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The Assassin's Curse (Strange Chemistry) Paperback – October 2, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

”Clarke’s debut harkens back to the best in fantasy/adventure, offering rock-solid worldbuilding, satisfyingly perilous obstacles and a protagonist whose charismatic ’tude goes way beyond spunk. Ananna’s voice grabs readers from the beginning […] and doesn’t let go.”
--Kirkus Starred Review

"Unique, heart-wrenching, full of mysteries and twists!"
-Tamora Pierce

“An inventive debut with a strong narrative voice, a glimpse of an intriguing new world.” – Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Shadows of the Apt series

“Ananna of Tanarau is a delightfully irascible heroine, inhabiting a fascinating and fresh new world that I would love to spend more time in. Pirate ships? Camels? Shadow dwelling assassins? Yes please! Can I have some more?”
– Celine Kiernan, author of the Moorhawke trilogy

“A story that will draw you in with its rich setting filled with assassins, pirates, magic, and two lead characters that you can't help but root for. A highly recommended read! (35/35)” – Fantasy’s Ink

“The Assassin’s Curse […] gave me a fantastical story of epic levels, with grand fantasy that seems bigger than the story itself and characters that I’m ever-rooting for, and I’m ridiculously impressed! A definite favorite of the year!” – Paranormal Indulgence

“It’s an exhilarating tale filled with sword fights, magic, suspense, and subtle romance. I devoured it in one sitting!” - http://amysbookden.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/early-review-assassins-curse-by.html

“It was just as fun as a book about a Pirate Princess reluctantly attached to a Magical Assassin could possibly be.” - http://brandy-painter.livejournal.com/90652.html

“With an instantly compelling plot, loveable characters, and a completely engaging romance, The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke is one of the most engrossing books I've read this year.” - http://recoveringpotteraddict.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/review-assassins-curse-assassins-curse.html

"An exciting and original YA novel with magic, pirates, myth and adventure, The Assassin's Curse will hook you in and keep you tugging on the line for the next book in Clarke's series."
- Serena Chase, USA Today

"Think Aladdin mixed with say, Tamora Pierce's Alanna series, plus a little Pirates of the Caribbean for good measure, and you'll have an idea of the flavour of this story.  I know you're already thinking it, Fun with a capitol F, and you're right, it is."
-Rhiannon, The Diary of a Bookworm

About the Author

Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well.

During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she enjoyed sixty-degree summer days. Having been born and raised in Texas, this was something of a big deal. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

Unlike many authors, Cassandra does not have a resume of peculiar careers. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, painting, crocheting, cooking, and quilting, because she is secretly an old lady. She will see literally any movie as long as it’s in a theater. She watches television. She doesn’t play many video games, though.

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Product Details

  • Series: Strange Chemistry
  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Strange Chemistry (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781908844019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908844019
  • ASIN: 1908844019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Magnus Liber on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Assassin's Curse is a romantic fantasy staring a hot-headed teenage run-away bride who is pursued by supernatural villains as she falls for a dark and dangerous stranger. A more detailed synopsis of the plot would make the story sound promising, and would likely have sounded great as pitch to a publisher. Unfortunately the execution by debut novelist Cassandra Rose Clarke is sloppy and unconvincing. Her characters lack character, her details lack detail, and the story lacks an ending. It isn't so much a novel as it is a prologue for more books. So, if you are tempted to stick with the story just to see how it ends, as I did, you'll likely be disappointed.

Spoilers

Character and details are where Clarke really falls down. She has a decent sense of pacing, but her ability to make her characters and world seem believable is lacking, and sometimes inexcusably so. Just a few pages into the story we find our erstwhile bride, Ananna of the Tanarau, escaping an arranged marriage by running off on a stolen camel. She leaps onto the saddle between the two humps and races off, with "me clinging to his neck in my silk dress". Really? Clinging to the neck of a running camel while also seated between the two humps? It is clear that Clarke didn't even bother to so much glance a picture of a camel before writing her story prominently featuring **camels**. Sigh. That is the level of attention to detail that Clarke exhibits throughout the book. And she has a **masters degree** in creative writing, so presumably she knows how to use a library and Google but just couldn't be bothered.

Perhaps Clarke thought that since she was writing a fantasy book she didn't need to do any research or have to know how anything looks or works in the real world. If she thought so she was dead wrong.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Thanks to NetGalley and Strange Chemistry for this eARC!

They say that the first few pages of a book will alter your perception of every page thereafter.

This is exactly what happened to me with this book.

In the first few pages, a lot of things happen. A LOT. Usually, this would be a good marker for me. However, the problem was that each and every event snapped my suspension of disbelief and threw me out of the world of the book. If you've never heard the term "suspension of disbelief" before, it just means the reader's ability to believe in something fantastical in the plot or in a character or so forth. In fantasy novels, often if the suspension of disbelief is snapped the reader will cease to believe any plot twist that happens after that point.

And that's exactly what happened to me.

I absolutely adored this premise, don't get me wrong. I had such high hopes that maybe I couldn't help but be let down. But the unfortunate thing about Ananna is that she never thinks about what she does. There is no preamble or thoughts about abandoning her fiance-which, by the way, means abandoning her entire way of life, her family, the sea, etc. She just gets annoyed with her fiance-to-never-be talking, sees a camel and is like "SO LONG, SUCKER!"

It gets worse from there.

Perhaps part of the problem was that the world building was never particularly solid. I got the main points about the world in which Ananna lives-which seems like a darn cool one-but several things I wanted explained never were. In fact, I got so annoyed with Ananna's calm accepting of things being left unexplained (big things. All the small things Naji didn't explain, she shouted "Bullshit!" and got up in his face about it.
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Format: Paperback
Short but sweet. A real pleasure to read, with a heroine that stole my heart and ran away with it. It's not a perfect book - I suspect a better editor could have really bumped it up to the next level - but it's fun and charming and sparkles with personality.

The heroine, Ananna, is quintessentially puckish. She's a firecracker, a rapscallion, a troublemaker, an imp. She's a pirate's daughter, with a pirate's skills - thieving and fighting and trickery, and that's about it. When her parents decide to marry her off to a perfectly nice boy with a ship of his own, Ananna decides she'll have none of it and she takes off. Normally this would irritate me, because it's a thoughtless thing to do. Even if Ananna is scrappy enough to stay alive on the streets, she's cutting herself off from the sea and then, to make things worse, the jilted Hariris send an assassin after her.

But Ananna is impulsive and she doesn't care about rules, so even if ditching her fiancé wasn't the smartest thing to do, it was absolutely in character. When the assassin sent to kill her attacks, she ends up saving his life instead (this scene didn't strike me as particularly believable, but I didn't care - I was along for the ride). Turns out that this assassin, Naji, has been cursed to eternally protect the next person to save his life, which is inconvenient for both of them.

Almost from the moment Naji appears on the scene, he and Ananna drop everything to go searching for a cure to this curse.
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