The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke started slowly for me. It took until about 50 or so pages to hook me in but once it did I could not put it down.
This is the story of Ananna of the Tanarau, a young pirate princess who escapes from an arranged marriage with Tarrin, the young heir of the Hariri, a rival pirate clan. Annana has dreams of having her own ship, with herself as captain and has no intentions of playing second fiddle to a husband that she distrusts on sight.
However, this act of defiance spurs the Hariri clan to send a deadly assassin after Annana. It is when the young assassin appears that the story really took shape for me. During an encounter, Annana is fighting for her life when she ends up saving her foe's life. The two of them end up bound together by magic and must undertake a quest in order to be freed.
Naji, the mysterious and scarred assassin is a truly wonderful character. He is difficult, taciturn and deeply flawed but is a perfect balance for our main character. Annana is definitely the star of the show. Witty, bold and not afraid to speak her mind, she is a very likeable protagonist.
I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book. I thought it looked entertaining but these types of stories can wind up being quite shallow with drippy love interests that never really seem to come alive on the page. I am happy to report that this was not the case at all with The Assassin's Curse. It was a fun adventure true, but the characters were more layered than they initially seemed and felt like real honest people, albeit in a fantastical setting. The story kept me riveted to the end. It ended more quickly than I would have liked but I think it has been set up nicely for the next book in the series (is it June yet??).