The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke – Review

The Pirates Wish 2

Book Jacket:

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.

You can read an excerpt here.


You know how it is – when you wildly love a first book, you just can’t wait for the sequel, and that for me was The Pirate’s Wish (as its predecessor, The Assassin’s Curse was one of my favorite reads of last year). And so I came to this book massively excited – and yet I found myself disappointed in the end, because this time around the story just fell flat.

So The Pirate’s Wish picks up right where the last book left off, with Ananna and Naji still marooned on a magical island and facing the prospect of trying to break three unbreakable curses – but sadly, pretty much from the start the pacing and plotting of this story lag. Our heroes spend quite a while just sitting around on that magical island, waiting to be rescued – and so the story quickly becomes ALL about The Love Story, and frankly that was a huge problem, because this time around the love story was incredibly stagnant. Much as I love Ananna and Naji, their dynamic in this book is MASSIVELY repetitive: Ananna knows she’s in love with Naji, but also “knows” he doesn’t love her back, and so she gets embarrassed, and then Naji pulls away/is a jerk, and then again, she gets embarrassed, and Naji pulls away/is a jerk – and it gets real old, real fast. And there’s just nothing more to it: there’s no real development to their relationship, no new reveals about who they are or why they’re right for each other – no, it’s basically just Ananna sitting around and waiting for Naji to “like” her. And that drove me crazy, because it felt like it just wasn’t our Ananna – our feisty, forthright, take-action pirate girl from the first book was certainly not the type of girl to be so PASSIVE – and yet for the entirety of this book, that’s exactly what she is. And so I spent this entire book missing the Ananna/Naji dynamic of the first book, missing how Ananna constantly surprised Naji, and called him on his BS, and how slowly she figured him out – THAT, to me, was romantic. But this, this just wasn’t.

So take away the romance, and what’s left of this book? The sad answer is, not much, because what should have been the other driving force of this story – breaking the unbreakable curses – in truth is an afterthought. The curses just do not figure that largely in this story, as The Angsty Romance is always firmly center stage – and so there was no plot, really, when it came to breaking the curses; no real sense of struggle, of danger and despair, of impossible hardships to overcome or battles to be won – no, instead, the curses were broken because A Magical Solution would fall neatly into Ananna and Naji’s laps at the opportune time. No joke – the last one was particularly egregious – and the convenience of that contrivance, that happy coincidence, just punctured any sense of urgency or drive in this story, and left us with a flat tire of a plot. And so this story is more a gentle amble than an urgent quest – though Clarke does bring an enjoyable hue and originality to her fantasy world, and on a sheer tourist level I very much enjoyed the scenery (and I LOVED the Sphinx – she was easily my favorite part of the book), but all in all it just wasn’t enough to disguise the fact that this story drags. And frankly, that left me underwhelmed.

So in the end, much as I care about these characters and their fates, and as much as I was willing to see this story though to the end, Angsty Romance and Magical Solutions just were not enough. Suffice it to say, this story did not live up to its predecessor – and I just can’t help but mourn the lost potential.

Byrt Grade:B+

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Kirkus Reviews says:

Thrilling action combines with surprising character revelations in this satisfying sequel.

The Readventurer says:

While I applauded the kiss coming so early in the story, the pages and pages of angst which occurred after the kiss did start to feel tiresome to me. The battles (always occurring just in time to prevent something important from happening) were small and unexciting. The cures for the curse felt anticlimactic and unimaginative (and sometimes rather silly: see talking sharks)…This was a bit of a let-down for me after the brilliance of The Assassin’s Curse, but it was still a fun ride.

The Nocturnal Library says:

…somehow, somewhere along the line, the feisty, courageous, unique Ananna was lost. In her place, The Pirate’s Wish brings an almost unrecognizable, surly, petulant girl. The Ananna we all remember would never allow a boy to turn her into a whiny mess, but this Ananna, the new version, did exactly that.