Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Title: The Wizard's Promise
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Hanna Duology, book #1
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.

I am a super-huge fan of Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Assassin's Curse duology. It's fast-paced and full of awesome characters -- some human and some not. I expected much of the same from this first book in the Hanna duology, especially with this series being set in the same world. But CRC managed to make Hanna's story completely different by setting it in the far north in a much colder climate and focusing more on magic this time around. You can read more about the author's world-building in this post for the blog tour for The Wizard's Promise.

Hanna intends to learn magic and avoid life as a fisherman, which she seems destined for at present. All Hanna's heard from her mother since she was young were stories of Annana's adventures. Hanna's mother actually sailed with Annana before starting her own family, and Hanna is actually named after Annana. So, you can see why Hanna has such wanderlust, why she's so keen on setting out on adventures of her own.

But when adventure does finally find Hanna, it's not quite what she was expecting. Nor was it what I was expecting. Whereas the previous books in this world had been quite fast-paced and full of action sequences, I found the setup for this series to be much more subdued and much slower. It felt like I was being kept in the dark right along with Hanna, and it was a bit frustrating at times. I can appreciate the slower build-up on this book because I'm already familiar with some of the intricacies of this world because of the earlier books, like life spent on the water, the magic, and the Mists. But I think the thing that really kept me going was the promise of an Annana/Naji cameo in the future. I'm intrigued by what's happening with Hanna and Isolfr, but as of right now, their story pales in comparison to that of Annana and Naji.

That's not to say that any of the characters are lacking; I just think that the chemistry isn't quite there yet. The potential for it is, though. All of the characters in this book are as well-rounded or as mysterious as they should be, though maybe Kolur and Frida should have been a little more forthcoming a little earlier on in the story to save everyone a bit of trouble. But probably the most impossible character to figure out was Isolfr, a) because he was supposed to be crazy mysterious and b) he didn't get near enough page-time for my liking, making him even more of an enigma. That's probably also why he ended up being my favorite character in this story. That and his terribly frustrating riddle-speak. I usually hate it when characters beat around the bush, but I'll make an exception for Isolfr.

The Wizard's Promise is an interesting reintroduction to this world but also a veritable launch into new aspects of this world I've already come to love so well. But that would be the launch of a ship at sea, not like the launch of a rocket into space. Truth be told, this felt like a world-building second book, but that just means the next will be full of action and answers. And I'm very much looking forward to discovering what the Mists are all about and what the future holds for Hanna.

GIF it to me straight:
This was me for much of the novel...but as with The Princess Bride,
the ending is worth the wait.

The Witch's Betrayal (The Assassin's Curse, 0.5)The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse, #2)The Automaton's TreasureThe Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology, #1)

About the author:

Cassandra Rose Clarke grew up in south Texas and currently lives in a suburb of Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a local college. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in English, and two years later she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle, where she was a recipient of the Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

Cassandra’s first adult novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, was a finalist for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award, and her YA novel, The Assassin’s Curse, was nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction.

Find Cassandra:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. Hmm. I think I'll pass on this one. I haven't read anything by the author, and it doesn't sound like this is the place to start. I'm going through a bit of a slump, so I know a slow-paced/slow-to-reveal book is the opposite of what I need. I do need to try The Assassin's Curse, though, I've heard great things. Great review!

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