ARC Review: The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Clarke


Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series Name: Hanna Duology
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry, Angry Robot Books
Source: ARC from Netgalley
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All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.


I do admit that there are times I do judge a book by its cover. I am easily attracted to vibrant, well-drawn or well-edited layouts, and if one caught my eye, you sure can bet that it also caught my full attention, and I am more likely to check it out rather than walk pass it. That’s pretty much what happened between me and The Wizard’s Promise in a nutshell. I mean, dude. DUDE. Look at that beauty. It totally gives off that Magical Fantasy aura, and not to mention, the ocean-like colors give it such a cool feel. Even though I didn’t like The Assassin’s Curse, a series of books that Cassandra Clarke has also authored, I requested and hoped that the content was as good as the cover.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t smooth sailing, this book and I (get it? SAILING? … okay you probably don’t get the pun, but more than half of this book was spent in a ship wandering the seas sooo… yeah…). Forget the fact that it’s set in the same universe as The Assassin’s Curse (which I threw in the DNF pile 15% in; sorry, Ananna, but you just tick me the heck off), it just left me feeling… empty and void, like I just consumed something that seemed terribly pointless. It’s not a bad book per se; I reckon loyal fans of the author’s writing would likely find it enjoyable. I, unfortunately, found it annoying and a wee bit boring.

And I am saying that mildly.

What’s it about?

Hanna is a fisherwoman-in-training, her mentor being Kolur, a well-known fisherman. While she toils left and right to catch swimming creatures, what she really wants is to be a Witch, especially since she has a strong affinity with the Wind. She can summon and command it to do her bidding, a feat proven useful when sailing the high seas. She, however keeps this tidbit to herself.

One day, she was summoned by her Master to go fishing, which usually lasts for 2-5 days. What was supposed to be a simply fishing trip drastically changed when bones of fortune-telling were thrown and a magical force whisked them off -course, and the next thing Hanna knew she was a long ways from home. Another Witch, one who had a strong affinity with BOTH the wind and the sea , soon joined them, off to join her Master do an “errand” he decided on a whim, to lands beyond her wildest imagination.

That is, if the creatures of the Mists don’t get to them first…

Dun dun duuuun…

Well?! How was it?

Dull. Amazingly dull.

Is this surprising? It sure was to me. For such a wonderful cover that pretty much skyrocketed my expectations, I had thought there to be some action, some adventure, heck, maybe some plot. But what I got was a book about a snarky and rude teenager (who kept on throwing sarcasm at her Master and another dude who didn’t really deserve it rawr) riding the seas for more than 50% of the book. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the plot kept on going, but our long, arduous voyage aboard the Penelope was just full of her repetitive thoughts and action. She’d fix the sails, look at the sea, sleep in the cabin, call on the wind, glare at her Cap’n, throw a snarky comment, gaze at the sea again, fix the sails, call on the wind, sleep in the cabin, rinse repeat wash with Mr. Clean ten times over.


Of course, some may argue that there were some “events” that transpired in the book. Like, come on, they got whisked away by somethingSomething got on their deck! They got washed ashore somewhere! I acknowledge all those, but honestly, these were just little details (and I guess Hanna had to do something else aside from fixing the sails) and the overall “plot” was just useless, in my very humble opinion. It pretty much just comprised of her being convinced to do something 95% of the book, and her agreeing to do it at the very end.

It’s not that it was bad, it’s just that half of the book felt so meaningless, like, is-this-part-even-necessary meaningless. It didn’t feel like there were any direction at all. Not to mention, so much of the book were about Hanna’s actions. I mean, I love her internal narration that talked about HER (and I mean the REAL her), every time the book decided to insert some. She may have come across initially as an entitled nitwit who thought the world revolved around her but I eventually grew to like her and even understood her frustrations. But the overall goal of this book could have been met halfway, if not for the unnecessary step-by-step description of the characters’ doings. So, yes, forgive me for saying it, but if those exhausting repetition were cut off, I’m pretty sure we could have inserted more plot here aside from her finally agreeing to something she vehemently didn’t want to do for, um, pretty much the majority of the book.

do like the world-building, so there’s that. It’s an interesting world where magic comes naturally and is part of nature. I liked how even though magic is rampant, it’s not something that’s easily abused to gain an advantage over others. I also liked how it’s used for simple tasks: calling the wind to sail to a particular direction, summoning a bit of fire to warm the people on a chilly day, casting preservation charms on freshly-caught fish or protection charms to shield you from harmful external forces. I liked it a lot. It’s just too bad some annoying factors greatly overshadowed this aspect.


Well, it was a disappointing read. I probably should’ve expected it, given I wasn’t impressed with The Assassin’s Curse, but I was really hoping and praying to the high heavens that this experience would be different. Unfortunately, the writing, pacing, and “plot” of this book left me feeling empty and bored out of my mind, to the point that it felt like it was raining inside my head. I’m not certain whether or not I’ll read the next book, but I probably will just to see if the plot will actually emerge now. At this point, however, I’m not feeling confident about it.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.3
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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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    • FayeFaye says

      I’m so sorry, too :( I expected so much, considering Cassandra Clarke is pretty much a decorated author now. Oh, well. At least I found a reason to use the deer. Mwahahaha!

    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, I know what you mean. There have been so many covers out there with amazing stories but are represented by a badly-made cover (Blood Song comes to mind, when it was still self-pubbed). I should’ve been more mature about it :P

    • FayeFaye says

      Ugh, please don’t get me started on The Assassin’s Curse. I really don’t see what’s so special about it. Oh, well, to each their own preferences :P

  1. says

    PUNS (are my favorite)! So. I requested this galley the day it showed up along with Feather Bound, and I was immediately approved for Feather Bound and denied for this one. Both from the same publisher. Weird, right? Anyway, I was MAD b/c THIS was the one I REALLY wanted. Unlike you, I haven’t actually gotten around to reading The Assassin’s Curse, but HELLO? Assassins! And fantasy! But . . .

    Another one bites the dust. I’m sorry this was a great, big waste of precious reading time, but hey–I no longer regret being denied, so that’s something (Lolz, I KID). Great review, Faye. Eventually you’ll find that awesome heroine whom you can love and respect. The odds of the next one being the ONE only get higher with every dud, right?
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree DespainMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      WHAT?! How could the great Jessica be denied?! The atrocity! We should be flocking the streets in outrage!!

      I’m glad you won’t be wasting your time with this. I mean it’s not a bad book per se, but knowing you, it’s not something you’d be liking. Thank you so much and I hope I find it soon! The Forever Song is a wee bit annoying at the moment, lol.

        • FayeFaye says

          Awww, I’ll get to it, soon! I’m just too annoyed with Allison right now. She pisses me off so much that I just stop reading and look for something else to do to calm my mind LOL

  2. says

    Oh man, I have this and I have been so excited since I heard about it almost a year ago. Such a shame because of the ‘somethings.’ I hate the ‘somethings,’ there are few books that make vagueness work for me.
    Stuti recently posted…The RivermanMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      You can still try it out, Stuti! If you’re a fan of Clarke, you’ll probably find it way more enjoyable than I did.

  3. says

    Yikes. This was something I put on my TBR list from some one else’s moderate review. Like you, I was drawn like a moth to a flame by the cover. I’m sorry it was a sucky read for you. I hate when that happens. I think I’ll be taking it off my TBR list….
    Charlie recently posted…Guest Post: Mysti ParkerMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      If the things I said are bad in your book, yeah, you’re better off reading something else. I hear Clarke’s MAD SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER is pretty good, so maybe start with that?

  4. says

    And I wanted to read it. Thanks heaven, that I have such amazing reviewers around me. I mean like you I was like in love with it. THAT COVER. But I don’t think I could go through dull and meaningless. It’s okay if books has some parts which are like that (it’s not, but yeah let’s say it is) but big part of it. No. So sorry you were disappointed by it. Great review, Faye.
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: The Here and Now by Ann BrasharesMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you, Tanja. I’m thankful for reviewers as well that take one for the team! I guess it was my turn this time :P I don’t think I can again either… not after this one ><

  5. says

    First, I have to admit that I’m a cover… err… can I say that rude word that starts with s and finishes with t?;) Yep, if there is no pretty cover, I don’t notice it. I know shallow, but I can’t help myself.

    I laughed my ass of while I was reading your review – hands down for sticking with it until the end. I’d probably DNFed it. I don’t have patience anymore for the books that annoy me.
    Great review, Faye.
    Glass recently posted…(Quote of the Week) Bloodfever by Karen Marie MoningMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Same here; same here! I love pretty covers. I can be shallow like that as well, but like you, I just can’t help it. My eyes get all glittery when it sees beautiful covers.

      Thanks, Glass!: )

  6. says

    Oh Faye…you’re hilarious! xD I think that deer eating popcorn just made my day! ;)

    I’m so sad this one didn’t work for you though! It’s always annoying when a plot drags out for longer than it needs to…especially when the book is slowly paced. And expecting something from a book and getting something entirely different is always a bummer as well…

    At least the world-building was good!

    I think this is going to be a miss for me, but thanks for another amazing review Faye! :D
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Maybe One DayMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I’m glad the deer eating popcorn has amused many people :”>

      Yeah, it definitely could have been shortened A WHOLE LOT. There were just too many stuff that were being repeated over and over and over and over and it felt never-ending. I’m actually surprised I finished this, considering I don’t hesitate to DNF lol

  7. says

    This is a fantastic review but there’s nothing worse than a book that’s disappointing and the gifs are awesome! I think I could communicate with gif’s alone. ;)

  8. says

    I fall prey to the pretty covers too, Faye! I can’t help it sometimes, lol. This is a gorgeous cover, but it seems very middle grade to me, and your review makes me think this is best suited for a younger YA crowd. Sorry this didn’t work for you. I can see how the premise would attract, with high adventure on the seas, but an annoying protag would discount most fun for me, too. Great honest review. Love the dear gif! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Showcase Sunday #48My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Woot, a kindred spirit! /hugs you very tightly

      It does seem that way, doesn’t it? It’s weird but I’m actually liking a lot of Middle Grade covers recently (also helps some of those MG I read were very very well-written). The MC would definitely ruin the fun especially since she’s the narrator for the whole duration. Ugh, can you imagine the torture? /shakes head

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. says

    I’m always a sucker to a beautiful cover to Faye, but with all the amount of fantasy books that I’ve been reading, I think I would too be highly intrigued by this book. I had way too many review books, so didn’t request this one, but I think the bland scenes, repetitiveness and no real sense of direction would totally put me off too. Thank you for taking one for the team! I hope your next book is a lot more enjoyable!
    Jasprit recently posted…Showcase Sunday #48My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I’m glad to know I won’t be alone in my sentiments if you were ever to read this one. I was actually afraid of reviewing it so soon given there have been no other reviews yet. I hope I won’t be the black sheep ><

    • FayeFaye says

      Hey, Legend by Marie Lu actually has a pretty decent cover! Perhaps too simple, and I guess you won’t really know what it means if you didn’t read the book. It’s too dependent on symbolism. thanks, Ella!

  10. says

    Eeeeee… count me out on this one. If you were frustrated I would be furious. Books like this tend to bring out the worst in me, ha. I can’t stand dull, long winded books and although I like fantasy, this one sounds pretty confusing (along with all the other negatives)

    And don’t worry, that cover would have totally sucked me in, too!
    Alise recently posted…Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Hahaha, they do to bring out the worst in me, too! I mean I’m a good person, I usually try to find something positive about a book, but if it’s bad, it’s bad, and I can only say what’s needed to be said. Oh well.

  11. says

    Yikes! I feel your angst. I’m very patient when it comes to books, and I try to finish even when I’m bored. Heck, I even finished War & Peace, and Gone With the Wind, but I just hate repetitive actions :/ Yikes!

    But the cover is gorgeous. It reminds me of Pan’s Labyrinth’s poster, though! So sorry you had a boring time with this one, Faye!
    Goldie recently posted…Review: Don’t Even Think About ItMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      HAHAHA, wow! You finished those two? Really? You really do have more patient than me, my friend. And for that, I greatly applaud you :D

      I have no idea what Pan’s Labyrinth’s poster is, but I feel like checking it out now!

    • FayeFaye says

      HAHA yes, I’m very outspoken about the things I read :D forgive me if I’m spamming your feed with my rants lololol. It does suck, yes :(

  12. says

    I only skimmed your review, Faye, because I’ll be reading this soon. I’m sad to hear this didn’t work for you, Faye. I got the book off NG because that cover is gorgeous. I actually enjoyed The Assassin’s Curse, so I’m hoping I will enjoy this one as well. But not every book is for everyone and you gave some good points as to why you didn’t like it much.
    Hope your next book is better!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Haha! We cover-judgers have it bad :P I have a very positive feeling that you’ll like it, Nick, if you also liked The Assassin’s Curse. It’s set in the same world after all! XD I’ll be looking forward to your review!

  13. says

    Oh man this really doesn’t sound like one for me at all. I agree about the cover though, when I first came upon this review I just sat there staring at it and taking it all in for a while. It’s great to see that you were willing to give this author another go but I’m sad to see that it was such a flop for you as well. Great review! Thanks for the honesty!
    Jenni recently posted…Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava DellairaMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Haha. I’m glad I wasn’t alone in my admiration of it. It really is a well-done creepy, creepiness and all. I’m still willing to give Clarke another chance after this, but I sure won’t be expecting much anymore.

  14. says

    Ohhhh, dang. I saw that cover and I was like, “omg, yes please” and then I went on to read your review and….noooo. No thanks. I will not have a single bite, probably. But that GIF is kind of super adorable. *ahem* I digress! The whole meaningless floating-around-with-no-point plot thing worries me a lot. I don’t think I’d be a happy munchkin reading this. But super entertaining review!! :)
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy (Also: I write an incredibly cryptic review)My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      At least I am consoled that I am not alone in thinking the cover is indeed awesome. But yeah, if that floating-with-no-lot thing isn’t your cuppa, you’re a better off munchkin without this.

  15. says

    I hadn’t even heard of this one. But I’ve got The Assassin’s Curse on my Kindle app, where it’s sat, untouched, since I first tried to read the first few pages and subsequently wanted to strangle the narrator. Was she ever annoying! And the story wasn’t going anywhere fast enough, so I gave up. I keep thinking I’ll get back to it, but I just can’t bear to be in that girl’s head again. I can’t even remember the main character’s name. I just remember she talked funny.

    I’m not sure I like the cover of this book. That dude is creepy. But I might’ve picked it up at some point because the story sounds somewhat interesting and I had forgotten the name of the author who wrote The Assassin’s Curse. Thanks for the warning!
    La Coccinelle recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR ListMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Oh, my goodness. Lord, Buddha, Allah, all gods out there looking at me now in the high heavens, THANK YOU! I’ve found MY kindred!

      I knoooow what you mean. I HATED ANANNA. Right off the first page I wanted to throw her over the ship’s railing and drown her with the piranhas. Screw the plank; off to the waters you go, you raging nitwit! She was just absolutely unlikable! I’m GLAD to know that I am not alone in thinking she was annoying.

      Hey, creepiness aside, you have to comment the drawing! And the way it’s colored! I love the ocean feel, which is probably fitting since majority of the time the book’s sailing anyway haha. You’re welcome!