Tuesday, February 25, 2014

REVIEW: The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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

CAUTION: spoilers

Book 2 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be after reading a negative review. Make no mistake. The book was bad, but it was not insufferably bad. I credit my endurance to my love of manga.

+ the characters

Ananna was a complete brat. I went from liking her in book 1 to hating her in book 2 in one second. She showed no appreciation for the food Naji brought to her, the concern he showed for her, or protection he provided for her. She whined about everything. She threw a tantrum virtually in every chapter.

Hell, immediately in the beginning the reader could see how cold hearted she was when she showed no grief over Eirnin’s death, the wizard who was helping her survive on the deadly island. The wizard may have been amoral and catfighting with her love interest, but he was nice enough to overlook Naji with and help Ananna regardless. All that goodwill, and not a fucking shred of grief. She even went on to befriend Eirnin’s killer. I wanted to push the brat off a cliff.

I was shocked how quickly and how well Ananna and Eirnin’s killer got along. Not only did the killer kill Eirnin, she was also a man-eating beast. Or perhaps it said a lot that only someone like Ananna could be friends with a man-eating beast. As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

The only reason I could tolerate Ananna was because she was a classic tsundere. Tsundere is a common trope in manga, especially in the harem type. When one reads as much manga as I do, one inevitably builds tolerance for tsunderes. It’s either that or give up manga altogether (not a chance in hell).

Naji was the most pitiful character in the story, never mind that he was an assassin with rare, powerful blood magic. Afflicted with a curse, abused by Ananna, stuck on a godforsaken island, bedeviled by supernaturals from another dimension, enslaved eternally to an order of assassins, ostracized because of his scary magic. Could his life be more miserable?

I totally understood why Naji was always stoic. How else could he survive? I hated how he never got compensated for his suffering. Talk about no good deed goes unpunished.

some supporting characters: For a man-eating beast, Ongraygeeomryn the manticore was surprisingly high maintenance and funny. She turned out to be pretty nice. She was nicer than Ananna. Go figure.

Pirate captain Marjani and Queen Saida were wonderful. They were women of authority, queer, and in a happily renewed relationship. The book won points for feminism, diversity, and a healthy romance. Though they were only supporting characters, the pair balanced out the emotional heroine (to put it nicely) and her manly stoic love interest in terms of gender dynamics. The ladies also helped keep the angst down.

+ the plot

The plot didn’t go anywhere till the middle of the book when Ananna and her companions finally escaped the island and resumed their adventure. High points were hit and miss. For example, the scene where Marjana reunited with Saida and the one where Ananna reunited with her family both felt flat. I didn’t receive the “I love you, and I’m never letting you go out of my sight ever again.”-like reaction that I wanted.


In addition, the entire plot pivoted on dei ex machina. Apparently, one manticore is all that’s needed to conquer battleships and keep the unscrupulous in check, nevermind how outnumbered and outmatched our heroes and their very tentative allies were. The super rare starstones needed for the second impossible task to break the curse? Oh, Ananna’s family had them all along. The third and final impossible task to break the curse? Magic shamelessly pulled out of one’s ass. Even so, I didn’t give a fuck because anything that got the plot moving along and wrapping up loose ends was good apple juice. I was ready for the book to be done since chapter one.

Speaking of the ending, it stinked. Ananna and Naji finally got together only to separate because Ananna wanted to return to her pirate life and Naji had to return to slavery as an Order assassin. They said they’ll see each other again, but who the fuck are they kidding? Long distance relationships don’t work out. After all the crap they went through and what I had to put up with, the pair went back to their old lives. It rendered the series pointless.

Thankfully, the ending wasn’t as cold a slap in the face as it could have been. The relationship was abusive because of how awful Ananna was to Naji. Naji deserved better. I think the reason he came to love Ananna was because he didn’t think anyone else could love him and his life was a big pile of shit. Anyway, I found some consolation in the optimistic romance between Marjani and Saida, so it was not like I was left with completely nothing.


I rate The Pirate’s Wish 2-stars for it was okay. It wasn’t 1-star because I’ve read worse, and the writing was at least succinct. Thank hell the series was only a duology. If you plan to pick the series up, I strongly recommend librarying it.

Review of book 1: The Assassin's Curse

Book 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.

Goodreads | Amazon

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