by Cassandra Rose Clarke
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Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn't really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.
To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks--all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic...and the growing romantic tension between them.
First of all : I’ve always been a sucker for pirates.
Humm. Nah. Not those ones
*blush* Okay I must confess, I loved the first two too.
Guybrush Threepwood powaaaa!
Moreover, I have enough emphasized my taste for independent and courageous heroines.
So here’s my reaction when I read the summarize : a pirate heroine? A curse? Several tasks to perform? an assassin who wants to kill her?
And as if that were not enough, I read : “The assassins were blood magicians in addition to skilled fighters.”
OK. Where can I throw my money?
Here I am. If you’re not as excited as I was, perhaps you won’t think like me.
“I ain’t so heartless I’m gonna let someone be struck down with pain on account of me. Even if that someone is a murderer and a liar. Hell, murderers and liars used to sing me to sleep.”
Welcome to Lisirra, desert city, where we meet Ananna of Tanarau, only child from Tanarau’s family and whose parents decided to marry her to Tarrin of Hairiri in order to form an alliance with his family. And the least one can say is our heroine isn’t pleased by the fate her parents chose for her. Like, not at all.
Her only option? To escape.
“[Papa] wasn’t never one to miss an opportunity, and I am nothing if not my father’s daughter. Even if the bastard did want to marry me off.”
This is where our journey starts. That’s gonna be awesome.
1) The characters : I couldn’t start my review without talking about Ananna. The heroine of our story. The true heroine. What I mean is, we often find ourselves stuck with a main character who only turns out to be our window into the story, the eyes and the heart by whom we perceive events. That’s not the case here. Of course Ananna is the narrator of the story, but not only : she lives it, she transformes it, she owns it, in a word : she’s freaking heroic. I admire her . That’s simple, her caustic wit and repartee won me from the first line. Pretty rare, isn’t it? That’s utterly wonderful to follow the story in her point of vue : her digressions are hilarious, she thinks before acting (I know!!!) and seriously, we can’t help but care for her. Although her ethics derive from pirates lessons. Or maybe because of it, actually. Lessons we can’t help but learn with a huge smile on our face, as the entire world created by the author seems true. No paper mache decor as a stooge of any Romeo and Juliet operetta here. Nah nah : aventure, I said.
“Fortunately, Mama and Papa never much went in for things like that. They always taught me that honor was best defined on a case-by-case basis.”
So, as you may have noticed, with her humor and her knife, Ananna won a place in my favorite heroines of all times list, with Meda and Alex. Because she knows how to fight. And rule a ship. And construct shelters. But I must stop here, or I might overshadow Naji, the famous assassin, who would have much to learn from our little pirate. But I’m coming to that.
“Some people, soldiers especially, make a big deal about their swords, and you can get ’em to talk about the things forever. Never been one for that sort of thing myself. A weapon’s a weapon.“
Ah, Naji, you don’t know who you’re dealing with when you meet Ananna.
Don’t be fooled though : I strongly loved his character. He’s mysterious, unable to open to others, reckless, grumpy, he knows how to handle a sword – and magic, to sum up, he’s a real assassin. Besides he’s funny in… humm… his own way I guess – that is to say, without intending to be. The only thing is – *sigh*, that would be sooo cool he acknowledges the fact he would have been lost without Ananna. Several times. And I’m okay with it, but I’d have loved he admitted it.
A little bit, at least?
But where I have to thank the author, warmly, that’s for the absolutely perfect way she manages the relationship between our two heroes. Because now that I finished my reading, I can admit I was afraid our assassin wouldn’t be able to kill Ananna because of, you know, love at first sigh. Can you believe it? That’s not the case here, and their relationship evolution is really remarkable and credible, involving the reader from the very beginning.
Because come on, an assassin is an assassin, right? If he doesn’t even try to fulfill his task because of some woman’s beauty, he’s not really an assassin, right?
Nah. He’d be a moron with a sword.
So see, Naji, even if you need Ananna, you’re still super awesome. Loyal. Adorable. And that’s a true pleasure to see your shells breaking, even if it takes a ridiculous amount of time. After all, you’re a freakin’ assassin.
“Um… I’m sorry?” I waited for a few minutes, watching him. Then I asked, “Are you going to kill me or what?”
2) The plot : Aventure, do you want aventure? You won’t be disappointed. The pace never slows down, and we are immediately drawn into this infernal race in which our heroes are thrown against their will. The world building is created with such talent – I’m always there. Actually I’m waiting on an island, to be clear. But that’s another story. The writing style is catchy, and as I said earlier, the twists aren’t created to showcase a love story. How refreshing is that? You might not believe me, but there is a real plot here. You heard me. Exciting, filled with magic, fights, a beautiful witch who annoyed me something fierce, mysterious creatures from another world and pirate’s life.
How could I not fall in love with that book?