Papa always told me how there was no way to defeat them, no way to intimidate them. Funny how wrong stories can be.
I picked up this book for a good adventure story: pirates, high seas, and an assassin, this book seemed to fit the bill.
The plot: Ananna is a young woman who was born and raised a pirate. The high seas run through her blood and she loves her life on her parent’s ship. That is, she loved it until they decided to sell her into a sham of a marriage with another pirate clan. Unwilling to be trapped into a marriage with a clan she doesn’t even respect, Ananna decides to run. By doing so she runs away from everything she knows and marking herself for death by a bedtime story she didn’t even believe in.
The assassins were blood magicians in addition to skilled fighters. They lived in dark lairs hidden in plain sight, like crocodiles. They were the last refuge of a coward, of a man too afraid to fight you.
However, the clan that she is abandoning is not forgiving or respected and take the coward’s way. They decide to hire an assassin to hunt Ananna down and kill her to make the statement that NOBODY gets to cheat them.
Enter Naji, a man who is a part of an elite group of killers known as the Assassins. Nobody escapes them. Nobody survives an encounter. They use blood magic to move through shadows. It is impossible to run or hide. Only this time, a split decision means that both he and Ananna are cursed. (view spoiler)
Enemies become allies in a desperate adventure that takes them across their world in order to find a cure for an impossible curse.
The characters: Ananna is not well-educated which is evident in her speech. But despite her crusty upbringing, she has a kindness that doesn’t allow her to leave the assassin to his fate. But she is a strong female who is not used to anyone taking care of her and does not take to it well. IN addition, she is struggling with a magic she didn’t even know she possessed.
Naji is a complex character who is both protective and idealistic. He is well-educated and understands far more of the world than Ananna does. But he doesn’t understand her world and has to take a backseat to her expertise in order to reach their destination alive (something he does not do well with).
Overall: This book was a fun, light read that doesn’t take any cognitive powers once so ever. You could practically hear the pirate cadence when Ananna speaks and the cultured education when it is Naji’s turn. The biggest flaw in the story is the world building. We are told about the Confederation (which we can gather is a sort of organization that binds pirates together) but are never shown what it is or why it is important. There is no real grist for the politics of the time either. There really is no background to the story. Suddenly you are dropped in Ananna and Naji’s lap and just get to follow along with their lives together. It is rather maddening. I would have like to understand about the Confederation, had a map of the world, know why pirates are tolerated, an explanation of the magic system…SOMETHING. Ultimately, I liked the story but felt the lack of world building and explanation of the magic system a real downer.