I liked this book; I liked the world created, it was very Arabian-like. Ananna is a MC that readers are going to like or hate, I think.
I liked her. She is a real pirate, born and raised. She has a sullen, impulsive, honest personality, too honest sometimes that it is closed to rudeness. But she is also brave and knows how to fight, she does not hesitate when she makes up her mind and she is very determined to get what she wants. I admit that at first I was not very excited with all her "ain't" but eventually, I appreciated that she talks like a pirate should.
Her adventure starts almost immediately: she runs away from an arranged marriage. In her run, she meets Naji, an assassin hired to kill her. But accidentally, she saves his life, and because of a curse he carries, they are bound together.
One of the things I liked best was that, although this is a YA book, romance is not an important factor. Ananna does not like beautiful people; she distrusts them, so she is not a heroine who goes head-over-heels over a pretty face. Throughout her journey with Naji she doesn't have any romantic, silly notions. Only at the end of the book she realizes her feelings for Naji, which seems a bit out of nowhere, considering that she never worries all the times he is close to death. In fact, she may have fallen in love with him, but I don't think that she likes him.
So, so far, it is a one-side love only. Naji, while being nice and protective to her, and having all these enjoyable bickerings with Ananna, doesn't look like a romantic interest. He is still a bit lovesick over a witch who likes to mess up with him, since he lost all his good looks (he has a burn scar in his face that depresses him).
Best of the book: the cover doesn't mislead; it is really about pirates, assassins; there is magic, deaths, escapes, villains, adventure, masks, curses, charms.
Worst of the book: the pace is slow sometimes. Like, it starts excellent, with an escape and fights, but then it slows down when Naji and Ananna go through the dessert; it is just OK with Leila the witch; then it is all going well with the pirates, but then it slows down again in the island.
And although I like Naji (he is nice, I like his looks, his magic and skills) he is useless most of the times. Because of the curse, he suffers physically when Ananna is in danger, and as it happens all the time, he is weak and close to death almost always. So Ananna is the one who has to put them together, has to take care of both of them, and it is difficult when she needs to go away for a while, but having to worry for Naji and his headaches for being in dangerous situations.
Nevertheless, it is a good debut for a new author, and now I am going for the 2nd book.