Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.
And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
Can I just say first that I love the cover? Because I really love it. It’s so…lovely. The calligraphy almost seems like Arabic, fitting in with the rest of the elements of the cover. So kudos to whoever designed it.
Okay, moving on to what we are gathered here to talk about. Mainly, the novel. It starts with a runaway bride. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the fact that she leaves it so late in the game to make the run. You know what I mean? She could run away the night before or two days before or even before she meets the guy but she just decides on a whim that I can scarcely credit to just flee. And flee she does, on a camel no less. I wish I had seen that, I truly do.
And so begins the adventure of a lifetime. (If she manages to survive it.) Ananna is a spunky protagonist but then, you have to be to escape on a camel from a fiancé who is so beautiful that all he does is inspire hate in you. Yeah. The world building was a bit lacking for me because it’s a rich Clarke creates and I would have loved to know more about it. The assassin was awesome and Ananna’s relationship with the assassin was the greatest appeal of the novel. She saves his life and wham, he is cursed to protect her. There is no insta-love for which I am thankful but I wish their relationship had progressed somewhat significantly by the end. It didn’t. I wanted a kiss. I didn’t get it.
Okay. Fine. I gave that away. Sorry. But really, this is an entertaining novel and a great debut. It has lots of interesting and new paranormal creatures, new mythology, a different kind of wizard and magical powers with a slightest taste of the Eastern. There are pirates and punches and this evil, totally distasteful beautiful woman who just should be made to walk the plank. And the assassin’s stupidity for the said beautiful and evil woman. Sheesh. I liked that Ananna doesn’t go bananas for the love interest. I liked that their relationship is a constant push and pull, though not enough pulling where I am concerned. I felt rather dissatisfied at the end because I felt that there was so much more that could have happened, the narrative could have gone in a different direction, I just wanted more, okay?
Which is why I am going to read and in fact, look forward to the sequel. This is an entertaining novel. If you want something light, not fluffy all the time but easy to read. I have to mention at this late time that Ananna killing that person did not sit well with me. I mean, it did not. Really. Not that she had any other choice really but I felt like she should have.
Do I recommend this? Hell yeah. Read it. It comes with my backing.