After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
The Pirate’s Wish is the concluding volume to the duology Cassandra Rose Clarke started with The Assassin’s Curse. In the past year I’ve been very impressed with Clarke’s work; both The Assassin’s Curse and The Mad Scientist’s Daughter were amazing and as such, The Pirate’s Wish had a lot to live up to. And Clarke didn’t disappoint. It was great to return to Ananna’s and Naji’s story and see how it all plays out. With a recurring role for my favourite secondary character from the last book and some excellent new additions, I really loved the time I spent inside The Pirate’s Wish‘s pages.
Throughout both The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish we’ve seen Ananna grow up and mature. I love that she remains flawed – she’s irritable, has a quick temper and is stubborn – but learns to temper those flaws with patience and empathy, even if this was enforced by outside stimuli rather than an innate development. The romance between Naji and Ananna is lovely and the way there are so many moments where miscommunication or secrecy keeps them apart didn’t feel contrived or irritating, it seemed to fit their personalities and their story. While Ananna only grew stronger in this book, I found Naji’s development a little incomplete. Despite the further entanglement of their lives, he still largely remains a mystery to Ananna, especially his history. I would have loved to have learned more about that, but then again that might be inherent to the limitations of a first person narration.
The secondary characters were awesome. I already liked Marjani and she was quite interesting in this story too, as she adds some much needed almost unconditional support for Ananna. Her background, which we learn more of in this book, was fascinating and I would love to read her story, about her banishment and her seemingly impossible love. As an aside, I loved that this relationship turns out to be not so impossible after all. Coincidentally, there is a novella available that relates one of Marjani’s adventures. Similarly, I adored the manticore Ongraygeeomryn, as she is such a delicious beast and so very, very feline in her manners and yet fiercely loyal. She’s also quite funny and I loved her imperious nature. I would have loved to have seen more of manticore society, though I realise that it wouldn’t have fit the book. The one character which I couldn’t decide whether I loved them or hated them was Jeric, the Empire soldier turned pirate. Much like Ananna, I just couldn’t figure out whether he had bad intentions or was an unexpected ally, something which made him all the more interesting as a character.
My one problem with the narrative would be that in this half of the duology the feeling of a quest being full-filled is far stronger than in the previous one. Where in the previous book the question was largely how the curse could be broken, in this book it’s a question of ticking off the requirements one by one. While some of the events of the book are surprising, others are rather convenient, especially the way they acquire the starstones. While this wasn’t such a problem that it threw me out of the story, I did find it a noticeable contrast.
The Pirate’s Wish has a bittersweet ending, which left no doubt that Ananna retains her own agency, despite loving Naji deeply. To say more would spoil it for you, but I was very impressed by the way Clarke ended the story. I’ve really enjoyed discovering the world Clarke has built in her debut duology. I’m glad I still have both her eShorts, The Witch’s Betrayal and The Automaton’s Treasure to look forward to, but I’m still hoping she might return to this world in the future. One thing is for sure though, whether it’s YA or adult, Cassandra Rose Clarke is one of my new must-read authors and I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of her.
This book was provided for review by the publisher.