that was all of the explanation needed.

Pulling me out of the story was probably the other flaw that kept me from being completely engaged- in both the information being provided and in the language. It's a nitpick-y little thing, but the language was generally very modern, though the world felt historical. I know this is a fantasy novel, however some of the more modern language felt stilted and somewhat inconsistent when juxtaposed onto a historically-inspired world.

This is told in first person, by Ananna. I didn't really love her as a person, but she is certainly a flawed, multi-faceted character. Two things that bothered me about her were that she is impulsive and prejudice, she tends to judge based on appearance first. Some of her choices drove me slightly mad... (if you got attacked the first two times you went outside unprotected, what do you expect to happen the third time?). I think it was the not learning from mistakes that bothered me more. It led to her feeling somewhat static as a character at times. Her companion is an assassin who was sent to killer her after she fled the marriage, until she accidentally bound him to her by saving his life. Now he's stuck protecting her until they can figure out how to break the curse. I still feel like I don't know terribly much about him, and that prevented me from connecting to his character at all. This meant that I struggled a bit with the romance aspect at times, as if felt like Ananna didn't really know him either.

Despite the fact that I struggled with connecting to the characters and wasn't fully immersed in the wold all of the time, I still found this a fast-paced and fairly enjoyable read, and have also read the second part of the duology The Pirate's Wish.

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