ARC provided by Strange Chemistry through Netgalley
Hanna Euli grew up listening to wondrous stories of the adventures of Ananna, the great pirate queen with whom her mother had sailed before settling down with her father.
An apprentice to Kolur, a fisherman, Hanna dreams of being a witch. Possessing a special affinity with the south wind, Hanna keeps practising her spells during her free time, between hauling the day's catch and tending to the sails of the Penelope, Kolur's boat.
When the Penelope gets caught in a storm and thrown off course, Hanna starts suspecting Kolur is more than the mere fisherman he claims to be. Especially when he brings Frida, a witch from his mysterious past, on board of the Penelope.
But trouble is just starting for Hanna, who finds herself being followed by an ethereally beautiful... merboy?
Having absolutely loved Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Assassin's Curse duology (it made it into my Best Reads of 2013 list), I was delighted to discover I wouldn't have to leave that series' universe just yet!
Though different from Ananna, I loved Hanna just as dearly.
Ananna was more impulsive, her life was pretty adventurous before The Assassin's Curse's events, what with her being a pirate's daughter.
Hanna was easier to relate to: her life is mundane. There is a set and dull fate she is expected to take. But she never gives up, she doesn't just set aside the banality of everyday life for a great adventure, we see her make time within her ordinary life, to train so she can achieve the extraordinary things she wants. We need more characters like her in YA!
And then there is Isolfr, the merboy... or perhaps not a merboy, but not quite human - who came from a palace in the sky. He was interesting, but all the effort that went to keep everything so mysterious meant his relationship with Hanna didn't feel as strong as it should have been...
I didn't like how we, along with Hanna, were kept in the dark for most of the book. The Mists never really felt threatening enough to warrant the slow pace. As a reader, instead of feeling more engaged with the story, I felt more and more disconnected from it.
Perhaps that was what I felt was missing in The Wizard's Promise. I wasn't as invested in the story. While the whole atmosphere felt right in The Assassin's Curse, whether the characters were in the desert, an enchanted island, or at sea - in The Wizard's Promise I never really felt there with them. It lacked that... spark - I don't have another word for it - that made The Assassin's Curse books shine so brightly.
Then again, I remember raising The Assassin's Curse's rating after I read The Pirate's Wish... Perhaps Cassandra Rose Clarke's duologies are meant to be read as one single work, and a reader never fully appreciates the first one until having finished the second? We shall see!
It's still a delightful book, and I certainly cannot wait to get my hands on The Nobleman's Revenge. So, if you're a fan of Cassandra Rose Clarke's writing, do not miss this book!
Cassandra Rose Clarke's official site
Buy The Wizard's Promise
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