The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1)
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.

The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1) Details

TitleThe Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherG. P. Putnam's Sons
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Romance

The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1) Review

  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    just like every other YA fantasy that has the phrase ‘the queens X’ in the title, this story feels recycled. its not terrible by any means, its just nothing new. this is perfect for those who really love this kind of story but, for me personally, its a bit old. this also has a very juvenile feel to it. yes, this is YA, but YA can mature and complex. just because the target audience is teens does not mean a book needs simplistic storytelling, especially when the story is about an assassin! there just like every other YA fantasy that has the phrase ‘the queens X’ in the title, this story feels recycled. its not terrible by any means, its just nothing new. this is perfect for those who really love this kind of story but, for me personally, its a bit old. this also has a very juvenile feel to it. yes, this is YA, but YA can mature and complex. just because the target audience is teens does not mean a book needs simplistic storytelling, especially when the story is about an assassin! there is literally only one scene where we see cal the assassin at work - his profession is completely glanced over/played down. and the overall tone of this is light and innocent - it completely contradicts what the story is about. i dont need tons of bloodshed, but more details about the life of an assassin isnt an unreasonable thing to want. that being said, i did enjoy this. its a quick and easy read and i found myself rooting for the characters. for someone new to the genre and/or this kind of story, i think its perfect. but for someone like me, who has read countless of similar and more detailed books, it definitely on the mediocre side of things. ↠ 3 stars
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  • Benjamin (The Maniac)
    January 1, 1970
    I'd rather say "Voldemort" a thousand times before reading one more book with the word "queen" in its' title.
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Spoilers and swearing follow.It has been a while since a book has earned a not-so-coveted position on my "wtf is this shit" shelf. However, this book earned it by around page 30. In fact, the only reason I didn't DNF this book was train wreck syndrome. A part of me kept hoping that it would get better. de la Cruz is such a prolific writer that this book can't be this bad is what I kept telling myself. Oh, my friends, it is that I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Spoilers and swearing follow.It has been a while since a book has earned a not-so-coveted position on my "wtf is this shit" shelf. However, this book earned it by around page 30. In fact, the only reason I didn't DNF this book was train wreck syndrome. A part of me kept hoping that it would get better. de la Cruz is such a prolific writer that this book can't be this bad is what I kept telling myself. Oh, my friends, it is that bad. I ended up skipping about 60 pages in this book (trying to spare my sanity), AND I MISSED NOTHING. Literally. I was able to figure out everything that I had skipped in about 10 pages. Let's talk about why this book is horrible, shall we?1) It has ridiculously inconsistent characterization. Shadow acts one way for half the book, then she magically changes into like an entirely different person. No rhyme, no reason. Her personality just changes on whims. Cal, on the other hand, has zero personality. Even in the chapters he narrates, there's nothing. You could replace the character with a piece of wood and no one would notice the difference. 2) So, this book is told in alternating perspectives. Which I love. I love knowing how both (or multiple) characters are feeling or what they are thinking. What doesn't work is the fact that Shadow's chapters are told from first person POV and Cal's chapters are told from third person POV. It is very jarring to immerse yourself in one character's thoughts or feelings and then to turn the digital page and suddenly be referring to the character de chapitre by their damn name. Every time it happened, I was thrown out of my reading headspace and had to re-acclimate myself. And it happened a lot.3) The huge plot twist at the end of the novel? Isn't a plot twist for anyone who's read a YA fantasy in the last 5 years. Also, comparing this book to Maas' work is an insult of the highest caliber. 4) The love story between Shadow and Cal just doesn't work. They have zero chemistry together. Honestly, the story would have been a lot better it not be included and let these two be epic bffs or something. 5) There's just something off about the entire novel. The pacing is super weird; ridiculously fast in some spots and then maddeningly slow in others. There's random inserts of history and stories about Renovia in the middle of the novel that really throw off the pace (really, de la Cruz, you couldn't have figured out a better way to work those in?). This book just doesn't work. I know I'm one of the first negative reviews on this book as it doesn't get published for another 6 months, but I know I won't be the last. Look, I love cheesy YA fantasy/love stories. But there are better ones out there. Save yourself the headache and stay far, far away from this one.
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  • Cesar
    January 1, 1970
    1.5 starsFantasy novels come in all different types. If you've read enough, then you know which ones stand out and which ones are basic as hell with no substance. The Queen's Assasin is one of the basic ones.From the beginning to the end, The Queen's Assassin read like a basic fantasy novel with little to no intrigue on the world, characters, and plot progression. The potential was there from the beginning to be a somewhat decent fantast novel, but the more I progressed with the story, the more 1.5 starsFantasy novels come in all different types. If you've read enough, then you know which ones stand out and which ones are basic as hell with no substance. The Queen's Assasin is one of the basic ones.From the beginning to the end, The Queen's Assassin read like a basic fantasy novel with little to no intrigue on the world, characters, and plot progression. The potential was there from the beginning to be a somewhat decent fantast novel, but the more I progressed with the story, the more it began to feel dull and uninspiring, giving the reader a pretentious fantasy novel.The Queen's Assassin takes place in a world where magic was taken by a group who hoarded the magic of the land and caused several disputes in the kingdom. Several years later, fragments of the group are still around and have ulterior motives for the next queen. Our two protagonists, Shadow and Cal, are caught up in a whirlwind of magic and conspiracies.All of that sounds good on paper, it's the execution of if that was done poorly. Half the time I didn't know if this wanted to be a romance story or a fantasy story. Couple that with Melissa's constant need to add extravagant moments, the plot was lost.There is a plot that involves a lot of political conspiracy involving magic and matricide. But that is put on the backburner in favor of Shadow's and Cal's "relationship." It honestly felt like I was reading two different stories at once. One that has magic and intrigue while the other is a romance. A romance, I might add, that has no chemistry.Shadow as a character was all over the place. One minute she's acting like this the next her emotions and thoughts are completely different than that of who she is. The constant changes in her mood and thoughts made her a rather dull and annoying character. Then there's Cal and all I can say about this guy is that he's boring as hell.With these two boring characters comes a romance that is about as romantic as watching a fish rot in the sun. There's no chemistry between them, they spend most of the 2nd half of the book bickering.One thing I notice in a lot of Melissa's books is that she has the need to write extravagant parties. From her Blue Blood series to The Birthday Girl, extravagance is always a reoccurring thing in her books. She can't go one book without there being an expensive party that could literally pay two years' worth of rent when I was living out of town for college. What I found irritating about this is that when Melissa writes these types of scenes, she goes so much into it that the plot is almost forgotten until something or someone brings it up. Enough with the extravagance.There's something I should mention about the plot as well. Aside from being boring, it's also forgettable that if you were to put it down for a day, you would most likely forget what happened in the last 50 pages. I'll give you a perfect example. I've been playing Fire Emblem Three Houses for a good while and recently, a DLC was released for it and it was around that time I was reading The Queen's Assassin. I played who knows how much of FE3H that when I went back to read, I forgot what the hell happened. Thankfully I remembered, but if a book does not capture my interest long after I've read it, then there's something wrong with how the plot was presented. Will I be continuing the series? Maybe. If I can get my hands on the audiobook of the next book, then I can try to get through it. It's only a duology so it should be easy to finish.The Queen's Assassin is basic as hell. That's the only way to describe everything about this book. Basic.
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  • Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 "Of course", Cal's father would say, "this is just a story, and stories are always a little bit true and a little bit false; we just don't know which is which." Thank you so much to PRH International for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion!When I read this book contained assassins and royals, I knew it would be one made for me. And it really was. This was my first book by Melissa de la Cruz and I really enjoyed reading this story although I have 3.5/5 ⭐️ "Of course", Cal's father would say, "this is just a story, and stories are always a little bit true and a little bit false; we just don't know which is which." Thank you so much to PRH International for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion!When I read this book contained assassins and royals, I knew it would be one made for me. And it really was. This was my first book by Melissa de la Cruz and I really enjoyed reading this story although I have to admit I guessed the major plot twist really early, but then again that is something I unfortunately tend to do. It did not however take away my enjoyment for this story. The Queen's Assassin follows Cal and Shadow using two different POV for the narration. Whereas Shadow's voice could be followed with the first person POV, Cal used the third person POV and I really liked this aspect. It brought a little bit of originality to the writing. We are introduced to Shadow, an girl thirsting for adventure who accidentally gets lost in a forbidden place. After nearly getting killed by a traitor of the crown, Shadow is saved by none other than the infamous Queen's Assassin, Caledon "Cal" Holt. Shadow runs away before he could recognize her and when she hears Cal gets imprisoned for a terrible crime, she decides she will go to his rescue and become his apprentice. I do have one little criticism to do and it's that we are told repetitively that Cal (who quickly became one of my favorites) is the deadliest assassin in the kingdom, I thought we didn't see it enough and the book lacked hardcore action or that some of it was brushed off a little bit too fast. I would have liked to see more brawls and more assassin activities but I still have high hopes for that with the next book. That ending quite literally killed me. I need book two now! Shadow was a very interesting character. She is reckless and her following her train of thoughts was a really fun adventure. I liked her determination to have what she wants, and trust me, she knows exactly what she wants. Cal, as I said, was my favorite in this book. The both of them have a purpose they want to achieve until they realize there may be more between them than they realized. I really liked reading their banter and seeing their evolution around each other. Plotwise, I really liked the idea behind the whole story. I don't think I can say more than this as I could quickly enter spoiler-zone so you will have to see it for yourself. The pace was both slow and fast at times, which could be a bit disconcerting as I mentioned earlier but it did not alter my enjoyment of the book. To conclude, if you like royals, secrets and assassins, then this is definitely one for you. There were quite a bunch of twists in this book and the relationship between the characters was truly interesting and made me root for them really hard, even more than I actually realized. Can I have book 2 now please?My Bookstagram
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    There are a few spoilers in this review, but it's probably better than taking the time to read this book...and I can't even be sorry.Giving this book a 2 instead of a 1 for casual inclusion of LGBTQ characters in positive relationships. Otherwise, this book was something else.I'm shocked it's being published in 2020; this kind of book should have been left in 2012, when YA was still finding its feet. Shadow is a young noblewoman (I think? It's implied that she has to go live at Court and There are a few spoilers in this review, but it's probably better than taking the time to read this book...and I can't even be sorry.Giving this book a 2 instead of a 1 for casual inclusion of LGBTQ characters in positive relationships. Otherwise, this book was something else.I'm shocked it's being published in 2020; this kind of book should have been left in 2012, when YA was still finding its feet. Shadow is a young noblewoman (I think? It's implied that she has to go live at Court and eventually marry someone, but it's never clearly explained), but all she wants is to be a member of the Hearth-something Guild, which I believe is a network of spies/assassins working for the Queen of Renovia (again, I think? There were a lot of big names being tossed around, it was so hard to keep track of them). When Cal Holt (between this and "Shadow" the naming system of this book confused me) is arrested and poses as a prisoner after assassinating a traitor to the throne (given that Cal is the Queen's ASSASSIN, it was very confusing as to *why* he would be punished for doing his job, especially given that this is the only time throughout the book that he actually does his job), Shadow breaks him out of prison and poses as an apprentice sent by the queen. So, Caledon and Shadow set out to the land of Montrice (the capital of which is called Mont for reasons I cannot comprehend) to...I honestly can't remember at this point. I think they were trying to uncover a secret plot against the crown? Maybe. Here's the first problem with this book: There are TOO many things going on. There are evil monks who want magic and also want to depose of Queen Lilliana and her family, but Queen Lilliana is actually of Dellefiora (or something, and I have no idea what that's supposed to mean to me); Shadow and Cal are assassins but they spend the entire book being "spies" (quotation marks included because all they do is attend parties and hunts and the "spying" activity consists of them breaking into one (1) office); Shadow has every power under the sun, I guess; Cal is also trying to retrieve from Scrolls that were taken from the queen he serves and she needs them back so desperately that she made his father swear a blood vow that he would retrieve them, but Cal's father died so the vow passed to him? Again, this book is trying too hard to being so many things and in the end it accomplishes none of its goals. Readers are expected to believe that Shadow is the Coolest because she is Different from other girls, and this means that she is apparently a very skilled fighter, spy, and mage, and also she isn't aware that she's beautiful and all of the boys want to dance with her. There was a time and a place for this kind of character, and I think it's safe to say we're all grateful that we left this Mary Sue trope behind for the most part. Unfortunately, this book seeks to bring that trope back. It goes a step further by declaring that Shadow is *actually* Crown Princess Lilac in addition to being a martial artist/mage/spy. It all comes across as extremely manipulative of the reader, given that Shadow spends the entire novel knowing that she's the princess, and while there are supposedly "clues," they're so quick to be brushed over that they get lost amongst the millions of plotlines that appear once before being dropped (shapeshifters, evil monks, scrolls, spying, there are witches suddenly, magic is gone but some people still have it, etc.). The twist seemed to think it was much smarter than it actually is, and I didn't see it coming from a mile away because Shadow's only redeeming feature was that she wasn't royalty. Additionally, there was absolutely no personality for me to get attached to, nor did there appear to be any character development beyond her new love/attraction for Cal. The title implies that there would be some assassinations occurring throughout the novel, therefore opening the door to Shadow's struggle with morality, but the title is incredibly misleading because neither the Queen's Assassin NOR his apprentice actually do any assassinating. The same can be said for Cal; I had absolutely no reason to care about him. In fact, I began to hate him, not only because of the use of third person present for his POV (I've never seen it in a book before, and I hope to never see it again, it was completely jarring), but also because of his consistent (disgusting) internal commentary about women's bodies, and how much he dislikes women (but not their bodies) unless they're Shadow, whom he frequently alludes to wanting to impregnate. He waxes poetic about Shadow (mostly her physical features, mind you), but is disgusted by the advances of the duchess, even though he reciprocates her flirtation. Both he and Shadow frequently refer to the duchess as "dumb" or "stupid," yet they spend perhaps half the book in her home. I have NO idea why they were there in the first place, or what they were attempting to uncover, only that they eventually deduced that the duke was evil. We received a quickie explanation as to how this fits into the novel's beginning, with Cal murdering the traitorous crown prince, but not only is it an info dump that fails to clear up the 42852389 questions I still had, it doesn't explain why we spent so much of the novel being dragged through chapters and chapters of absolutely no plot. That's maybe my main gripe with the novel. The pacing is so incredibly off; mass reveals take up approximately 2 lines, but you could skip about 70 pages at a time and all you would've missed is Shadow and Cal pining for each other and lacking any semblance of communication skills, therefore sending them into the predictable (and horrible) pit of YA angst that most authors are trying to distance themselves from, on account that it's a complete snore-fest and actually insulting to teenagers (who, arguably, never know what they're doing at any given time). The book also suffered from the perplexing addition of the laziest form of plot and world-building: journal entries from however long ago. The only time I've ever seen journal entries actually work in a manner that isn't contrived and lazy is in Claire Legrand's FURYBORN, as they're short snippets that allow for a greater understanding of the culture and tone of the world. TQA, however, plopped journal entries into the book as an introduction and, later, explanation of events that never fully connected with the plot at hand (although I never really knew what that was in the first place). Another gripe I have: this book is fantasy romance. There is little substance beyond the romance, and even that is dry as plaster. But I am shocked by the aspect of familial romance. Cal and Shadow show up in Mont and pretend to be siblings (which is a very, very strange cover to assume when it's been clear since I read the synopsis that they're attracted to each other). This leads to a lot of awkward moments in which the court beholds a romantic moment between what they presume to be siblings, which Cal and Shadow laugh off at all times. Does it not make them uncomfortable that everyone *thinks* they're siblings, and they're acting like horny kids whose parents aren't home? The only saving grace is that Cal and Shadow aren't actually related--or so I thought. At the end of the book, Shadow/Lilac drops this piece of information: "My aunt Mesha is your mother's younger sister." ???! Do I...do I need to even comment on this? This is a completely unnecessary addition to this book, and it only makes the "romance" between Cal and Shadow more cringey. (But it gets better). At the end of the book, Lilac aka Shadow finds herself engaged to a king, but she tells Cal that he could be her consort. This is a man who, supposedly, wants nothing more than to be free of nobility and to have a family of his own. Shadow is supposed to know this because she knows him because, mind you, they're in love. Cal leaves, because he's too good to be a queen's consort, he speaks with a person who is supposed to be dead (no, we don't get an explanation about how they've come back), who informs Cal that the Big Baddy actually isn't dead. Cal and this character leave to seemingly hunt the Big Baddy. We flash forward a few months, and Lilac is moping around her castle, having married the king (but never actually consummated the marriage, which again confuses me - the king was described as being very attracted to Lilac? Would he not want to consummate the marriage? To be consensual, would he not want to at least attempt to woo his wife? Do they not understand that as monarchs they ARE expected to have heirs for the sake of their country?), when she hears a knock on the door that was supposed to belong to her consort. It is undeniably Cal, given Lilac's reaction and her declaration that this room is to be known as "The Queen's Secret." Which begs a million more questions, all of which go unanswered. If this is supposed to be a duology, I'm confused, because even though we're left with 6436783867845 questions, the end seems very much like a cold, hard conclusion????Ultimately, no, I will not be recommending this book to anyone
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    "Bound by fate, broken by love"*2.5 stars*ARC given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Summary Shadow has been raised to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunt and become a high ranking member of the Guild. Cal is bound by a blood vow to the Queen, and must serve as her assassin until his father's promise to return the Deain Scrolls is fulfilled. After a surprised attack, Shadow and Cal are brought together and must head out to hunt down a new threat to their "Bound by fate, broken by love"*2.5 stars*ARC given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Summary Shadow has been raised to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunt and become a high ranking member of the Guild. Cal is bound by a blood vow to the Queen, and must serve as her assassin until his father's promise to return the Deain Scrolls is fulfilled. After a surprised attack, Shadow and Cal are brought together and must head out to hunt down a new threat to their kingdom of Renovia. Review I wanted so, so badly to love this one. It has so many elements that I typically go for - assassins, royals, the sharing one bed trope, forbidden love. But it just fell flat for me in so many ways and was really disappointing. The writing style was jarring. When reading from Shadow's perspective, it was first person present. Then when we read from Cal's perspective, it was third person past. This really threw me off, and didn't seem to serve a purpose to the story. Do you ever read a book and just feel like.....it's only surface level? I was reading about what was happening, but it wasn't backed up by the characters behaving in that way, or previous world building, or anything. I felt like I was just being told what happened, and there was not previous groundwork being laid to logically lead to that conclusion. (view spoiler)[For example, we were told at the end of the novel that Duchess Girt was a witch, even though she had just been flirting with Cal the whole novel and we never even got a HINT or any sort of behavior that would lead to that conclusion. (hide spoiler)] The romance too just...........was insta love exemplified. There was no interactions that really led me to believe that these two characters were actually in love and willing to risk it all for each other. In conclusion, I felt like the bones of a good novel were there, but the story was truly not fleshed out enough to make it enjoyable.
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  • Nadhira Satria
    January 1, 1970
    THAT COVER
  • Kelly (UnshelvedEdition)
    January 1, 1970
    The Queen’s Assassin is a story portraying loyalty, commitment, love and what lengths one will go through to keep those values alive.This theme takes form across multiple different characters throughout the journey of the book. The plot had multiple layers, which kept me interested in the story and the main characters were likable. The book was written alternating between perspectives but kept it easy to follow. There were several twists in the plot, some were easy to predict but the big twist The Queen’s Assassin is a story portraying loyalty, commitment, love and what lengths one will go through to keep those values alive.This theme takes form across multiple different characters throughout the journey of the book. The plot had multiple layers, which kept me interested in the story and the main characters were likable. The book was written alternating between perspectives but kept it easy to follow. There were several twists in the plot, some were easy to predict but the big twist was quite the surprise.One thing that i really appreciated about this book was that Cruz gave the main girl a purpose beyond fulfilling what her “role” or “duty” to her kingdom was. The girl thrives for more than just being a beautiful princess and I think that is an important message to convey to the young adult community. In the same breath, i could have used a little less of the romance component because i wanted this to be more about defying her role than anything.This book is kicking off a new series so the ending does leave you wanting a little more, but that is to be expected.See more reviews on instagram @UnshelvedEdition
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  • ♠ TABI ♠
    January 1, 1970
    I've been burned by this author a few times so here's just hoping she actually finishes this newest series :P
  • Athena (OneReadingNurse)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to BookishFirst and Penguin Teen for the ARC of The Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz!I had mixed feelings about this book. It is a quick and uncomplicated read with a decent plot, and likeable enough characters. An adventurous girl wants to follow in her mother's footsteps and join a guild of assassins and magic keepers that helps to protect the Queen's line. Her family disagrees so she takes off to free the Queen's Assassin from prison - an interesting plot - and become Thank you so much to BookishFirst and Penguin Teen for the ARC of The Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz!I had mixed feelings about this book. It is a quick and uncomplicated read with a decent plot, and likeable enough characters. An adventurous girl wants to follow in her mother's footsteps and join a guild of assassins and magic keepers that helps to protect the Queen's line. Her family disagrees so she takes off to free the Queen's Assassin from prison - an interesting plot - and become his apprentice. So far I am all about this premise, right?I am a little surprised that Caledon, the assassin, didn't carry the first person POV, as the book IS titled The Queen's Assassin. He ended up being the secondary character and was told from the third person POV. The characters are more comparable to SJM's assassins than, say, Weeks' - as in lovestruck and tend to not act like very good assassins. Although the reader is TOLD quite repetitively that Cal is the deadliest out there, we don't see it much. I saw more angsty teen romance than assassin-and-apprentice. Think Throne of Glass more than Mistborn if that makes sense from an assassin standpoint 🗡My other point of contention is the villain: oh my god he could have been so interesting. The concept of the magic he was doing would have been great to read about, maybe his history, even a small hint that this creature existed would have helped make the reveal more believable... but the twist was thrown on us with no information provided prior, and only a hint at his actual power at the end of the book. There is a second book planned, so I hops for answers but I am still bummed that the book focused more on the angsty romance than the assassin or most powerful entity in the land. Why even bother dropping that bit and then hardly explore it? I felt like the big twists were just "eh"s, but 100% will read the next book because I want to know all the answers. 🗡The last thing to always touch on in fantasy is the world building. The history given was short and concise and set the story pretty well. I felt like the customs, food, social constructs, and architecture of Montrice was really well written, but not so much for Renovia. The magic system was entirely glazed over, I can understand the natural elements but I hope we find out more about the scrolls, magic, shape shifter, and inherent powers of the Dellafiores in book 2.🗡I do still recommend the series though, at least for teenaged readers and those wanting an easy/intro to fantasy series. There are few clean books in that niche and I think it's a good option? Thank you again so much to Penguin Teen and Bookish first for the ARC!!
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    3 starsI loved the Blue Blood series by Melissa De La Cruz and was thrilled when I got the opportunity to read this story!If The Queen’s Assassin has a plot alongside the ones you can indeed find in Sarah J Maas stories like the synopsis boasts it is also very different from said stories. It’s a fast read set in a fantasy universe where magic has become rare, sometimes even forbidden. You have the “goods” or at least the Renovians are the ones we are rooting for as they’ve had their magic stolen 3 starsI loved the Blue Blood series by Melissa De La Cruz and was thrilled when I got the opportunity to read this story!If The Queen’s Assassin has a plot alongside the ones you can indeed find in Sarah J Maas stories like the synopsis boasts it is also very different from said stories. It’s a fast read set in a fantasy universe where magic has become rare, sometimes even forbidden. You have the “goods” or at least the Renovians are the ones we are rooting for as they’ve had their magic stolen and have been oppressed for centuries and the “bads”, the Aphrasian who stole the source of magic while withholding the Deian Scrolls.You follow two heroes as the book is told from a double POV.Caledon or Cal is young but still a gifted assassin serving the queen of Renovia, aided by the Guilde.Shadow is a young girl of eighteen, who has been trained secretly her whole life by her aunts and her mother, hoping to become a member of the Guilde.I don’t want to spoil the plot or anything but as the blurb says, Cal and Shadow will have to face an unexpected danger that will end up with Cal killing someone and being sent to prison for it. Shadow has been called to assist her mother at the palace but does not want to play the beautiful doll! She wants to be a warrior! To work for the Guilde and use magic!  She will ally with Cal and convince him to take her as an apprentice and work for the Queen.And as in every fantasy you’ll have a mission, ordered by the Queen, putting them both in the line of danger. This read was easy and entertaining yet some aspects were nagging at me, preventing me to give it 4 or 5 stars.  The good first: the action, the pace who prevents you to get bored, the plot itself and the surprises.  Now, my personal issues (keep in mind that this is a very personal opinion and that what bothered me might very well work splendidly for you)!The characters bicker often and if I do love a good banter and hate-to-love story, they both sounded quite arrogant and young in their arguments. Of course they are only 18 and 19 so that can be the reason and I should probably be more indulgent. For once an author does not make her young characters talk and sound like adult. But it does not mean that I enjoyed it.It bothered me that Shadow gave “lessons” to Cal in the beginning. He was supposed to be Renovia’s greatest assassin and being the most experienced, he should have been the one in charge. Now I confess that Shadow was quite stubborn and Cal hadn’t it easy to “direct” her. Let’s not forget that she saved him too.She was not helpless she was not without gift but she was brash and reckless. Again, she was quite young and would probably learn patience with time and some experience.What was missing for me was to really know Cal. I wanted more about his past, his psyche, some adventures he’d had and how they changed him. I am a character driven reader so that’s my own kryptonite. I would also love more details about magic and history. Some more backstory about the founders of magic, maybe even some detailed information about past kings and queens. That’s not to say that we have no clue at all, just that I am greedy for more! :-D  Maybe in the next instalment?  Last, something shocked me by the end. The decision Shadow made, how she intended to live her future life …did not sit well with me as it’s one of my pet peeves in books.  Now, once again,  these are my personal feelings and issues. Melissa de la Cruz is still a seasoned author so don’t let this deter you from giving the book a chance and making your own mind about it.  Many thanks to G.P. Putnam and sons for gifting me this copy via Netgalley. It has no influence whatsoever on this review.
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  • Sheila Goicea
    January 1, 1970
    I'm excited to be a part of THE QUEEN'S ASSASSIN blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club, from February 4th - 10th, 2020!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, I'm excited to be a part of THE QUEEN'S ASSASSIN blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club, from February 4th - 10th, 2020!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 for further orders from his Queen, but things are looking grim. Shadow recognizes Caledon on his way out of town, and decides to embark on a rescue mission of her own. Shadow succeeded in ferrying Caledon out of prison, but the two are attacked on the road. Caledon realizes that Shadow is much more resourceful than he assumed, and they become a team, of sorts. The two learn along the way that there are numerous forces at play between the nations, and one in particular, incredibly sinister. However, as they spend more time with one another, an inevitable relationship buds between the assassin and his "apprentice."The Queen's Assassin certainly has many twists, turns, shocking reveals, as well as some common tropes. I thought that these tropes were well-placed, and flowed naturally into the main plot-line. Despite this story being focused around Caledon and Shadow, I found myself much more drawn to the history and politics of Avantine. Some of the subplots with the characters fell to the wayside, and just didn't catch my interest. I wish that there would have been much more description of Avantine to accompany the history built into the story. It was difficult to distinguish the realms from one another. Customs, culture, landscapes, climate, etc were muddy and not nearly as defined as I would have liked. I think ingraining these differences would make some of the history more memorable. If historical events cannot be attached to current attributes, they become lost and forgotten. Even so, I appreciated that there was a great deal of a backstory given to set the stage. It gave The Queen's Assassin depth and focus, and I'm curious to see where this story will go.Vulgarity: Minimal.Sexual content: Some insinuative behavior and one scene of intimacy without graphic detail.Violence: Moderate.My Rating: ★★★1/2My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    February 15, 2020: Consider reading this review over on my blog!The Queen's Assassin follows a duty-bound young assassin who must find the missing scrolls for the queen and a rebellious apprentice who doesn't wish to live the life decided by her birth on a path of escaping a tower prison, running to another kingdom, killing the wrong people, and facing revelations that are bound to leave anyone shocked. The swirling chemistry and romantic tropes make the journey even more interesting. A great February 15, 2020: Consider reading this review over on my blog!The Queen's Assassin follows a duty-bound young assassin who must find the missing scrolls for the queen and a rebellious apprentice who doesn't wish to live the life decided by her birth on a path of escaping a tower prison, running to another kingdom, killing the wrong people, and facing revelations that are bound to leave anyone shocked. The swirling chemistry and romantic tropes make the journey even more interesting. A great set of action sequences and a dangerous mission can keep anyone by the edge of their seat but the intensive information dumping and a pacing that often felt bumpy, doesn't allow the story to leave a more long-lasting mark. Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a blog tour but that, in no way, affects my rating and/or review. Thank you, FFBC Tours and G.P. Putnam's Sons!December 3, 2019: YA fantasy-romance? a deadly assassin? a mysterious apprentice? okay, fine, I'm ready to be swoon away by this book.
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  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    This took me two attempts to get into the story, but ultimately I was entranced by the adventure in the plot.Cal was the Queen's Assassin and Shadow wanted to be his apprentice to learn from him. But she had a secret. Having uncovered a plot of treason but in the process, killing the crown prince, Cal was imprisoned. Shadow saved him, and together they went in search of the holy scrolls which would save their Kingdom.This was the broad gist, but there were many subplots to it, with lies and This took me two attempts to get into the story, but ultimately I was entranced by the adventure in the plot.Cal was the Queen's Assassin and Shadow wanted to be his apprentice to learn from him. But she had a secret. Having uncovered a plot of treason but in the process, killing the crown prince, Cal was imprisoned. Shadow saved him, and together they went in search of the holy scrolls which would save their Kingdom.This was the broad gist, but there were many subplots to it, with lies and deceptions and strange beings abounding it and of course, magic. My first book by Melissa de la Cruz, I liked the adventure section. I read the book for the pure joy of the action sequences rather than analyzing the subplots.Both Cal and Shadow were fun, though I wondered why Cal kept telling me he was the Queen's Assassin. I remembered it when he told me the first time. But in spite of being the biggest warrior, he was quite naive. Alternately, I liked Shadow much better. She was heart and brains, and it felt her quick thinking saved the day at times.Twists soon found their way with the last few chapters bringing the biggest one. I was not fond of the ending, but to each their own. Overall, being my first book by the author, I quite enjoyed it.
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  • Beverly K
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fantasy novel as written by Mojo Jojo. It is repetitive, reinstating the same point over and over. Moreover, it is inconsistent, jumping POVs within a specific frame and not sticking to a particular point. I tried. I wanted to like this book--assassins are, like, one of my favorite fantasy tropes ever. But I think I'll give this book a hard pass. I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways, probably in exchange for an honest review? That's how LibraryThing's giveaways This is a fantasy novel as written by Mojo Jojo. It is repetitive, reinstating the same point over and over. Moreover, it is inconsistent, jumping POVs within a specific frame and not sticking to a particular point. I tried. I wanted to like this book--assassins are, like, one of my favorite fantasy tropes ever. But I think I'll give this book a hard pass. I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways, probably in exchange for an honest review? That's how LibraryThing's giveaways work, so I'm assuming this is the same.
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  • Hailee
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I think this book started off a bit confusing, but around chapter ten everything started to come together. For a little while I didn’t think I was going to like this book that much because of how slow it seemed to be going, but all of a sudden I was sucked in. I could not put this book down. I adored the characters, the world, the romance, and the twists and turns that kept the story so interesting. This book was I was given an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I think this book started off a bit confusing, but around chapter ten everything started to come together. For a little while I didn’t think I was going to like this book that much because of how slow it seemed to be going, but all of a sudden I was sucked in. I could not put this book down. I adored the characters, the world, the romance, and the twists and turns that kept the story so interesting. This book was an emotional roller coaster and the end left me on a bit of shaken ground, which is why I am very eager for the next book (hoping and assuming there will be one). Overall, this is quite possibly my favorite book that I have read this year.
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  • Taschima
    January 1, 1970
    You know what, I tried to read The Queen's Assassin because it is written by De La Cruz and I was such a fan of the Blue Bloods series; but I cannot push forward in finishing it. I had several issues with The Queen's Assassin, including:1. Massive info dump at the beginning of the book; which felt quite unnecessary. There are a lot of fantasy books out there who incorporate whatever you need to know about the kingdom/religion/etc. into the story itself. It is manageable. I was just put off and You know what, I tried to read The Queen's Assassin because it is written by De La Cruz and I was such a fan of the Blue Bloods series; but I cannot push forward in finishing it. I had several issues with The Queen's Assassin, including:1. Massive info dump at the beginning of the book; which felt quite unnecessary. There are a lot of fantasy books out there who incorporate whatever you need to know about the kingdom/religion/etc. into the story itself. It is manageable. I was just put off and not engaged right away which didn't bode well.2. The main character: Shadow, felt like a petulant child with no hook--I didn't connect with her or her woes. Her POV felt very bland.3. The other main character-Cal-felt even blander! Also, Shadow's POV is first person while Cal's POV is third person...why, exactly? Maybe because the only way to differentiate between the two dry/bland POV's was by writing them in an entirely different fashion, which then kind of threw me of.4. After I was entirely bored by page 50 I decided that if I was going to DNF I at least had to read around the book, maybe skip to the end and see if it improved. It didn't. If anything it annoyed me even more and made the beginning of the book even that much more ridiculous. The reader is kept in the dark about something that is pretty obvious and not enough of a twist to warrant the other 300 pages worth of material. Maybe Melissa De La Cruz' writing style does not vibe with me anymore. I think I am done trying to like her novels. We will always have Blue Bloods.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    As someone who went through middle and high school reading the Blue Bloods series, to see this new book by Cruz waiting for me, I was immediately struck by the need to sit down and read it all the way through. Which I absolutely ended up doing, and I don't regret at all. Cruz has the innate ability to build a world that you have no trouble believing in, with romances that rock your world. You need to see them live happily ever after right from the get go and yet she's prepared to make them As someone who went through middle and high school reading the Blue Bloods series, to see this new book by Cruz waiting for me, I was immediately struck by the need to sit down and read it all the way through. Which I absolutely ended up doing, and I don't regret at all. Cruz has the innate ability to build a world that you have no trouble believing in, with romances that rock your world. You need to see them live happily ever after right from the get go and yet she's prepared to make them suffer along the way in some of the worst ways possible. The Queen's Assassin is no different, and honestly you can see how much the rest of her work has built up to this epic fantasy. This was only the introduction to this world and this story, and she has so much more left to unlock. I hope I'm reading this series for many years to come, because of how utterly captivating it all is. Melissa de la Cruz, you've snatched me up again, and left me feeling as forlorn and excited as I was every time I finished a Blue Bloods book as a preteen.
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  • Caroline 💞🐉
    January 1, 1970
    A literal dumpster fire and a half... I honestly don't even know where to begin in writing this review; this book held so much potential, and as I noticed someone in another review saying this was the highest insult to Sarah J Maas.When I first began reading this book, I was intrigued by the beginning's history and sort of how everything ended up where it did. But after that, it just went downhill.Let's start with my main problem with this book: dual pov told from first and third person A literal dumpster fire and a half... I honestly don't even know where to begin in writing this review; this book held so much potential, and as I noticed someone in another review saying this was the highest insult to Sarah J Maas.When I first began reading this book, I was intrigued by the beginning's history and sort of how everything ended up where it did. But after that, it just went downhill.Let's start with my main problem with this book: dual pov told from first and third person perspectives... I don't know why the author thought that was a good idea to begin with, and I certainly don't know how an editor didn't say anything about that? It's messy and inconsistent, to say the least. In my opinion, the author wrote the strongest in third pov (which was Caledon's) and it was really good. First person was written from Shadow's pov, which wasn't bad or anything, but it just was not working.It's been a while since I read characters as bland and one dimensional as this, but I do think this will top the list for the book with the most boring and unoriginal characters. Not only that, but they were so inconsistent. Shadow couldn't decide what she wanted and what she truly liked... I promise just because a hot guy comes into your life, decision making based on how you are isn't that hard. Shadow was supposed to be this kick-butt heroine, but instead, I got a character who reminds me a lot of the female protagonists from earlier published books. She was boring and I couldn't guess her true motives. Caledon - our love interest - was just... boring as well. Honestly, I couldn't tell anyone one trait about those two because they just, didn't have any? In a lot of ways, I think the author just took characters from other books and recycled them and thought it was the next best thing when in actuality, it made me hate them even more.The plot was all over the place. We spend about 300 out of the 370ish pages wandering around the woods, having longing and dangerous glares, dirty thoughts, and pretty balls where they were supposed to be uncovering a plot, but that equated to about 2% of the novel. The plot was truly nonexistent, and I could see the plot twist coming from way at the beginning.Don't' read this book. It's bland, boring, recycled, and not worth anyone's time. If you want a truly vibrant or stunning YA romance fantasy, try Maas' books if you haven't, The Cruel Prince, or Serpent and Dove.
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  • Chris B. (1 More Chapter)
    January 1, 1970
    From the blurb: "... and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz."You know an author is prolific when people are sworn to protect the public from her. :-)
  • Olivia Wildenstein
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Bookishfirst for my advanced copy.This was such a fun story filled with royal intrigue and sweet romance. I kept thinking of Mary Pearson’s KISS OF DECEPTION as I read Shadow and Cal’s adventures, and I really loved that book. My favorite character was Cal because he was so kind and good, but Shadow was daring and brave which made her a very likable heroine.The political intrigue was well set up and although I guessed certain twists, others did take me by surprise, which was Thank you to Bookishfirst for my advanced copy.This was such a fun story filled with royal intrigue and sweet romance. I kept thinking of Mary Pearson’s KISS OF DECEPTION as I read Shadow and Cal’s adventures, and I really loved that book. My favorite character was Cal because he was so kind and good, but Shadow was daring and brave which made her a very likable heroine.The political intrigue was well set up and although I guessed certain twists, others did take me by surprise, which was refreshing from predictable plots. All in all, this was a really fun and quick romantic fantasy read. Definitely recommended.
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  • Brandy Klocko
    January 1, 1970
    What an exhilarating adventure! Lots of action, mystery, magic, and lovely romance. I sort of guessed from the beginning about a couple of plot twists and turns out I was correct. Although it did not end the way I usually expect books to end, I loved the story anyways! This author is excellent at creating believable stories...even with the magical elements it was woven in a way that made it seem realistic! Shadow and Caledon’s witty banter and growing feelings for each other warmed my heart. I’m What an exhilarating adventure! Lots of action, mystery, magic, and lovely romance. I sort of guessed from the beginning about a couple of plot twists and turns out I was correct. Although it did not end the way I usually expect books to end, I loved the story anyways! This author is excellent at creating believable stories...even with the magical elements it was woven in a way that made it seem realistic! Shadow and Caledon’s witty banter and growing feelings for each other warmed my heart. I’m a sucker for a good romance trope and this type is one of my favorites! I very much hope that this author writes more books involved with this mystical realm where strong Queens reign and magic is a normality!
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  • Adriana
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsWhile this story may build towards a somewhat hasty ending with some less than stellar world building, it's still a fun and exciting fantasy romance.There's some great emotional parallels between Cal and Shadow, who are both bound to fates beyond their control and trying to outrun those fates. Their budding romance is set against a backdrop of enticing court intrigue as they navigate everything from escaping prison to "oh no, there's only one bed" to disguising themselves as nobles. Not 3.5 StarsWhile this story may build towards a somewhat hasty ending with some less than stellar world building, it's still a fun and exciting fantasy romance.There's some great emotional parallels between Cal and Shadow, who are both bound to fates beyond their control and trying to outrun those fates. Their budding romance is set against a backdrop of enticing court intrigue as they navigate everything from escaping prison to "oh no, there's only one bed" to disguising themselves as nobles. Not gonna lie, I was rooting for these two to get together, and even though parts of their relationship were a bit overwrung, it was still the satisfying romance I came for.Could I tell you what distinguishes one kingdom from another or why they're warring with each other? Absolutely not. Did I think the dropped-in bits of history were particularly interesting or effective? Nope. But the dynamic between these characters gripped me, and I still enjoyed the time I spent with this book, even if it's not a perfect story.If you're looking for a twisty YA fantasy romance, this might just be for you.
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    Finally, a full synopsis, cover and release date :D
  • Kacey
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy.I'm not finishing this book, sorry. I don't want to fault the book for being something other than what I expected, but there are plenty of other problems to deal with. First, the narrative style. I've commented on this before, but when you have multiple narratives but only one in first person, that instantly signals to the reader that this Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy.I'm not finishing this book, sorry. I don't want to fault the book for being something other than what I expected, but there are plenty of other problems to deal with. First, the narrative style. I've commented on this before, but when you have multiple narratives but only one in first person, that instantly signals to the reader that this perspective is more important. The first person narrator isn't even the assassin in this, which makes the title pretty misleading. He does get a perspective, but it's third person. It's very jarring to go back and forth; keep both perspectives either first or third, please.My other issue is that this has to be the dumbest and most incompetent assassin I've come across since Kiss of Deception. I usually like to keep my reviews completely spoiler-free, but I do have to spoil a little in order to explain this. Our assassin Cal gets put in prison after killing an important figure-- which even that could've been handled in other ways-- and the other perspective voice Shadow goes to break him out. She somehow manages this and convinces him that she's her apprentice. He does not question this at all and apparently can't even pick up on lies. But that's not all. Shadow takes charge and dictates where they go in their escape AND CAL LETS HER DO IT. Keep in mind he thinks she's his apprentice... and he's letting her boss him around without any protest. Okay, he made one weak protest but then he let her have her way. But that's not all. They get captured pretty quickly and it's thanks to Shadow's magical powers that they escape, not Cal's assassin skills. He's constantly asking for Shadow's direction on things when he has more experience and should be the one leading her.I had to quit there. I really don't want to read about an assassin this stupid that a girl with almost no experience is showing him up. She has all these magical powers and has her head shoved up her ass to where she gets angry at Cal for daring to suggest other traveling routes or commenting that he had to help her-- which he did. They're supposed to fall in love later, I guess, but I don't really want to read any farther.There's also this thing going on with monks and magic scrolls or whatever, but I didn't really feel a sense of urgency in their quest. It'd been going on since the princess was a baby and now she's a teenager, so it's not like this is pressing. I feel like if it took out the magic and just focused on the life of this assassin as he went about his work, it would've been really cool.I will say that the one time I was interested was in showing Cal's attempts at escape. Sadly, Shadow came in and broke him out. Other than that, there wasn't anything that really held my attention. I don't know if it gets better from here and I have no interest in finding out. Sorry.
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  • Amber (The Book Bratz)
    January 1, 1970
    Sigh, thoughts to come soon
  • Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    You can read all my review on Blog - Books Teacup and ReviewsThe Queen’s Assassin was YA Fantasy that revolved around Queen’s secret and her assassin. It was about forbidden magic, romance, royal politics and saving kingdom from incursion and evil mages.First of all that cover is awesome and so apt. Writing was gripping and addictive from the very beginning. I finished this book in 2 sitting and couldn’t put it down until the end. I loved author’s storytelling ability. World, characters and You can read all my review on Blog - Books Teacup and ReviewsThe Queen’s Assassin was YA Fantasy that revolved around Queen’s secret and her assassin. It was about forbidden magic, romance, royal politics and saving kingdom from incursion and evil mages.First of all that cover is awesome and so apt. Writing was gripping and addictive from the very beginning. I finished this book in 2 sitting and couldn’t put it down until the end. I loved author’s storytelling ability. World, characters and plot was great. It was narrated from Shadow and Calendon’s perspective. That synopsis says it all.Worldbuilding was fantastic. Initial chapter gave the overview of world. It told about the history of kingdom Avantine, its rulers, how it was broken into four kingdoms, Renovia, how the sect of evil mages called Aphrasians and secret guild who fought against Aphrasians beside Renovian throne was formed, what was Deian scroll and how it was lost to Aphrasians, how all this lead to the current situation of Renovia, and how important it was to get the Deian scroll to save the kingdom and restore the magic and peace.I thought it was all I would need to know about the world but as I read more I got to know more about political unrest, rise of Aphrasians, and rumors of incursion by assault on princess Lilac- the sole heir of Renovia. I loved excerpts from the Diean Scroll before beginning of all three sections. It that told the history and origin of magic, how magic came to Avantine and story of Queen Lilliana, regent queen of Renovia. Those were the best characters in the book.Story was divided in three parts- Renovia, Montrice (Renovia’s neighbouring kingdom) and Assassin and Queen.First part introduced characters. Queen Lilliana, her assassin- Calendon Holt and Shadow. As soon as I read epilogue I knew who Shadow was. Now that is not really strong for book but I tell you, the scenes were well written it mislead me and made me question what I was so sure about. I was curious to see how much she knew or if she doesn’t when and how she will know.Shadow was a farm girl living with her aunts who were part of guild and trained her well to be part of guild. It was her dream to be part of guild and to be Caledon’s apprentice. But her mother who was courtier and on higher rank in guild had other plans. When a sudden attack brought her and Caledon together, she was adamant to thwart her mother’s plan, impress Caledon by rescuing him and convince him to take her on his mission. The way she carried out her plan was both reckless and impressive. Most of the time she was headstrong girl who acted like she knew more, eager to prove herself but that put her and Caledon in lot of danger. She wanted to be his apprentice but always took lead defied and argued whatever he said. That made me both laugh and irritated. It’s not like she wasn’t skilled or smart but what’s the meaning of apprentice if you don’t listen to a person you’re supposed to work under? Anyway, her development was good. As she worked with Caledon, she knew being assassin and part of guild is not easy, it required sacrifices and understood its seriousness.Caledon was great. He was my favorite in the book. Now that might be unpopular as all reviews I read, reader didn’t like Cal and loved Shadow more. He was ruthless, merciless assassin. He obviously was not used to work with somebody and it made him look like arrogant but at the same time he was gentleman, man of word and restraint. Even though he was frustrated by working with Shadow and her suggestion he went along with her whims. I loved his story about his father and mother. He faced lot of pain and grief. His work left him alone and loveless but working with Shadow he experienced friendship, love and companionship.Second part was about Montrice, its people and tradition, finding out if the nation was involved with Aphrasians. It also showed growing friendship and chemistry between Shadow and Caledon. I loved narration of aristocratic life style, gown and balls in this part.I liked romance between Shadow and Caledon. They didn’t get along well initially but as they got to know each other, it blossomed into a beautiful flower. I was curious to see how they were going to voice their feelings and if they could commit to a relationship.This unexpected love and all the feeling came along with it distracted them from their main plan. I was so glad for the turning point and what a turn it was. Many things happened from here till the end of this part. When they finally found about the evil Aphrasian, there was little action and some unexpected revelation.I knew Shadow was hiding things from Caledon but oh boy, what was revealed in third part was a bit more than what I guessed. Queen’s play and secret was shocking. I liked Shadow’s confession and the way story ended. I definitely sided with Caledon and admired him for his decision but at the same time loved Shadow and how she grew with her responsibility. I can’t wait to see what is to come next in this series.Why 4 Stars-Now I haven’t read Sarah J Maas books but I have read stories that have somewhat similar outline. The world was original. I love mages and magic and blood vow, but rest of things was not fresh. Characters, queen’s secret and the end was a tad too predictable.Overall, it was fast paced, interesting fantasy with addictive writing and refreshing world. It gave same vibes as Children of Blood and Bone while reading this, so if you liked that book, you’ll enjoy this.*** Note: I received this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to @PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
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  • Traveling Cloak
    January 1, 1970
    SYNOPSISShadow 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 SYNOPSISShadow 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.REVIEWIf 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.
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  • Victoria Booklover
    January 1, 1970
    Many people gave this book crappy reviews and now I can sort of understand why, but I still somehow enjoyed it even though I definitely had my issues with it. obviously spoilers will be below, so, goodbye now if you haven't read it. So we have an assassin hired by the queen and a farm girl yearning for apprenticeship. They cross paths--super conveniently--and find that their paths are actually intertwined (Of course they are, convenient!). I enjoyed their journey and their dynamic. I found Many people gave this book crappy reviews and now I can sort of understand why, but I still somehow enjoyed it even though I definitely had my issues with it. obviously spoilers will be below, so, goodbye now if you haven't read it. So we have an assassin hired by the queen and a farm girl yearning for apprenticeship. They cross paths--super conveniently--and find that their paths are actually intertwined (Of course they are, convenient!). I enjoyed their journey and their dynamic. I found their immediate banter and disagreeable relationship to be entertaining and actually quite comical. Shadow--what kind of name (mind you the love interest, a renowned assassin, didn't bother asking this question until 200 pages later)--anyway, Shadow as she would like to be called, had a lot to say to Caledon the moment they teamed up. They fought and cut each other off and just made life harder on themselves, it was great. I found Caledon to be a shit assassin. An assassin should be able to tell when something is amiss. And guess what? A girl named shadow? SOMETHING IS OBVIOUSLY AMISS! I love how shocked he was when he found out she was lying. Like um...OBVIOUSLY. How are your observation skills such shit? I found some of the scenes to be a bit abrupt. For instance, after Shadows true identity is revealed as is her betrothal to another man, she goes to Caledons room and just quickly has sex with him so that her body doesn't belong to her betrothed, but to her beloved. It was just...abrupt. Here he is reeling after being dealt all of these earth shattering truths, and shes like "Well, forget all that for a second so you can take my virginity, K?" They could have talked a bit more, or something. I know she sneaked out but still. Other than that, as I said, I enjoyed it. I know there's a sequel coming but it honestly felt complete for me despite them not being entirely happy and together.
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