The Pirate’s Wish, by Cassandra Rose Clarke [Assassin’s Curse #2]

  • TITLE: The Pirate’s Wish (Assassin’s Curse #2)
  • AUTHOR: Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 4th June 2013
  • RATING: ★★★★★

ThePiratesWish-144dpiBy now you’re probably beginning to wonder whether Strange Chemistry are slipping me money under the table, what with all these reviews that glow so brightly you can see them from space. Those, and the Great Wall of China, of course. They might not be slipping me shiny coins, but I do get free books – and that’s practically the same!

The Pirate’s Wish, due out in June, is the second half of what Cassandra Rose Clarke called her “mega-book”. It is the “sequel” to The Assassin’s Curse. Both were originally joined as one, in unholy and clunky (for YA, let’s face it) matrimony, until they were split into the duology they are now.

The Assassin’s Curse left off with a wizard telling Ananna and Naji that to break the curse caused by Ananna saving Naji’s life, they had to complete three impossible tasks. The Pirate’s Wish doesn’t dilly dally and jumps straight in with the business: completing these impossible tasks.

It might seem smooth sailing at first, but nothing is really as it seems and before they know it, Ananna and Naji are dealing with far more complex situations and creatures than they expected. All the while, the thing that Ananna feels blossoming is trying to burst out, and although she knows she has a chance of completing one of the tasks before they even start, she’s loath to try it. If it goes horribly wrong, she’ll hate everything afterwards – and when you’re stuck with a blood-magic assassin who can’t stray from your side, nor you from his, the last thing you want is more complications.

Stuck in the north and with only the hope of Ananna’s pirate friend Marjani returning to un-maroon them, Ananna tries not to mooch around, trying not to think about the curse – even though it and its primary bearer are all she thinks about. Yet, things might start to look up sooner than she imagined, and before she knows it, the wizard who helped them is dead, there’s a monster lurking the island, and a ship looms on the horizon.

The Assassin’s Curse was a sumptuously-written tale that really began to reveal the world Clarke has crafted. Now The Pirate’s Wish offers a gorgeously-presented story of absolutely everything under the sun. Intrigue, sea-battles, epic magic that lights up the sky, exotic queens with brilliant sun-gardens and romance.

One of the things that made me most smile about the romance element is that it’s so real. I’ll admit to getting frustrated with Ananna – but then I’m a guy and I’m seeing all her feelings, as well as imagining what Naji might be going through. And that’s how I knew it was perfect. Furthermore, the romance between a queen and a pirate, both women, is so skillfully done that it’s delightful. You know why it’s delightful? Because there is no pomp and ceremony over announcing a lesbian romance, no flags from the rafters, no trumpets. Just two characters and a relationship. Kind of like real life.

I think we’re at the stage where LGBT romances should no longer really be drawn into the light: if an author includes them, yay, realism! If not… well, then maybe that’s what we need to start talking about – writers who don’t accept that you need a little bit of gay and bi in your worlds for them to ring true.

But anyway: romance in book, good.

I didn’t know that this was a duology when I started The Pirate’s Wish. I tend not to really read around about books, rather, I just pick them up. Often, I don’t even read the synopsis a second time, once I’ve added a book to my pile. If I decided I wanted to read it, I’d rather not run the risk of revelatory blurbs that might give away half the book. (And there are blurbs that do that… and I hate them…) I began to twig, however, when, well… the book started to draw to an end and there was only 20% left on the bar at the bottom.

This book worked so well as a duology, so very well. It’s a very sensory book, in that it really hits the senses: the sounds and smells of exotic cities, the crashing of waves and the scent of sea salt, cannons and pistols and new languages, magical or otherwise. It’s a really, really involving book that truly does sweep you away.

Towards the end, I starting getting a little edgy as to what the ending would be like. I could see a few things coming and I wondered how Clarke would handle them. I’m a soppy idiot and I like things nice. I thought this wouldn’t be a nice ending. In fact, even until the last few pages I remained a skeptic, until everything just unfolded so neatly and elegantly that I couldn’t help but love it.

It’s definitely the kind of book that will be read and fiercely enjoyed, since it’s full of action, adventure and passion. Very, very impressed and thrilled beyond words about the news revealed by Strange Chemistry and Clarke earlier this week.

The Pirate’s Wish is an impressive and beautiful setting with a story to make you want to wrap yourself up in adventure.

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