Ananna is the only daughter of the leaders of the Tanarau pirate clan. When her parents try to marry her off to the son of the Hariri clan, Ananna chooses to flee both families and the arranged marriage. The Hariri are so angered, they send a magic-using assassin after her. But when the assassin, Naji, confronts Ananna and she accidentally saves his life, he becomes bound to her through a powerful, magical curse. They set out on a quest to break this "impossible curse," all the while fleeing the angry Hariri clan and strange, otherwordly beings with a mysterious agenda.
The Assassin's Curse is the fast-paced, swashbuckling first book in a fantasy series by Cassandra Rose Clarke, full of weird magic and loads of snarky dialogue. It has one of the most distinctive narrative voices I've read in a long time and a fun Sinbad the Sailor-meets-Pirates of the Caribbean-meets-Firefly feel. Ananna is a smart, savvy, witty, completely unpretentious protagonist who kicks all kinds of butt and is anything but a delicate flower. Naji is a nice play on the mysterious, stoic hero. He's dark and unreadable, but also sensitive, artistic, and not always sure of himself. Both main characters, as well as most of the minor characters, show lots of depth, and the world-building is lush and strange. Add all of that to a plot that has the breakneck pacing of a pulp magazine story, and you've got one hell of a fun ride.