Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Narrator: Tania Rodrigues
Series: The Assassin's Curse, book #1
Publisher: AudioGO Ltd.
Publication Date: October 11, 2012
Source: purchased, received copy for review via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
I love audiobooks. I know I say that entirely too much, but if it weren't for the audio being on sale at Audible recently (and currently still $3.49 for members!), it would probably still be months before I made time for this book. And I would be missing out on an awesome tale of pirates, assassins, curses, and magic. Everything about this book was screaming at me to read it: the title, the cover, the whole premise. And now that I've listened to it, I want a physical copy. My shelves deserve to be graced with this book's presence, and I know this is a book I'll want to read again and again.
However, when I started the audio, I did so with slight trepidation. The narrator has a British accent and she sounds a bit stuffy. Pair that with the uneducated vernacular of the pirate (think Saba from Blood Red Road but a little less so, lots of ain'ts and got no's), and I thought the narration was going to drive me batty. Talk about contradictions! But as the story unfolded and I got to know Ananna's character, I could see why this narrator was chosen. Not only does she give a unique voice to the protagonist, but she also makes every other character sound singular. Considering how wary I was of her accent in the beginning, that is truly a feat.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via Netgalley prior to its release last fall, but for some reason, I didn't make it a priority. I don't know where the disconnect was because as I've already mentioned, this book was perfect for me. There's no romance to speak of, though one is definitely in the works by the end of the story, and I found that immediately refreshing. In a fantasy, especially one focused on a quest of some sort, I always feel like the romance should take a backseat to everything else in the story. I'd much prefer it gradually develop and not overpower the more important aspects of the story, namely the search for the cure to the impossible curse in this story.
That's not to say that I don't like where the romance is headed. Because I do. Ananna and Naji are very unlikely allies, considering he's the assassin sent to deliver retribution for the jilted fiance. Their uneasy alliance grows into friendship, though, as they set out to break the curse they unwittingly brought upon themselves, and it's easy to see that this will blossom into something more...eventually. Remember the banter between Penryn and Raffe and how they barely tolerated each other at the beginning of their journey in Angelfall? That's probably the best comparison I can make, just with a little less banter.
The quest in this novel seems never-ending because as soon as they reach their destination, the assassin and the pirate discover that they need to continue their search elsewhere, which means we get to see a lot of scenery in this book. The world-building in The Assassin's Curse was perfection. The descriptions were not overly pretty or image heavy, but they were just enough that I felt myself enveloped in the mist or swaying aboard the ship with Ananna and Naji.
And I can't wait to return to this world in The Pirate's Wish, due out this summer. As much as I enjoyed this book, I don't think I'll be waiting months before picking up its sequel.