by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Read: June 2-3 2013
Published: June 4, 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Category: Fantasy, Pirates, YA
Series: The Assassin's Curse, book 2
Note: The Pirate's Wish is the second in a two book series. See my review for The Assassin's Curse, HERE. If you've yet to start the series, check out the last paragraph in this review to see how I'd recommend it. The rest of my thoughts are a bit spoilery for the first book, especially The Set-Up paragraph.
Description: After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction. (From Goodreads)
Aren't these covers pretty together? Also, I'm very happy that duologies are becoming a trend, because it's easier to wait for one more book, than two. This is also the first series I officially finished for the Summer Series Challenge! YAY for that. Unfortunately, I liked The Assassin's Curse much better than The Pirate's Wish.
If you don't remember what happened in The Assassin's Curse: Ananna is a pirate princess who was married off to a member of a rival clan. Only she didn't want to be married to him (plus she distrusts beautiful people and he was very pretty), so she ran away. That made her betrothed's family angry. To retaliate, they sent an assassin after her. Except when the assassin Naji finally caught up to Ananna, things didn't go as planned for either of them. Instead of an assassination they were cursed so that Naji would have to protect Ananna with his life. If she's in danger, he feels pain. The rest of the story is about the two of them dealing with the aftermath. Navigating an awkward dynamic because they're connected although they don't know or like each other, and trying to figure out how to break the curse. There's also lot traveling and pirating that makes the story a fun adventure tale. At the end of book 1, Ananna and Naji discover that there are three impossible tasks that Naji must complete to break the curse. Then the book ends.
What I liked most about The Pirate's Wish
It was a lot of fun to be back in Naji and Ananna's world. Cassandra Rose Clarke has a great imagination and her fantasy world is rich and well developed. Although there wasn't a map in the book, I could picture it all laid out in my head. I had such fun traveling and discovering new places with these characters. Ananna is definitely most at home on a ship and we get a lot more pirating action in this installment. We are introduced to a few new new characters and my unexpected favorite was definitely the manticore. I really enjoyed her addition to this story. Marjani was my favorite returning character. She is such a strong female force and a great voice of reason and influence for Ananna, who definitely needed it at times.
What I mostly liked
Although I wasn't surprised to see many characters from the first book again, I was surprised by the ones that did not show up a second time. One in particular I wish had come back, or at least been discussed by the characters. Not because I liked this person, but because their part in these characters' lives felt unfinished to me. It's person from the past that I wish was faced head on, instead of being swept under the rug. But I can see that it was likely a very conscious decision for the author to approach the situation in this way.
Another part of the book that was unexpected was how Clarke chose to break each curse. I like that the author was creative and unpredictable in how she approached each of them, especially the choice and method of the first one. However, I thought that the the breaking of the third curse was a little silly. Though I appreciated what it represented about the characters, it took the fantasy elements into a direction that was hard for me to fathom (both the nature of it and the timeline practically).
Many of the reasons why I fell in love with Ananna and Naji and their uneasy alliance in The Assassin's Curse, became irritating in The Pirate's Wish, so much so that it detracted from the action of the book. I still enjoyed being in Ananna's head for the most part. Her spunkiness, "what you see is what you get" demeanor, and distrust of attractive people made her endearing. However, her pettiness and insecurities really grated on me in this installment. Although I could understand her feelings, I thought her angst went on too long.
While in the first story, I really like that Naji was a little bit broken and unsure of himself because of his scar, I kept wanting to slap some sense into him in this book and tell him to 'speak up!' Actually, I wanted to tell that to both of them. It's like they were their own worst enemies to their own happiness, and I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Then finally they were pushed together enough times - mostly by magic - that it started sticking. In fact, I never felt like I got a true handle on what was going on in Naji's head. Although I liked how this book ended for each of these characters, I wish some of the the wisdom and clear-headedness that came at the end had come much earlier in the story.
Now that I've finished this series, would I recommend it?
Yes, for the strong fantasy world that Clarke has created. The Persian influences in the landscape and people. The pirates, deserts, islands and rich cultures that Ananna and Naji traverse. The adventure themes and Naji's blood magic. No, for Ananna and Naji's character development and frustrating behavior throughout the second book.
Love Triangle Factor: None, thankfully. These two had enough trouble getting past themselves.
Cliffhanger Scale: Series finale!
The Pirate's Wish is Summer Series Challenge Approved. I have officially completed and written a review for the final book in The Assassin's Curse series.