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The Assassin's Curse (Strange Chemistry Series)

The Assassin's Curse (Strange Chemistry Series)

4.6 33
by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
”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

Kirkus Reviews
A kick-ass pirate heroine gets into and out of (mostly into) trouble in this invigorating fantasy. Within the first five pages of this debut, Ananna of the Tanarau ditches her wedding, meant to ally her pirate clan to the Hariri. She may escape this unwanted bond, but she finds herself in another, far more powerful one when she saves the life of Naji, the assassin hired by the Hariri to bring her back or kill her. Now magically connected to the scarred blood magician, she attracts the collateral attention of malignant Otherworldly powers. If she wants any chance at a future that includes her own ship—hell, any future at all—she must quest with Naji for a cure to the curse that binds them together. 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 ("I ain't never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw") and doesn't let go. Her wry, agreeably foulmouthed ("Fuck me, they're machines") narration is equally smart and funny, incorporating both trenchant observations and frankly beautiful phrasing that never misses a step ("I hadn't even recognized the hope for what it was until it got dragged away from me"). A ripsnorting series opener; may the sequels arrive soon. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Product Details

Watkins Media
Publication date:
Strange Chemistry Series
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.56(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet 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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The Assassin's Curse 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would say that the only problem with this book was that had lots of "language" in it. Ananna seems to like expressing her feelings in ways that someone MIGHT NOT approve of.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Assassin's Curse was exactly what the cover and synopsis promise, an adventure. Cassandra Rose Clarke has recreated the feeling of fairytales such as Aladdin and Mulan and basically delivered an addicting and all consuming novel called The Assassin's Curse. The two main characters are a pirate and an Assassin. The originality of the premise and characters as well as plot in this novel is what really set this novel apart from the usual adventure novels. The protagonist, who is a daughter of a powerful pirate family ends up running away from an unwanted marriage. The family of the groom send an assassin to murder her because the shame is apparently too much for them. Now the twist that happens is that she ends up saving the assassin's life and causes the emergence of a curse. Naji, the Assassin now has to protect Ananna's life. Here is when the adventure to break the curse begins. Of course the adventure begins from the first page of the novel and I loved how we are dropped right in the middle of the action from the get go. Ananna is a great character; she is strong headed and doesn't go along with anyone's plan for her life, not even her parents. However I think my favorite character of the two is Naji. I just really sympathize with him at the beginning and I just love how even with his hard exterior, he isn't the dark brooding type, he isn't even labeled as an assassin's version of a bad boy. He is sweet, caring, and just all around a true gentleman, which ironically contradicts his profession. I just loved their growing fondness of each other over time and I just always hoped for more from those two together! Cassandra Rose's writing is engaging and makes you totally connect with the characters. I honestly couldn't put the book down and kept on sneaking in reading breaks whenever possible. While The Assassin's Curse doesn't go that far plot wise, I felt this book was more about the character growth than the actual plot progression. The ending just made me want more and I can't wait for the release of the second book in this series and continuing on the journey of this odd partnership between a pirate and an assassin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It definitely earned it's spot on my favorites shelf :)
VysBlog More than 1 year ago
The story of The Assassin’s Curse begins when Ananna runs away from her arranged marriage. It took me a while to warm up to Ananna. She came off a bit arrogant, but as the story continued, I began to see her grow into her responsibilities. What I loved most about her was her ability to respond to anything and everything. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Before her encounter with the assassin, a strange women gave her potions that was said to help her. Not knowing the full extent of the magic, things went wary and resulted with Ananna becoming attached to her assassin due to his curse. Naji, the assassin, and Ananna were constantly butting heads while on their search to break the curse. It was interesting to see the change in their attitudes about each other as they continued their journey. There were many parts in the story in which I wanted more detail. I enjoy fast-paced stories, but the days moved so fast that I lost track of how many days have passed. The Assassin’s curse told a great story with many adventures and strange character encounters. I will definitely be waiting on the next novel.
BookWhales More than 1 year ago
“You don't realize how much you miss something till it comes back to you, and then you wonder how you went so long without it.” Before starting my actual review, I actually want to apologize first for this very late review. I mean very veryvery late review. I did not expect to be this busy when I entered second year and things just piled up and I can’t really read this as fast as I can. So yes, I apologize for that. Well, starting my review, I must say this is my first pirate book. And since I told you I was busy, I don’t have that much of an expectation. So where do I start… The author started the story with the main heroine being whisked of by her influential pirate family into marriage to a very handsome pirate named Tarrin. Feeling betrayed by her parents and not wanting to be married to someone like Tarrin she run-off by riding on a camel. So basically, Ananna, the main heroine is very headstrong, free-willed and sharp tongued and I really like her. This is because while I’m reading this book on her point of view, you will see how strong she really is but she’s not that typical “Mary-sue” character because she has her insecurities. She’s insecure with her beauty, at some of her decisions and a few things here and there. She’s also brusque to a point that you don’t want to cross her. I don’t want to explain more about Ananna because I really want you to read this story and see things in her eyes. My only downside is I can’t picture her well. The author did not paint her image that well. I kept on thinking how I would paint her in my mind since she’s very negative about the way she looks I’m not sure how to really picture her. Naji, on the other hand, is a blood magician hired by Tarrin’s family to kill Ananna for running away from their engagement. Blood magicians in the story are the worst assassins there is, since they can kill without you doing anything. Because of a very simple reason (I won’t tell what that is), he became indebted to his suppose target and the wheel has turned and he is now required to protect his target. For me, I really like Naji with all his angst and all that. He has this deep personality that you just want to slowly uncover. And as time goes by, you would realize that he’s not as indestructible as he is painted out to be as shown on the times that Ananna saved him. Sometimes, I actually think that she’s the one doing the protecting. The romance part on the novel, on the other hand, has a very slow but subtle progression that I really like. Ananna’s attraction to Naji is very endearing in a sense and maybe it is due to the character she presented. I’m really fond on the way the author presented Ananna’s feelings and I can’t wait for the next book to read what will happen next. There are some parts that are very fast paced and seemed to only center on the two of them. That part has a good side that is making us dig more into their story and a bad side, which, for me, feels a bit unexciting. The dialogues between the major character in the story, on one hand, is very ‘cute’ (not sure if this is the right term to use) because even if Naji rarely speaks and Ananna always hold her one-sided conversation, you can still feel his reaction through small actions that he gives. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book but I think that it ended prematurely and there are still things needed to be uncovered before the author had ended it. Too many questions are left hanging that I know would appear in the next book but I think she should have included some of them in this book. I think that this part is just scratching the lid of something bigger that is about to happen. But, as I’ve said above, I enjoyed reading this one and can’t wait to read the next one since I think it would more or less have the answers to the questions that was left hanging in the first book. And I have a feeling that the second book would be full of surprises. Well, I’m giving this, 4 whale wrecking pirate ships (pardon the pun)
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Dannelore More than 1 year ago
Exceptional is a good word I was going to give four stars (I suppose I'm a little critical) but I am a great fan of this book, so why not. I highly recommend this book for a slightly different outlook on the female protagonist. I feel how the characters develop is a true story unfolding before you, instead of thrown together to make you react.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
My first thought when I was about thirty percent into this novel was: why the heck have I waited this long to read this phenomenal book?! The Assassin’s Curse simply blew me away! No, not away really. More like into another fantastical world where the combination of powerful magic, wickedly awesome pirates, and undefeatable assassin’s are the order of the day.  Clarke has created a world in which I don’t necessarily want to live (simply because I don’t have the endurance these characters have to survive such a world), but which proved to be the ideal escape from my own mundane life. As far as YA books go, she breaks away from every stereotypical characteristic and predictable plot device familiar to this genre (I know some say YA is not a genre, but whatev, bear with me). This tantalizing, magical novel is primarily driven by its two strong-willed and endearing main characters, and secondarily by endlessly creative world-building. For me, those are the two deciding factors whether or not I would enjoy a book. But let’s move on to the two characters that made The Assassin’s Curse a win for me. They are what I really want to talk about. Ananna is in one word, perfect. Not a perfect character perse, but perfect as in this is what I would describe as the ultimate girl protagonist. She doesn’t possess one trait that got on my nerves. Not one. Her stubbornness and deliberate defiance of her parents would’ve irritated me had it not been so skillfully written and balanced by her other character traits such as her making decisions based on her considering the consequences of her actions first. Even though those consequences might put her in harm’s way, she still plunges ahead knowing perfectly well what to expect and being prepared to deal with it head on. That is what I mostly admired about her character. What made me like her even more is that in more than one scene she’s the one that saves her male companion from certain death, instead of it being the other way around. Now tell me, how many books have you read where the girl physically saves the boy from being killed? Not many, right? Ananna is the girl I want by my side when disaster strikes. She handles a sword and a knife like these are extensions of her arms. She makes split-second decisions and doesn’t back away when faced down by an army of pirates sent to kill her. She speaks her mind, but knows when to keep her mouth shut, and this girl can barter with pirates like it’s nobody’s business. Honestly guys, why are you still reading this review and not the book? There’s so much more I want to say about her, but I’d rather you got to know her on your own. You should see the mean punches this little lady packs! Then there’s Naji. He’s apparently an undefeatable assassin, but I guess Ananna proved that myth wrong. Her good deed unfortunately activates a curse, but on the bright side, she got stuck with a guy who’s so different from any male love-interest I’ve read up to this point. Throughout the story, though, you wouldn’t think of Naji as a love-interest because Clarke doesn’t describe him as such or give any indication that either character has feelings for the other, until the last third of the book. Yet, if you’re someone who can spot the finer details hidden between layers of battles for survival, you’ll easily pick up on the things that might eventually spark an attraction between these two, although it’s rather one-sided. Naji is all darkness, mystery, moody, aloofness, and sinister magic. He sticks to the shadows and hides his face behind a mask because of the scars. So what’s so attractive about him? I really can’t say. All I know is that I felt weirdly fascinated by his enigmatic charm, and that I rooted for him and Ananna all the way. This brings me to another point. I’ll be really quick about it because there isn’t much to say, but I think romance junkies might want to know. First off, this is not a romance novel, but it has a tiny bit of romance in it. I think the second book might focus more on this element as this one is all about survival. What there is between Ananna and Naji is more an attraction, but like I said earlier on, it is one-sided. This attraction isn’t based on either character’s physical appearance, and not once is the word “hot” used to describe either of them. This “attraction” isn’t immediate and rather builds up gradually through a sequence of events throughout the story. In my opinion, that is the way romance should be written and how two characters should fall in love. I’ll find out in book two whether they actually fall in love or not. By the end of book one I only know how one character feels. And speaking of endings, this one ends with a major cliffhanger. So if you hate cliffhanger endings, this will definitely leave you feeling frustrated. Finally, the writing took me some time to get used to, and the pacing was a little slow the first forty percent or so. Once it got to the battle in the desert, I was hooked and read into the early hours of the morning, forcing myself to put the book down and get a few hours of sleep. The Assassin’s Curse was a more than pleasant surprise, and even before I finished it, I got myself a copy of the second book, The Pirate’s Wish, in which Naji and Ananna has to complete three impossible tasks to end their impossible curse. Even if you are of the opinion that pirates and assassins, curses and dark magic isn’t your thing, I still think you should give this book a chance if only to meet these two amazing characters. This is not the sort of book I’d choose to read, but I’ve heard so many good things about it, I wanted to find out for myself what everyone was on about. I don’t regret my choice for one second, and I’m positive you wouldn’t either if you give this novel a chance. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was brilliant. The characters are extremely likable, especially a certain dark and mysterious assassin ;) There us lieterally non stop action. Right in the beginning, stuff happen sand you're just like "Woah!" Ananna (the main chica) I can't handle her. She is just so great. She is definitely one of the best lead woman. Synopsis time! Ananna saves the life of the assassin that wa ssent to kill, resulting in a curse dubbed "The Assassin's Curse." She and Naji, the assassin boy, have to travel to break the curse meeting many great support characters on the way. There is a sequel, which let me tell you is honest to god better than this one, and this one, as I stated before, is brilliant. I think that says a lot. It has chuckle-worthy, cringe-worthy, and swoon-eorthy moments. READ IT PLEASE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This books was good fun. There is magic, action adventure, pirate, romance, and just about everything else. The book started off jumping right into the action and it kept coming all the way to the end. Even during the somewhat down period of the book where the two characters were stuck in one place or another waiting...it still felt like the book kept moving. It did not get bogged down. This is one of the book best points. It knows how to keep it moving and you interested. I enjoyed Ananna, she was self reliant and strong and capable....while still being fully relatable and likable. Sometimes in order to have a strong female character...writers make them too hard, but this did not happen in this case. Ananna was brought out to take care of herself and stand up for herself, lead...so she does it naturally. When it comes to the two characters...she is the strong one. She is the one who can handle the world as it is. Naji, for all his being an magic assassin is held back by his own insecurities and he is a bit broken from his experiences. This blinds him to obvious thing around him ...makes him not truly see or see falsely (like the intentions of a certain woman). So he is magic smart, and strong as far as power...but he is not world smart. To him something may seem "impossible" but as the old wizard said....it is not really impossible. But Naji can't see it yet. He is not ready. So their adventure will continue until he opens his eyes. I look forward to it because by the end...I was invested in their tale and if Ananna can get that True Loves's Kiss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book!! The tone of the story and the imagery of the words make it all come alive. I'd definitely reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my all time favorites! Strong heroine, great adventure.
pblover5 More than 1 year ago
Amazing! If you love pirate's and good curses, you'll love this story