Series: The Assassin's Curse #0.5
Published: 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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The Witch’s Betrayal is a short story set in the same world as Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse duology. One of the main characters in The Assassin’s Curse is Naji, an assassin who wields powerful blood magic to hunt down his prey. In the previous books, Clarke mentions that Naji’s face is heavily scarred, but doesn’t go into any detail as to why. The Witch’s Betrayal tells the story of how Naji acquired his scars and reveals additional insights into his relationship with the witch Leila.
One day, Naji is given an assassination assignment that’s supposed to be routine. It turns out to be much more difficult than anticipated. Naji is seeking a man who is the epitome of evil and leaves a trail of dead prostitutes in his wake. This is a man who won’t hesitate to use dark magic to hide himself from pursuit. Naji has to practice dangerous magic of his own if he wants to track down his quarry, but this magic comes at a cost…
It was so interesting to get more insight into Naji and Leila’s relationship. In The Assassin’s Curse, we can see that Leila isn’t a very nice person (narcissistic bitch is my preferred description), but that Naji has had a history with her and still hasn’t gotten over it.
The Witch’s Betrayal also gives us a chance to see Naji acting within his profession and to get an idea of his motivations. We see the assassins as more than just killers–they are more like the MI6 of this fantasy world, and are used to stop wars before they can start. Recently the assassins have fallen upon hard times and are more like traditional mercenaries, but this particular assignment gives Naji a chance to fulfill his original purpose, and the fact that he is being sent to right a great injustice drives him to stop at nothing until his mission has been accomplished.