The Assassin's Curse is really a rich, and solid fantasy read. It was a nice book to read in the sense that it captured my attention every time I opened the book, though not in the sense that it was a complete page-turner. When I had the book, I very comfortably immersed myself into the story but when I didn't have the book it wasn't begging for me to read it or lingering in my mind.
I think some parts of the story were under-developed. The world sounds very interesting what with the Confederation of Pirates and the Empire along with the magic but it wasn't explained. I didn't see much history or almost any explanation and that made it hard for me to imagine the surroundings and thus make it more real in my head. I kind of found it weird that a fantasy-ish novel didn't feel very much like fantasy because the most fantastical part -- the world -- wasn't really explained. It's especially confusing considering how dynamic the premise is. This is an awesome world -- the pirates, the magic, the Mists and it could have been a really strong part when it came to the book. I do hope in sequels there will be more explanations. I don't think it would bog down the plot either. The Assassin's Curse was relatively short (or at least it felt that way). I think it would add some more depth to a pretty good plot.
There was a genuinely interesting story. Ananna doesn't want to marry the guy her parents choose so she runs away and then an assassin is sent to kill her but instead she ends up saving his life thus initiating a curse. Ananna and Naji's story was really interesting. They both had their own story and strengths and didn't know how to deal with the other. I get the feeling that they were both very lonely so it was nice when they found each other. One issue both characters have is communicating. Naji has a hard time trusting Ananna and telling her anything (which is quite annoying) while Ananna is often in her own world and doesn't seem to notice. I did like both characters though. I liked reading of their insecurities and their personalities. Ananna is a strong character. She is very blunt and confident, and she can take care of herself. I enjoyed reading of her independent attitude.
Plot wise, I like the story. It was a good debut story though now that I've read the ending it's very obvious this was a 'set up' story. The characters are introduced, the general story arc is introduced, and we get a glimpse of the world. By the end of the book not much is resolved but some important information is learnt that will obviously influence the rest of the books. The bad thing about about this kind of plot is that the first book is a bit like a long intro. A lot of important stuff happens, but the overall story isn't furthered and the whole tension and suspense level is pretty slow. The Assassin's Curse was entertaining, but it's not yet spectacular.
I can't emphasize how much I loved the premise. It was seriously great in every way and I think that the sequel to this book will be much better with more descriptions of the world as well as the story arc firmly established and expanded. Till then, I liked this book so I'll give it 3 stars.