Thursday, 28 November 2013

Book Review: The Pirates Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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 and their wits. But Naji has unseen enemies, and Ananna must face the wrath of the Pirate Confederation.

Together, they must travel afar, defeat their foes and break the mother of all curses. With all this going on, falling in love would be such a bad idea... All of this and much, much more await, in the swashbuckling sequel to The Assassin's Curse.

The Assassin’s Curse was one of the surprise hits of last year. I loved it, it was imaginative, full of characters I loved and delightfully original. I couldn’t wait to get my hands of the follow up, The Pirate’s Wish. I needed to know if Ananna and Naji managed to break the curse and was desperate to find out if romance finally bloomed between the two. Anticipation was high and I was nervous that this would disappoint. Thankfully it didn’t and I got all the answers I wanted.

The Pirate’s Wish picks up where The Assassin’s Curse left off. Ananna and Naji are trapped on an island with three impossible tasks ahead of them. The tasks will break the curse that was placed upon Naji when Ananna saved his life when he was sent to kill her.

Within pages of opening this book I was absorbed and back in the amazing world Cassandra Rose Clarke has created. I love her writing and world building and it is easy to get lost in this magical world. It is vibrant and full of character and charm. There is a ton of action and some lovely mellow moments as well. This is a well-paced book that knows when to speed up of slow down.

The Pirate’s Wish takes a more adult feeling through this and I was surprised how much the romance was central to the whole story. In the previous book the romance was just a faint whisper in the background, in this it is central. I knew it was going to be bigger in this book given the nature of one of the impossible tasks but I wasn’t expecting it to start so quickly.

The relationship between Ananna and Naji is a strained one and it has always been bizarre. They are tied reluctantly together in the beginning and things get more awkward when Ananna develops feelings that are not returned. There is pain here and misunderstanding and it shapes the story as a whole. I think that will disappoint some readers who enjoyed the lack of romance in the first book but I think it was inevitable. Ananna and Naji are together in so many aspects and in order for them to achieve anything they need each other and they always have. It was fate that bought them together and they will only achieve the impossible together.

Characters are key in this book. Ananna was just as awesome as she was in The Assassin’s Curse but I also think she grew up a lot in this one. What I love about Ananna is her refusal to be anything she wasn’t. She had her own ideas, her own views and she stuck to them. She loves Naji but will not let him control her and she does not let her gender stand in her way at all. I loved her strength and wish there were more characters like her in YA fiction.

Naji was just as perfect. There was a vulnerability to him in this that was not present in the first book. He was more human and his feelings were a lot more pronounced. He is a pretty special guy and I loved the respect he had for Ananna. He was adorable in the romance when it finally got going but despite his feelings and his own wishes he didn’t even try and hold Ananna back, he wanted her to be herself and be happy even if that meant she wasn’t with him. He was the lead in the romance which was a pleasant surprise and it was easy to see how much he cared for Ananna, even the more sexual scenes were full of tenderness from him.

I will really miss these two characters. Cassandra Rose Clarke is a brilliant writer who has created an amazing world but Ananna and Naji are the heart of it all. The ending was perfect, a bitter sweet finish to a series that has never played by the rules of an at times repetitive YA genre. It was a real treat to read these books and they will be favourites of mine for the rest of my life.

5 stars

Published June 18th 2013 by Strange Chemistry.  A free copy was provided for review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips

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