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The Assassin's Curse - Cassandra Rose Clarke I started the book and within the first 50-60 pages, I was ticked off. So, I took a break to watch "Singin' in the Rain," came back relaxed and refreshed, and finished it. :)

Characters: Ananna says she can take care of herself quite often. Her impulsive behavior and seeming lack of thought and foresight belied the same just as often. I had neither attachment to nor sympathy for her. Too many bad decisions, especially for a pirate, piled up. The ninja like, blood magic wielding Naji should have been really cool. Ninja shadow magic, right? Honestly, though, he was a little too busy wallowing in self-pity, self-loathing, and a Beauty & the Beast complex (the Beast part). That, or he was in a magic trance doing nothing. No other characters stuck around long enough for me to form an attachment.

Romance: Nothing major happens, but there are references to appearance and warm fuzzies here and there. By end of book, Ananna has admitted to herself that she loves him.

Plot: Ananna, daughter of a pirate captain, is supposed to marry Tarrin, spoiled son of another pirate captain. She runs away, not believing Tarrin's threat of assassins should she refuse him. His family sends an assassin. And from there things get ... interesting, including but not limited to the assassin falling prey to a curse that binds him to Ananna, proximity and health-wise. A number of the plot devices were borderline cliche, and explanations that might have saved them did not come until several chapters down the road on average. I had limited knowledge to begin and long stretches of not knowing anything about what or why things were happening. It almost read as though the author had said, I want this to happen here and this here, then added in explanations/motivations for these actions later on when something popped into her head. The pace increased after a fifth of the book or so.

Writing: The narrative was in first person from Ananna's point of view, and I feel the story suffered badly for it. The voice and diction was supposed to be that of some fantasy world Middle Eastern/Mediterranean pirate. I had difficulty reading the accent/voice as such and had to channel Jack Sparrow. Recurring uses of particular (incorrect) grammar, along with certain obscenities, pulled me further out of the pirate voice. In fact, these instances reminded me more of a Southern or hick accent. On a separate note, the world of the book was not fleshed out enough for me.

Conclusion: Spoilerish. After making their way through dangers untold, to foil a curse that has them in hold, an impossible answer in the form of three tasks, appears while our heroes in non-danger bask. (Random rhyme time.) For me, it wasn't much of an ending, not even much of a climax. It just dumps you at the end and is an obvious setup for the next book.

Final Thoughts: I wanted to like this book. The synopsis sounded interesting; the book cover was cool, if not the most pirate-y. What went wrong? To sum it up, the author had a bunch of good ideas, but I think she went for too much too fast, and it didn't play out well for me.