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Cover Art: Magic of Blood and
Magic of Blood and Sea
By Cassandra Rose Clarke
Saga Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-6172-6, US $17.99
e-book ISBN 978-1-4814-6173-3, US $7.99


Donít get married. Donít trust beautiful people. Choices have consequences.

Getting married isnít Ananna of the Tanarauís idea. Her parents thought this one up. All she wants is to captain her own ship. But the Confederation doesnít allow female captains. But thereís always a way to circumvent rules, especially when youíre a pirate.

Anyway, the second is her hard and fast rule. Tarrin of the Hariri is beautiful. His family wants to elevate the clan, marriage being one way to do so. (Murder and mutiny are the other two.) Since her family ranks higher, this wedding is a business arrangement between parents. Even worse, his clan is the only one that spends more time on land than on water. Born and raised on the sea, she wants to stay there, not sail in the monstrosities they use to navigate on land.

Which brings her back to the first rule. Her only other option is to run, which she does. Even though it means isolating herself from her family. But why dwell on the past? Besides, she can sell her wedding dress for coins to buy what she needs at the market before hightailing it as far from the Hariri as possible.

But choices do have consequences, and reneging on this alliance turns out to be life-changing. More than miffed at this insult, the Hariri hire an assassin to kill her. Luckily, she comes across a shopkeeper who sells her magic vials guaranteed to thwart the assassin. Only they donít work when she comes face-to-face with Naji of the Jadorría. Turns out the shopkeeper hails from the Mists, an Otherworld member whoís been chasing after the assassin for years.

Just as Naji is about to deliver the killing blow, Ananna slays a snake that was about to kill him. Darn! Now instead of executing her, he must protect her. Honor demands it. Ananna only saved him because she HATES snakes. She goes along with his protection, but at the first opportunity sheíll escape. Even though with his scarred face and many tattoos, he is intriguing.

To shield her from danger when heís not with her, Naji uses blood magic to create a charm she can wear around her neck. It will protect her from the Mists, who will entice her to betray him with empty promises, and anyone else the Hariri hire to kill her. But the moment Ananna tries to run away, she discovers the whole truth about the consequence of saving Najiís life. Any danger she faces and any distance she travels from him cause him agonizing pain . . . pain that could kill him.

Their lives intertwined by magic, they set off across the desert together only to run into a hornetís nest of monstrous land ships and Tarrin. He gives her one last chance to marry him, but she refuses. So the two fight, with the rest of the Hariri ships and Naji soon joining in. Another choice with haunting consequences: Ananna wins, but Naji is severely wounded. He knows a river witch who can help heal him, and together they begin the arduous journey to reach the witch in time.

Sheís beautiful, so Ananna doesnít trust her and is even a bit jealous of her, since Naji seems moonstruck over the witch. But Ananna learns one important piece of information that complicates their situation Ė Naji is cursed. And itís an impossible curse, which means it canít be removed. The only one who may be able to help is Wizard Eirnin, who lives on the Isles of the Sky Ė a cold, often sunless, and magical place fraught with danger. Getting there will be a problem, because no sane sailor would dare set foot there. Then thereís the question as to whether the wizard will deign to help them if they can find him. Even if there is a cure, itís probably just as impossible as the curse itself.

Comprised of two stories Ė The Assassinís Curse and The Pirateís Wish Ė Magic of Blood and Sea combines magic, romance, and nautical adventure in such a way that you never want Anannaís and Najiís story to end. Clarke spins a captivating tale of trust, love, friendship, and sacrifice. Her characters seem more than just figments of imagination, and Ananna springs from the pages almost from the first sentence to whisk you away with her. Once Naji joins her, they transport you to their world and yours is forgotten. Together they show that life and love can blossom from the impossible.

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Review Copyrighted ©2017 Cindy Vallar
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