The Assassin’s Curse is a two book fantasy series combining a plethora of myths from witches to manticores, features a strong female protagonist, romance, and has a diverse set of characters. What more could you want in a Young Adult novel? Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse was first released in October of 2012 and was followed by it’s sequel, A Pirate’s Wish, in June of 2013. For more information on the author and her other works, check out her website. The main character is a teenage pirate by the name of Ananna. She is the strong willed daughter of a pirate captain and his first mate who wishes to someday command her own ship despite that traditionally captains cannot be female.
The plot begins with her forced engagement to the son of another pirate captain. She winds up running away and becomes entangled with an assassin who was meant to kill her, but instead they are forced to go on a journey in which they encounter ghosts, witches, and other dangerous mythical creatures including manticores (a monster part of Indian myth, see Medieval Bestiary). They look something like this:
Ananna is a lovable character. She has big dreams and her own set of morals she tries adamantly to stick to, but she also possesses flaws that make her realistic and relatable. She makes the reader want to cheer her on the whole book even when she stumbles or makes questionable choices. It’s fun to watch her grow up as the story goes on. Besides a very likable protagonist, the book features a diverse cast of characters. There are people of nobility, poor thieves, teenagers, older adults, and even a lesbian couple. The story may take place in a fantasy world, but there is a fairly good representation of the diversity that exists in reality. The only complaint I have is the splitting of the story into two novels that could have easily been done in one, but other than that it’s a wonderful fantasy novel with an engaging plot, developed characters, and great for both older teens and adults.