The Queen’s Assassin – 2 Star Review

The Queen’s Assassin is the first book in a new series called Queen’s Secret written by Melissa de la Cruz. The reader gets two POV’s throughout the story, a young girl named Shadow, and a slightly older guy named Caledon. Shadow has been training in magic with her aunts with the aspirations to be the next assassin for an underground network serving the crown. Her own mother is an influential spy at the royal court, but instead has plans for Shadow to join the aristocracy and marriage. In rebellion, Shadow links herself Caledon’s mission, in hopes to prove herself a worthy apprentice. Caledon’s father was the Queen’s Assassin and made a blood vow that would pass onto his children if he failed to complete it within his own lifetime. Caledon inherited this responsibility and serves the crown through obligation alone. Being bound with magic, he is left with no other option. He and Shadow embark on a journey to uncover a deadly conspirator against their country and prevent an inevitable war. 

This new YA fantasy series was a big disappointment for me. I received an ARC from Bookish First after reading a chapter sampler of the book. The story starts off with historical scrolls enlightening the reader to the political history and upheaval between neighboring regencies. That sprinkled with corruption, usurpers, wars, and magic left me hooked and eager to read more. These historical tidbits were sprinkled lightly throughout the book, and still remain my favorite part. However, the stage the author set simply fell short. 

Being an avid YA fantasy reader, I tend to guess plot twists frequently. This isn’t always terrible, but when you pinpoint the twist within the first few chapters, and then your suspicions revealed are meant to be the precipice of the climax, I’m left disappointed. I need that shock factor, and simply didn’t get it. The story also lulled in the middle. I felt that the villain our main characters were hunting, was incredibly obvious, yet took them forever to uncover. 

The next piece that irked me regarding this book, was the love interest. I want to describe it as an ‘instant-love’ trope, but that may be a little unfair. The love wasn’t instantaneous upon meeting, but the moment the characters became into each other felt very sudden and forced; they lacked authentic chemistry. No build up within the plot for their love arc, but all of the sudden obsession and tangible jealousy for each other became the forefront of the pot. I didn’t buy it and basically rolled my eyes the whole time to be honest. Not to mention all of the ‘she is mine’ comments that literally made me cringe. 

In truth, I realized this was going to be a 3 star (at best) around the 60% mark. The only reason I didn’t bail and mark it as a DNF, was because I received the ARC as an early reviewer and felt obliged to give it a fair go. The only redeeming qualities I have is the LGBTQ friendly cast, strong voice for each of the characters to where they were vivid in my mind, and clever world building regarding the political climate. Final rating, 2 stars. 

Reviewed by Coco

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