The Queen's Assassin (Signed Book)

The Queen's Assassin (Signed Book)

by Melissa de la Cruz

Hardcover(Signed Edition)

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Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia's deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he's the Guild's most dangerous member and the Queen's one and only assassin. He's also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow—to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts—to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she'll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they're forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they'll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they'll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen's Secret series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593112458
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Edition description: Signed Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 11,067
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including the Alex & Eliza trilogy, Disney's Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at

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The Queen's Assassin (Signed Book) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
PattySmith87 5 days ago
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Young Readers Group, and Melissa de la Cruz for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review of The Queen’s Assassin. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy. First I have to say I didn’t dislike it as much as everyone else seems to be saying, based on their reviews. Now, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t take it so personally when it wasn’t what I was hoping for. First, let me say what a fan I am of Melissa de la Cruz. She is an excellent writer. I think the issue with this is mostly the content. You have very familiar tropes with predictable outcomes and it just doesn’t make for an exciting story. Characters aren’t fully fleshed out and the romance seems forced. I do think it is hilarious that people object to the romance seemingly coming out of nowhere when literally every fairy tale, kids story, etc. all have the two people falling in love from nothing. But hey, if this is now a sign that we are fed up with this and want our romance storylines to be better, I’m all for that. The world was interesting, but for me, not enough was done with this. There was magic all over the land. The king decided that magic shouldn’t be for everyone, and wrote all the magic down in these special scrolls. The world became four different factions who went to war with each other. A nice king finally came into power but got killed in a battle. His queen demands a blood oath of her protector, basically binding him and all his descendants to find the scrolls or die trying. Hence Cal is the son and honor bound to find the scrolls. He is the queen’s assassin and is determined to not get married or have kids because he doesn’t want to pass down what he views as a curse. The queen has a daughter and was very concerned with her safety. She sends her to the forest to grow up with her two aunts. The girl doesn’t know she is a princess but she knows that she must go to court one day and fulfill family obligations like get married and have kids. She wants to be a queen’s assassin more than anything. Circumstances end up that the two crazy kids end up on the road to find the scrolls. Cal thinks he is training the girl, Shadow, to be his apprentice. They have the usual push pull relationship of “I Hate You” “I Love You” and finally uncover a sinister plot for the kingdom. So the world had all kinds of potential. There are assassins, magic, things that repel magic, hidden identities, royalty, but it was really light on all the fantasy elements. The romance was manufactured and therefore didn’t come across the page as well as it could. I’m also not so interested in this trope as it has been overdone and I’m not a fan when the females have no agency. The ending was godawful. I’m not sure if it was rushed but there was a lot of information squished into the last bit. The warring factions could have been introduced earlier and would have made a more interesting story. But the actual ending betrayed all of the characters’ earlier tenets. I really didn’t understand it at all. There is to be a second book. If, somehow, this weird ending is justified in the sequel, then maybe. But you run the risk of no one picking up the second if the first one isn’t enjoyed. There was potential, it just didn’t live up to it in my opinion. But, I wasn’t as turned off as everyone else seemed to be. I was happy to keep reading and finish it. But again, that ending - whew!
Breywar 10 days ago
Melissa De La Cruz and I just aren’t good friends. Genuinely shook that I finished this because this was A LOT. I tried so many times to crack it open and read it. I finished it about a week ago, and it rolled my eyes throughout the entire time, and tried my best to reread it today before writing my review. But I made it halfway and dnfed the reread. Wins: -yes. Wins... okay. The world building. It was a good world. It wasn’t my favorite. I kind of get over the modern day/ magical/ historic esque novels. It was a good world. It wasn’t great. -the characters. Individually I liked Shadow and Cal. They were cute characters. -the plot. It wasn’t anything big or out there, I did like it. Opportunities -insta love. Insta love, we meet again, that’s 2 books in 2 weeks that I read ( I guess 3 if we’re counting the reread). I’m over it, enough is enough. Enough said. -the writing style. Man was that a CHOICE. Shadows pov was in first person, and Cals was in third person. I don’t even know how to explain where, I don’t understand it, but yeah, that was a choice. -the fact that shadow is somehow this bad a character who can cast spells, who can fight and wield a sword... okay. Yeah. Sure. -another hit on the writing style: it felt very juvenile. Shadow randomly talking to the squirrel. The characters thoughts. The fact that Cal was like “wouldn’t want to cut your cute face off and I guess yours is okay too” (that isn’t a direct quote, but it’s pretty close) and Shadow is happy about that. Alright. No, I would probably be mad at my boy for a good few hours after a comment like that. So yeah, me and Melissa De La Cruz are officially breaking up. I didn’t want to sit here and slam her book because I know how much work goes into it, but this was a struggle for me. I wanted so badly to like it, I had high hopes; but it genuinely felt like something a very young teenager had written. Young adult very rarely reads like that to me, and I almost never like it when it goes. Sorry to be so negative on this review, but this wasn’t anywhere near my expectations. Also: can we stop with the insta love and the out of nowhere insanely good at everything female characters
LU 12 days ago
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. Caledon Holt is the queen's assassin, a dangerous weapon, bound by blood to his queen and his promise (the one he inherited from his father) to find the mysterious and important Deian Scrolls and protect his kingdom. Shadow of the Honey blade trained all her life to become a member of the Guild, to fight, to become like Caledon, but her mother and her aunts have other plans for her. When Caledon finds himself in danger, she decided to save him and ask him to become his apprentice, while trying to solve a mystery and a dangerous threat to the throne of Renovia. But, even though they are both bound to the throne, they can't deny their attraction for one other. The queen's assassin is told by two POVs, Shadow's in first person and Cal in third, narrating their adventures, their thoughts, their feeling for one other. I liked this book, because it was interesting and thrilling and I enjoyed the double POVs (even though I didn't understand why one was in third and the other in first person). It's a book about loyalty, love, attraction and I really liked it, even though it was a bit slow in the beginning. Shadow and Cal are captivating, their relationship full of banter, attraction and jokes and I liked a lot how Shadow wasn't the the usual damsel in distress, but was resourceful, brave and brilliant. She and Cal are a very good team. I liked the side characters, above all the aunts! I liked the plot and the writing style, I enjoyed the way the author describes their relationship, the intrigues and the plot twists, the romance! The ending was bittersweet (I guessed the last plot twist) for their relationship and I will definitely reading the next book, because I need to know more.
themagicalpages 19 days ago
The story was enjoyable with great world building and likeable enough characters. My favorite were the Aunts. They so reminded me of the quirky aunts from Practical Magic. The alternating POVs between Caledon, the Queen’s assassin and his apprentice, Shadow, were easy to follow though I didn’t understand why Cal’s was in third person while Shadow’s was in first. The book is titled the Queen’s assassin after all but we don’t get a lot of information about him. He is supposed to be this highly skilled assassin but we hardly get to see him in action. I know this is a YA book but it felt a little too juvenile for me but that’s my personal opinion! Other readers may not feel the same. This would be perfect for a much younger audience as it is very clean. If you are looking for a quick, light fantasy read, The Queen’s Assassin is perfect for that!
Rachel_Denise01 19 days ago
I enjoyed this book as a lighter-YA fiction. It had romance (nothing skeezy), it had suspense, a science-fiction/fantasy component, but also a small HF-like aspect as well. I am looking forward to the follow-up.
ShesGoingBookCrazy 22 days ago
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review. All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. Content Warning: Death of an animal and people, Bullying, War, Assassination, Premarital Sex, Imprisonment "He accepted it, willing himself not to hesitate, and drank of her royal blood. With that, he was bound. As was his son." The Queen's Assassin will certainly catch the eye of readers who love political maneuverings. With a rich and detailed history of how this world has come into being, revealed as the story progresses, many will love this world building. There is a lot of historical information given throughout, giving a further glimpse back in time that set up the events of the present, and what makes them important. At times, The Queen's Assassin teeters on the edge of info-dumping. Yet, all of the information given is necessary. The Kingdoms of Avantine have seen much turmoil throughout history. Before division occurred, Avantine was united under the goddess Deia. Countering her greatness was the cousin of the king of the Dellafiore dynasty—Phras. Envious of his cousin who possessed stronger magical powers, he slew him and took the throne for himself. His lust for power and magic only grew, eventually leading to his title of the Tyrant King. He confiscated any magical text found which were made into scrolls of dark magic named the Deian Scrolls. Only those appointed by the king, the Aphrasian monks, could use magic as it was otherwise forbidden in the land. Some managed to oppose the evil king. A group of witches amassed and became known as the Hearthstone Guild. They saved all the magic that they could, and dedicated themselves to keeping as much knowledge about magic as possible. When the king finally died, the land divided into Renovia, Montrice, Argonia, and Stavin. The monks, dedicated to magic only, became too powerful and began overrunning their nation's leader. At this point, the assumed-deceased line of the Dellafiores rose to power, and fought to free Renovia from the clutches of war. When he died in battle, the crown of authority was passed to his wife, along with his most trusted ally—his assassin. The Queen's Assassin starts out years after the king's passing. The son of the previous assassin is now the assigned assassin to Queen Lilianna. Caledan Holt has long ago scarified his life of normalcy. Being the best of the Guild, and bound to the Queen's bidding by his father's blood oath, he has no other choice. Caledon now must find the lost Deian Scrolls to forever eliminate the threat that the Aphrasians pose toward their kingdom since is father was unable to locate them before passing. One less distinguished, but just as passionate in the Guild, is Shadow. Although she's been brought up to be prepared for court life, she's only ever wanted to become one of the Guild. Having some magical powers of her own, Shadow has been learning to hone her skills to be useful, along with training to become an assassin—just like Caledon Holt. In a way, Shadow gets her wish, when one day she has an unlikely encounter with Caledon and he saves her from being killed. He's a hero to her, but becomes a traitor to the crown when he kills her attacker who turns out to be a prince. Caledon his carted off to an infamous prison to wait
lea_pearl 22 days ago
I'll start by saying there's a lot of backstory to this novel that gets a bit confusing in the beginning, but Melissa de la Cruz really weaves a wonderful story! Shadow wants to be an assassin. She is determined, witty, and self-sufficient: someone you can't help but root for. "Do the most good" Cal is the Queen's personal assassin bound by a blood oath made by his father. "There is no escape from a blood vow" Their worlds merge; creating an adventurous and sometimes humorous story. I had no idea what to expect from this book, and I was pleasantly surprised! The flow of writing (once you get by the history) draws you in and is paced in a way that keeps you wanting to turn each page. If you enjoy royal fantasy, edge-of-your-seat action, tortured love, and sarcastic banter; this is a definite buy. And, the twists near the end...I did not see those coming! This book ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and left me hanging on a cliff. Need the next book now!
HugsandKissesforBooks 22 days ago
That ending was so much more than I expected! Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review The Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz! After the king dies in battle, his best friend makes a bonding vow with the queen to protect her and the royal heir, as well as search for the magical documents and sacred scrolls that have been missing. He has pledged his life and his heir’s life to the queen until the scrolls are found and returned. Eighteen years later, we meet Shadow and Caledon Holt (he’s the best friend’s son, the kingdom’s deadliest weapon and the Queen’s assassin). Shadow is exploring around the Abbey when Caledon saves her life by killing her would-be assassin. The bad thing is that the man Caledon kills is the queen’s brother-in-law, Prince Alast. Alast proves himself a traitor, which is shocking to Caledon. The Queen sends Caledon to Deersia Prison to appease the public and keep the traitorous evidence secret. She wants Caledon to spy and find out where the traitors stem from. Shadow catches a ride to Deersia prison as a stowaway and finds Cal and helps him escape. They move onto Montrice to discover if there’s a spy conspiring against their kingdom and Queen. Shadow and Cal are fun, dynamic characters that work together well but drive each other crazy too. I enjoyed the humor in this book as well as the intrigue and magic. The ending left me ready to read the sequel! 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
Jerricka 24 days ago
I didn't hate it. I enjoyed reading this book for the most part but it had a few issues. I liked Shadow most of the time. She seemed feisty and willing to put in the work to achieve her goals. I liked the build up of the possible relationship between Shadow and Caledon. Everything just seemed to fall short of what it could've been though. Shadow's mood shifted so quickly. Yes, she had the right to get upset and to be sobered by the reality of the situation. It seemed to happen way more than necessary though. And Cal? As the Queen's Assassin with a bit of experience under his belt he seemed a little green. Shadow noticed some things that the master spy didn't? I never felt that was believable. When would she have gained that knowledge. That "big twist"at the end? I thought we knew all along! I must've made the correct assumption in the beginning because I was very confused why it seemed like the book was making it such a big deal. Overall, I felt like it was just okay. Not awful but also not the best it could be. 3.5 stars.
S_Garrity 24 days ago
The Queen's Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz was a fantastic read. This book will probably be one of my favorites for the year and could possibly be the overall favorite. I was hooked from the very first page. The book has two main characters, Caledon and Shadow. Both characters are smart, funny, sarcastic, stubborn and so many other positive and negative qualities. These two characters are very detailed and relatable. It was fun going on a journey with these two characters as they discovered their path in life. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, however, they are all essential to the story. The world building was amazing. This book is easily a movie in my head when I read it. It was hard to get through the first few chapters with all the details, though everything started flowing at a nice pace. The chapters got better and better, with more information introduced and more dilemmas for our two main characters. This is the first De La Cruz book I have read, but it will not the be last! I cannot wait for the next book. Thank you BookishFirst and Penguin for the review copy!
SpinesthatShine 24 days ago
Assassins, Pompous Courtiers, and Romance! 3.5/5 Stars *This review is based on a paperback ARC edition received from the publisher via BookishFirst. All quotes used in this review come from the uncorrected proof. These are my honest opinions. Thank you.* "He is the Queen’s Assassin. And no one is safe from his blade." -Melissa de la Cruz, The Queen’s Assassin Initial Thoughts: Here are a few positive notes to begin with: Overall, I liked this book. You’ll definitely find assassins, pompous courtiers, and romance in this novel! I LOVED the parts about women’s fan etiquette at court! They add a touch of humor and great details to the story! I actually laughed aloud in one scene. Perhaps my fondness of women’s fans stems from research I did about them as an undergrad. They are just so fascinating! The handkerchief symbol between the two main characters is so sweet! Shadow, the lead female character, can communicate with animals! Awesome! Shadow and Cal, the Queen’s Assassin, go undercover as siblings, and it is quite entertaining to read about. The villains in this story are quite interesting, and I am curious what they will do in the sequel. There are some pretty good twists regarding the villains! I also appreciate that the romance in this book is not insta-love. It takes a while for Shadow and Cal to fall in love. What Could’ve Been Done Differently? I understand that a popular author might have a lot of writing deadlines to keep up with, and I love the idea of this novel, but the execution could’ve been much better. Each book is the result of an author’s hard work and effort, but I do have to point out the negatives as well as the positives. While I think the romance in this novel is sweet, I didn’t fully connect with the characters. Cal is bound to the Queen by a blood vow made by his father before him. He cannot be released until he fulfills a certain task. I think Cal could use a bit more personality, as the thing that stands out about him the most is his role as an assassin. For most of her life, Shadow has lived alone with her aunts in the woods. Although it is forbidden by her aunts, she deeply desires to become a Guild assassin like Cal. There are two types of POVs in this book: Shadow’s is first person POV, and Cal’s is third. There were moments in the story when the POVs slightly confused me; it seemed that some sentences or thoughts might fit better in the other person’s POV chapter. It bothered me that the POVs are used to conceal information from the reader. There are info-dumps and many sections with expository writing. I believe a talented, experienced writer such as Melissa de la Cruz is capable of integrating information more smoothly into a story. The pacing feels a bit off, partly due to the info-dumps. There are three beginnings in this novel: a history lesson, then a prologue, and then the first chapter of the book. Final Thoughts: Despite my criticisms, there are still things that I enjoyed about this book, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to read and review it. I liked the romance, and I am curious about what will happen with the villains in the sequel. If you’re looking for a sweet fantasy romance, you might want to give this one a try. Other readers may enjoy it more than I did!
Anonymous 24 days ago
The Queen’s Assassin is a book that portrays the lengths that one will go to in order to keep their values of loyalty, commitment, love alive. The plot is multi-faceted which keeps the reader extremely engaged throughout each different layer of the story. I enjoyed the alternating perspectives that were followed throughout the novel and didn't find myself getting lost or confused in the shuffle at all. I thought the characters were very well-developed and I love that our main character strives to achieve more than her given role. The romance was a nice touch to the book in some places but I didn't always find it completely necessary. I loved this book and I'm really excited to see where this series goes in the future!
marongm8 24 days ago
This book was received as an ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group - G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I am a fan of Melissa de la Cruz and her work so I had really high expectations coming into this book and it did not disappoint. The Queen's Assassin told the story of Caledon Holt being the deadliest weapon and bound to the Queen as her assassin. Shadow is an up and coming star destined to be in the guild but her family destines her to be the lady of the court not an assassin. Cal and Shadow paths cross and just when all was set, their journey takes a whole new turn. Shadow and Cal bond together like never before and their attraction is limitless. Being bound to the queen and bound to the court, their love is at risk and they will stop at nothing to be together once and for all. This book was a fantasy Romeo and Juliet but with more action and drama. Our teen book club will sure to love this book and I know will be talking about it for a long time. We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
Dhammelef 24 days ago
This is my first book by this author and it won't be my last--book two is already high on my reading list for the fall of 2020. Although the beginning was slow (it started with a world-building historical background, after chapter nine this book pick up pace and never slowed down. What a ride! Everything made sense bit by bit and even though I guessed some of the mystery, this book still had more than enough twists and turns to keep me reading. I loved the world. I loved the action. I grew to love Shadow and Caledon both as friends and then their forbidden romance which was perfectly paced for my tastes--slow with friendship first. Each character felt real, even the villains were well drawn. And what I thought was the cliffhanger ending was wrong--the book continued in almost an epilogue fashion and the last sentence made my jaw drop and want to be holding book two immediately. If you enjoy fantasy, action, magic, slow-burn romance, deep friendship, family, mystery and intrigue, I recommend you give this book a chance despite the slow windup at the start.
StephPurry 24 days ago
I received an ARC from the Penguin Teen booth at SDCC 2019. I was not sure what to expect from this book as the reviews on Goodreads are mixed, but I decided to read to read it myself and form my own opinion. The book is told from the two main characters' point of view, Caledon Holt, the Queen's Assassin, and Shadow, a girl who wants to join the Guild and become a spy, just like her mother and aunts. Shadow and Caledon come together in an unconventional way and go on a quest to find the Deian Scrolls, which contain all of the magical knowledge. Along the way, they get into a few fights and use their espionage skills to pretend to be noble people, all while trying not to be found out as spies. The little twist at the end was not super surprising to me as I figured it out at the very beginning, but it did not take away from my enjoyment of the book. I am looking forward to the sequel of this duology.
Anonymous 24 days ago
SYNOPSIS Shadow has wanted nothing more than to be a member of the Guild her entire life. So much that she has been honing her magic skills in secret, hoping that one day she will be allowed to follow in the footsteps of her and mother and become an assassin herself. Caledton Holt is an assassin – the most well-known and dangerous in the Kingdom of Renovia – and he is bloodsworm to find and return the secreti Deia Scrolls to the Queen. This curse has been passed down from his father who failed in that task while he was alive. Shadow idolizes Cal and wishes to train under him, but her aunts will not allow it. Shadow’s dreams begin to come true, though, as the two are brought together by a twist of fate. Now they must work together to root out a traitor and save the kingdom… but being a team is not as easy as it seems. A Queen’s Assassin is a coming-of-age story of romance and danger, as a deadly assassin and his would-be apprentice uncover secrets, make friends and enemies, and encounter magical beings in an effort to protect their kingdom… and their love for one another. REVIEW If I could review this book in one word it would be: angst. Both of the main characters are anxiety-ridden for many reasons. Shadow is worried about her future, trying to balance her family’s expectations with her own dreams. Cal is working toward completing his task for the Queen and fulfilling his father’s blow vow, which seems like an impossible task. Then, once they meet they are both struggling with their feelings for each other: curious, enthralled, annoyed, smitten, annoyed again, obsessed, etc. Even the main narrative is a kind of angsty plot. The Queen discovers there is a traitor who is planning on betraying the Kingdom and sends Cal to root them out. Through a series of unlikely events Shadow latches on to him, and they make the journey together. The people of the Kingdom are full of apprehension about this when word gets out of a traitor, and it is expressed many times throughout the book. Overall, I thought this was a good book. The plot kept me interested, I felt vested in the characters, and the writing was decent. Reading it felt like a typical YA fantasy, which is not necessarily bad. It was an average read with no major flaws. My favorite part of this book was the ending. I did not expect it to end the way it did, and I was pleasantly surprised. That bumped it up a notch for me. I recommend The Queen’s Assassin for all fans of YA Fantasy, especially those looking for angsty stories with slow-burn romances.
Mizzyred 24 days ago
The Queen's Assassin is exciting! I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this book via Bookish First. I have read a few other books by this author and so I was pretty sure that I would enjoy this book as well. And I did! The story is told in two alternate viewpoints, that of Cal and Shadow. Cal is the Queen's Assassin and Shadow is a girl with a secret who wants to be an apprentice to Cal and join the Guild in protecting the kingdom of Renovia. Shadow was a strong character and I liked reading about her, except when she got envious during hers and Cal's mission to find the one that was trying to bring war to the kingdom. Their love seemed a little bit forced and fast too. Cal was deadly and cool and I think he got the short end of the stick a lot from the queen when he did what she wanted and then got punished for it. Seems silly to do that to your personal assassin. I want to know more about the kingdom and its history, especially with the magic. And since the book ended with the cliffhanger about the villain, I really want to read the next book and see if he gets what is deserved. It was a fun book to read and I look forward to the next one.
Anonymous 24 days ago
A boy who is trained in the art of death, sent to kill the enemies of the Queen of the Kingdom and a girl who appears as nothing more than a country girl but has been training to become apart of the Guild for years. They embark on a journey to save their kingdom from another magical war and on the way encounter friendship, deception, love betrayal and that's just between the two of them. ➽ Cal - The Queen's Assassin due to a blood oath passed from his father to him. He serves the Queen well and is accomplished in the Guild. One fatal error lands him in hot water with the general public though and he is sent to Deeria prison on a top secret mission. The kingdom of Montrice is thought to be aiding the Aphrasian uprising and it's up to him to figure out who. The stakes are high and if caught the Queen will not come to his aid. ➽ Shadow - A country girl who lives in the outskirts of the kingdom with her adoptive aunts who are Guild members like her mother, who she rarely sees due to her work at the palace. She wants nothing more than to be a Guild member, a top assassin like Caldon Holt, but her mother has other plans for her at court. While out exploring the Aphrasian Abbey one day she discovers they are once more at large and is witness to Cal's crime against the kingdom. He is sent to the top prison for his actions, which Shadow deems cruel since he was only saving her. To repay his actions and make her own dreams come true, she sets out to Deersia to help Cal escape and become his apprentice. The Queen's Assassin was odd for lack of a better term. It felt like an attempt at a debut novel, someone just getting into writing (no offense to debut authors I've read some of the best novels from debut authors). The book is told in a dual-POV, which I usually love because it's nice to know how both characters feel or what they're thinking. That being said Shadow's POV is in first person while Cal's is in third person? It kind of felt like two different books. It was jarring and made it very hard to get into the book. I've seen multiple reviews where the pacing was described as an issue, but I didn't have any problems with it. There were action scenes where there needed to be and there were quite a few slow moments, but they're on a top secret mission, there is bound to be a ton of reconnaissance. The information they found did seem to fall right into their laps though. I'd say it was more spy than assassin. There was a lack of killing and blood shed for an assassin novel. The romance had the priority here, which is fine but it should have been marketed as a romance then versus an assassin fantasy novel. The romance was front and center for the entirety of this novel. There is no hate to love trope here, but instead Cal always admires Shadow and her skills which I appreciated. It was a bit of insta-love, but I thought they had good chemistry. They were constantly teasing one another, both stubborn as hell with how they felt. They each had their own missions that held no room for love, which just caused more tension. They had some steamy moments, but it was a lot of innocent and jealous moments as well. I found Cal and Shadow endearing, I stayed for the romance plot and their interactions which I thoroughly enjoyed. The romance plot was strong while the rest of the story seemed to fall apart. The main plot of The Queen's Assassin is supposedly the Aphrasian uprising, a group of people with extra special magic hidden away from the rest o
onemused 25 days ago
THE QUEEN'S ASSASSIN is a YA fantasy romance that would appeal to younger YA readers. The book follows Shadow and Caledon in alternating chapters with Shadow's in the first person point-of-view and Caledon's in the third person limited. Shadow lives with her aunts in a small cottage, but her time there is coming to an end, when she will have to join her mother at court and claim her birthright in Renovia. Cal (short for Caledon) is the Queen's Assassin secretly in Renovia. His father had sworn a blood oath to the queen to find some magical scrolls, but then he died without completing the mission and passed it along to Cal. Cal desperately wants to find the scrolls so that he might live his life in peace. When he is searching for the scrolls, he saves a girl (Shadow) from a masked Aphrasian (a group who is trying to overthrow the queen), who turns out to be the former King's brother (the queen's brother-in-law). The queen decides to convict him and send him to a horrific prison, but she gives him a new mission. She will send someone to break him out of prison and travel to a neighboring kingdom to uncover a plot against her and take out the person who is behind it (even if it is the King there himself). Shadow does not want to leave Cal in prison, and so, she creates her own plan to get him out. She tells him that she is to be his apprentice, as her own dream is to be a spy rather than a courtier. Together, they travel to Montrice. What I loved: There is an interesting inclusion of history and some magic in the book. These all have a lot of promise and potential. I really loved the inclusion of LGBTQ people in several roles, such as Shadow's aunts, the male ambassador of Renovia who is married to a man, and a magical person who identifies as they/them, amongst others. What left me wanting more: The pacing of the book is a little odd. The main focus seems to be trying to build a relationship between Cal and Shadow, but instead of building their communication, the book spends a lot of time on jealousy and physical desire. It was hard to cheer for them as it felt pretty forced. They are also posing as brother and sister, so there are many potentially awkward scenes in public that mostly seem to be overlooked. The big reveal at the end was pretty obvious from the beginning, and I was hoping for some more oomph. The pacing is very slow and then suddenly fast, mainly because the missions seemed to be a bit of a side note to the romance. I would have liked to get deeper into Cal and his motivations/personality as well as get more insight into their mission/operations. Thus, this book may be better suited for a younger audience (aside from mentions of sexual desire and a fade-to-curtains type scene, it's pretty clean and not much assassinations). Final verdict: This is an interesting YA fantasy romance which may be better suited for younger YA readers. The kingdom and magic potential are really interesting, and I would be interested in seeing how the book develops in the sequel. Please note that I received a review copy. All opinions are my own.
Cait63 25 days ago
Unexpected Disappointment I received an ARC of this book through BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review. I was really looking forward to reading The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz as I enjoyed her Blue Bloods Series back in the day and the premise sounded interesting. Perhaps I went into this book with too high of expectations, because I found it to be a bit of a disappointment. One of this book’s biggest problems is that it is full to the brim of cliches. Now, that wouldn’t normally be a dealbreaker for me, but these cliches are so poorly executed and so painfully obvious that it got rather boring. I had to practically force myself to keep reading, and no matter how far along I got, it never improved. There’s a “twist” at the end that I literally called in the prologue (I’m really questioning if that prologue was even necessary). Honestly, I think all of this could have been fixed by simply sticking to Cal’s point of view, instead of flip-flopping between him and Shadow. Big problem number #2: There was way too much “telling” instead of “showing” going on. It got old really fast, especially in connection to the romance. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, so kudos to the designer on that. It’s just sad that the content didn’t live up to it.