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Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore

The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse - Note: I received an electronic ARC of this title through NetGalleyWarning: Do not read past the first paragraph of the Goodreads plot summary. It is rife with major spoilers, and I think even encompasses events that are going to happen in the next book.What do you get when you throw together a runaway pirate girl and the assassin sent to kill her, then send the odd couple on a quest through a Middle East-inspired fantasy world to break the curse that ties them together? An entertaining, action-packed read that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more.This book hooked me from the beginning. The world is vividly drawn. Though we are given tantalizingly few details about some elements, I can tell that Clarke has fleshed out her world enough that she could potentially set several series in its vast makeup, and I'm confident that more details will be revealed in future books.I really adored our two central characters, pirate-on-the-run Ananna and scarred young assassin Naji. Instead of being the cool, smooth, and sexy love interest we're used to in YA these days, Naji is, while a skilled assassin, extremely self-conscious about his scarred face and more than a little clueless when it comes to interpersonal relations. However, he's still interesting enough that Ananna's growing attraction to him is understandable. Ananna is a no-nonsense, kick-butt sort of individual. Despite the fact that Naji is the assassin, Ananna, with her background in piracy, plays the role of rescuer more than once. And when Naji is being stupid, Ananna feels no compunction about informing him of his errors. Bluntly. Sometimes with her fists.Despite its many fine qualities, however, this book also has flaws. It's hard to know just how long a book is when you're reading an eBook, but this one felt really, really short. I'm not sure if it's because the book is actually short or because the pacing is off. Either way, I didn't feel like the book really picked up steam until Ananna and Naji left the city where the book opens, and by the time that happened, I was already close to halfway through the book. I started to feel like my e-galley might be missing a chunk. That impression stuck around right up until the end. The ending left me totally underwhelmed. It felt to me like the end of a chapter, not a novel. The tone of the last pages was out of character for the rest of the book, and left me wholly unsatisfied. Ananna bemoaning Naji's cluelessness about her feelings for him and dreaming of true love's kiss? Seriously? Ananna just doesn't seem like the lovelorn, languishing type to me. Maybe for a little bit, but then she'd snap out of it and get back to business. By ending the book with what amounts to a sigh of longing, Clarke has undermined a lot of the work she did to build Ananna's character throughout the novel. I disapprove.If you like pirates and/or assassins (and who doesn't?), this book is well worth the read. However, you may want to wait until the second book is released so you can read them both at once, because this book really doesn't function as a complete, self-contained novel.