Tuesday, July 24, 2012

REVIEW: The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1) The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Assassin's Curse (TAC) was a fun read. What a pity that the YA fantasy lacked substance.

Hollow Characters

+++ Ananna

Ananna was feisty, practical, and compassionate but these traits of her were not in good synergy. One example is when she rescued Naji from an asp after his failed attempt to assassinate her. She acted compassionately but how was it practical to save someone who was trying to kill you?

She had no problem, or I should say no hesitancy in stealing, lying, and killing when necessary. I thought killing your assassin would count as necessary. Not to mention that she trusted him too quickly. Her, the daughter of a mighty pirate family; pirates and a trusting nature doesn't usually go hand in hand.

Truly, the biggest problem I had with Ananna was how I had a hard time getting into her head — and the story was written in 1st PoV from her side. It was unfortunate because Ananna was the type of heroine I love to cheer for.  I couldn't maintain an emotional connection with Ananna so cheering for her was a tedious affair.

+++ Naji

Naji was even worse. All I got from him was a stoic and incompetent assassin. So stoic the dude might as well have been a robot. So incompetent that I thought if he taught Ananna his super-secret blood magic that only others in his super-secret assassin order know, Ananna would have seriously made a better assassin than him.

I could not understand for the life of me of why the assassins of his order, especially Naji with his mask, could be so conspicuous — an observation repeatedly made throughout the story. They didn't hide the fact they were assassin, instead chose to stand out like a peacock in a flock of geese. It seem to me that the only thing that made them assassins was their wicked-awesome blood magic, instead of the special training to hunt, hide, and kill a singular target.

+++ others

The supporting characters were also interesting, but just like the main characters the supporting characters were not fully fleshed. All the characters in TAC left me wanting more.

Hollow Plot

+++ the Hariris

Based on my understanding and TAC's lack of backstory, the Hariris sent an assassin after Ananna simply because they were irked by the fact that she spurned their son and ran away from the arranged marriage. It wasn't because they were ruthless pirates, or there was some sort of pirate's code of honor, or the possibility of war between their clan and Ananna's pirate clan if the arranged marriage failed. No, it was because they were simply irked.

+++ the curse

TAC was deliberately vague on the operation of "the impossible curse." For example, distance. In one scene, Ananna had enough Naji's unwillingness to share info and started walking away and out of the room. As a result, the curse inflicted horrible pain on Naji as punishment. In many other scenes, Ananna wasn't with Naji but the curse didn't inflict pain on him. Did that mean intention factored into the curse or was this a big plot hole?

All the readers was told that Ananna's pain was Naji's pain, her death was his death. You think the characters would have explored the curse's parameter to make sure Ananna didn't cause any unnecessary harm on Naji (the curse was one-way), but nothing of the sort occurred. The two focused so much on finding a cure for the curse that they failed to manage curse as it was. It was like sending a victim of hypothermia to the hospital to be saved but forgetting to warm up the victim and defibrillate him on the way.

+++ the romance

The blurb said there was "growing romantic tension." It's true if you ignore the fact that the romantic tension appeared at the last few pages and was purely one-sided.

The only tension that existed throughout the book, from start to finish, was of the life-threatening kind. Not only did Ananna and Naji had to contend with the curse, they had to contend with the pirates, other assassins, and mysterious magical beings from another dimension.

TBH, I'm glad TAC didn't have a romance. Ananna and Naji didn't have chemistry between them. The "growing romantic tension" at the end felt incredibly contrived.

In Conclusion

The prose was brisk, the pacing was fast, the plot was unpredictable. These things could have put TAC in the I-like-it land were it not for the ending.

The story had no ending. Oh no, there wasn't a cliffhanger; TAC simply ended in the middle of the story.

I rate TAC 2-stars for it was okay. TAC is best for readers in the mood for an action-packed, nonthinking fantasy. I recommend readers who wish to pick up the series to wait until all of the duology is available to them.

Amazon GoodReads

Post a Comment

You can also comment on the Goodreads version of my review. Click on the rating located in the beginning of my review to get to the webpage.