cover image Magic of Blood and Sea

Magic of Blood and Sea

Cassandra Rose Clarke. Saga, $17.99 trade paper (544p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6172-6

This high-seas picaresque, an omnibus of two previously published novels, is replete with assassins, blood magic, manticores, talking sharks, and pretty much anything else a reader might imagine. While fighting for her life, Ananna, a young pirate woman, accidentally saves Naji, the man sent to kill her. This act triggers a curse laid on him years before: Naji has to protect her life at all costs, and knowing Ananna’s in danger causes him incapacitating pain. After battles on land and sea, a wizard on a floating island tells Naji and Ananna that the curse can only be broken by completing three impossible tasks. Naji and Ananna’s relationship grows fraught as they get nearer to completing the tasks—one of which, of course, is to experience true love’s kiss. Missteps and miscommunications dog their slow-burn romance at every turn. Clarke’s world is a hodgepodge of genre tropes, and the plot is similarly jumbled, resolved by an unlikely deus ex machina. Some readers will thrill to this adventure; others might find it wearying. (Feb.)