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.
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Published by: Strange Chemistry
Published by: Strange Chemistry
Review Copy: Paperback, 320 pages
(copy received from publisher for honest review)
This was a page turner for sure and I'm not sure why I hadn't heard of it sooner to be honest. Though I guess it is from a newer indie publisher but if they keep up with these books it wont be that for long. This book was like nothing I had read before and Ms. Clarke touched something not many YA authors do: Pirates. Now after reading this I'm not sure why there isn't more out there and in fact I am sending a message out to authors: Write more YA with pirates in it!!
Ananna wants nothing to do with marriage, especially if it means giving up her dreams. She wont deny that Tarrin is gorgeous but she's never trusted beautiful things and she's not going to start now. Her escape comes with a great burden though: her life. The assassin's are things of nightmares and stories told late at night or so Ananna thought. When faced with death she does the unimaginable, she saves it. Naji is now cursed to help her, to protect her but this itself comes with a price. The freedom that Ananna thought she had just got more complicated than she could have ever imagined.
What really made this book so spectacular was the world. The pirates, the witches, the warlocks and assassin's. It's both a world of the practical and the magical. Best part about it is that it's not a book where the main character becomes special by acquiring magic from all of the elements. In fact Ananna doesn't believe she has any. Everyone seems to have their own kind of magic: dirt, water (I'm sure there is air and fire though you don't hear of it) and blood magic for the assassin's. It's also great in the sense that there are different lords for pirates. Think Pirates of the Caribbean when all those different captains come together. All in all a unique and fun new world.
I am just going to be honest with you here. Ananna has just become one of my favourite YA girls. I hope that this book gets more notice and she gets more recognition because she deserves it. She is independent feisty and full of determination! She did what she felt needed to be done to get what she wanted but she also didn't want to hurt anyone to get there. Don't get me wrong if that's what it took the girl would fight. I'm not sure that there is anything about her that is weak. She was a daughter of a pirate after all, she had many different talents. She knew how to use a sword/knife, the tricks of removing things from vendors and basically all basic survival, which is impressive considering her age. Basically what I am trying to say is that I loved her and I don't really have any issues with her.
Naji was also something else. He is an assassin but he seems to be more than that. Though he is cursed to protect Ananna he takes the job extremely serious. This may be due to the pain it causes him when she is injured but I think it's more than that. He is a man of few words but his actions speak louder than anything. All of the death he has seen and dealt seems to have hardened him but who is going to blame him. He isn't one to smile but there are other things that I find really endearing. There is parts where it is said his mouth may not be smiling but you see it in his eyes. Naji is now one of my book boyfriends for sure. I love him in all his quiet, stubborn and ninja like glory.
It's hard to decide if there is any romance or not. Well I mean there is but it isn't this huge part of anything. Ananna finds herself falling for Naji but it doesn't seem to be reciprocated. Even then to start she didn't feel that way. He is beautiful in his own way but he also has scars that take some it away. Though Ananna doesn't seem to be bothered by them. Naji on the other hand doesn't seem to see her. There were moments where I thought that maybe he did but they were far and few between. They are also taken away by his seeming infatuation with someone else. I do have hopes that it will change especially with the revolution that comes about.
I am seriously dying to get my hands on the next installment. I love how unique the story is and how strong the characters are. Ms. Clarke has created such a fun and different world that it is hard to resist. It is full of action and mystery from start to finish. Well written and entertaining this is a book that should be picked up, it's the start of an engaging series that I will be sure to pick up.
I wasn't sure about the gods, since they didn't do much to make themselves known, but Papa used to swear that Kaol always looked out for her children, and that was why a pirate ship could sail through a typhoon unharmed when a navy boat couldn't.
"Yeah, hopefully I didn't just double the curse." The irony of me saving his life a second time hadn't been lost on me.
"What kind of vows?" Celibacy? I thought, though I didn't say it. Nobody keeps a celibacy vow anyway.
"Well, look who's on my front porch," he said, speaking Empire with this odd hissing accent. "A murderer and a cross-dressing pirate."