Title: The Witch's Betrayal
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: An e-book original short story set before The Assassin's Curse.
You've read The Assassin’s Curse. You've met Naji. Now go back in time and see Naji in his earlier years, as he seeks a target and ends up clashing with Leila, the river witch.
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I really liked The Assassin's Curse, and I really liked Naji. And this story really just made me like him even more. Clark does a really excellent job of portraying Naji as an assassin with a conscience, which I can't imagine is very easy to do.
In The Assassin's Curse, I was really interested in the history between Leila and Naji, and this short story pretty much answered all of the questions I had there! Plus, you get to learn how his face becomes scarred. I thought it was actually very noble, and I did not like Leila's reaction (although I kind of expected it). It's really interesting to learn so much about her even though she's only present for a few pages. It will be really interesting to see if she makes another appearance in the rest of the series, since I think she's just as intriguing as Naji and Ananna, and I'm glad we got to see more of her.
The world building is also excellent, even though this was just a short story. Anyone who has read The Assassin's Curse is already familiar with Naji's world, but I think this story adds quite a bit more depth to it. Seeing Naji use his magic, and travel in the shadows, is pretty cool.
I can't wait for The Pirate's Wish, and I really hope it includes some chapters from Naji's point of view! I would definitely recommend this story to any fans of The Assassin's Curse. And if you haven't read that book yet... If you like pirates, magic, desert-like fantasy lands, assassins, mystery, or any combination of these things, you should definitely pick up both! A strong 4/5 here.