I had seen the lovely book cover for The Assassin’s Curse, but what really got me interested was Tamora Pierce’s recommendation. Pierce wrote The Lioness Quartet, which is (for the record) one of my favorite sets of books ever. Ever. I bought them all again when they came out on Kindle. So I dove in…
What I liked: Ananna and Naji are engaging characters, each with motivations that seem realistic without being over-emphasized. Naji could easily have fallen into the cliche of the tortured male hero, angst-ridden and sulky, but Clarke managed to give him some real heart – not an easy task when dealing with an assassin! In addition, the plot moved ahead at a good pace, with a world that was clearly well-thought out, and Clarke, further, managed to pull off writing in the first person, in a dialect. There were quite a few lines that made me smile, a few more that sparked sadness, and there was a good deal of rapt reading as the story unfolded.
What I liked a little less: The plot moved forward in a few distinct chunks, with Ananna and Naji’s quest separated into different stages. The plot moved nicely, but given the outcome of the book, I didn’t get much of a sense of closure. Further, I would have appreciated a bit more description of the world – what description there was, was well done. But action scenes, in particular, could have been stretched a bit. One always knew when Ananna was walking into danger, but there was very little time for the crisis to build, and then it was all over.
Overall: If you grew up on the Lioness Quartet and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, if you like snappy dialogue and feisty characters, I recommend this book! It is a quick, engaging read, with a romance that is quite sweet without being saccharine.
Now, gentle readers, I am off to write!