Who is Ananna? (from The Assassin's Curse)
Ananna is the seventeen year old daughter of a pirate captain. She's been raised on a confederation pirate ship, knows her way around the riggings. She's handy with a sword and can find her way out of almost any problem.
Strength of Character
Ananna is kickass in all the best ways. She can defend herself with a sword and knife. She doesn't hesitate to fight off evil. When she decides to learn navigation, she's a quick study despite her limited education. But that's not what stands out most to me. For most of this story Ananna travels with an assassin named Naji. He has a massive scar on his face. Whenever anyone tries to bully Naji because of his scar, she's ready to kick their ass. She can recognize a bully, sees how beautiful people get away with it and she's not having any of that on her watch.
This book had one of the BEST opening chapter's I've read in a long time. Ananna's father has bargained with another pirate clan, offering Ananna's hand in marriage to create a partnership. Ananna is absolutely furious. Her father promised to teach her navigation and sailing. She feels completely betrayed. Ananna dreamed of captaining her own ship, not being a wife to some spoiled pirate's son.
So Ananna takes things into her own hands, running away from the marriage. Things go awry when the Hariri clan sends an Assassin after her. These are not your normal assassins, these are dark magician's who always kill their prey. Except, this assassin doesn't. Instead Ananna saves him life. By saving him, she accidentally enacts a curse that forces him to protect her. Whenever she's far away or in danger, Naji feels excruciating pain. Not being cruel, Ananna doesn't abandon him and they set off together, both running from the Hariri and searching for a cure for the curse.
I want Naji to myself. Does that count as a romantic entanglement? The moment he sits there sullenly complaining about Ananna saving his life I loved him. Naji is scarred, literally, sullen, funny and he respect Ananna as a strong woman. Even though he's cursed to protect her, he recognizes and compliments her ability to protect herself.
There are hints of romance, always in the background to the story, and slow building. There is nothing unhealthy about it, instead it's a friendship that grows then begins blossoming, at least in the background. It's the adorable type of romance I like, where nobody realizes it's happening except the reader. But you'll find yourself cheering for it, believe me.
I loved this book. 5/5 stars of love. Rarely do I love a book this much. Everything was just perfect for me. Ananna is everything I want in a main character - witty, intelligent, funny, feisty and believable. She's the type of girl I want to go adventuring with. From the first line, I was all in.
"Tarrin of the Hariri looked just like one of those paintings. Golden skin and huge black eyes and this mile that probably worked on every girl from here to the ice-islands. I hated him on sight.
Sometimes you love a book so much that it's hard to write a coherent review. Instead I just want to cuddle it and tell it how much I love it. That's not very useful to other readers though. When I tried to be the objective cool-headed reviewer and find the flaws in this book I couldn't. The characters won me over immediately, the pacing kept moving forward (I read this book quickly), everything pushed the story forward, it made me laugh, it made me feel and I just loved it.
For those who like fantasy with strong heroines and are looking for Tamora Pierce meets Jacky Faber, this book is perfect for you. In this book you'll find your next fictional crush (especially if you're into men who treat women with respect), a new fictional best friend and maybe even a favorite novel.