A pirate princess and a cursed assassin find their fates intertwined in this gorgeous and thrilling adventure.
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an ally pirate clan. She wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to a handsome and clueless man. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns that her fiancé’s clan has sent an assassin after her.
And when this assassin, Naji, finally finds 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 to complete three impossible tasks that will cure the curse.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must face the repercussions of betraying her engagement that set her off on her adventures. Together, the two must break the curse, escape their enemies, and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
This high-seas picaresque, an omnibus of two previously published novels, is replete with assassins, blood magic, manticores, talking sharks, and pretty much anything else a reader might imagine. While fighting for her life, Ananna, a young pirate woman, accidentally saves Naji, the man sent to kill her. This act triggers a curse laid on him years before: Naji has to protect her life at all costs, and knowing Ananna's in danger causes him incapacitating pain. After battles on land and sea, a wizard on a floating island tells Naji and Ananna that the curse can only be broken by completing three impossible tasks. Naji and Ananna's relationship grows fraught as they get nearer to completing the tasks one of which, of course, is to experience true love's kiss. Missteps and miscommunications dog their slow-burn romance at every turn. Clarke's world is a hodgepodge of genre tropes, and the plot is similarly jumbled, resolved by an unlikely deus ex machina. Some readers will thrill to this adventure; others might find it wearying.
Great read, can't wait for the next books set in this world.