Review – The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz

The Queen's Assassin

Book Title: The Queen's Assassin

Book Description: “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.”

Book Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Book Format: Hardcover

Publisher - Orgnization: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

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Date published: 2020-01-04

Number Of Pages: 384

  • Writing - 7/10
  • Development - 6/10
  • Overall - 6.5/10
User Review
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The Queen’s Assassin is the first novel in the Queen’s Secret series by Melissa de la Cruz. Cal and Shadow are about to set off on an epic quest to save their kingdom, alongside their queen and princess.


Assassins and Politics Abound in The Queen’s Assassin

The Queen’s Assassin is the first in a new series (Queen’s Secret) by Melissa de la Cruz. If you’re asking yourself if you recognize that name, the odds are fairly good that you do. She’s written several popular series, including Blue Bloods.

Set in a fantasy world, this is a series full of magic, politics, and romance. It’s a YA fantasy in the truest sense, and has been compared to Red Queen during the marketing run. That’s enough to get most fans’ attention right there.

Melissa de la Cruz - The Queen's Assassin
Melissa de la Cruz – The Queen’s Assassin

The kingdom of Renovia has been plagued by threats for decades. When the king dies, the queen knows she has to do something drastic to keep herself and her young daughter alive. Enter Caledon Holt. He’s the Queen’s Assassin, and the second in his line to dedicate his life to the cause.

It’s up to him to keep the princess safe, thwart any uprisings or revolutions, and track down the magical scrolls that the kingdom has lost. But that’s not all he’s going to have to deal with, as Shadow, a young woman, has decided that she wants to follow in his path. And by follow, we, of course, mean “trick him into training her”.


The Queen’s Assassin was a dramatic read, one as full of magic and politics as promised. Melissa de la Cruz’s writing style shone bright here, with an intricate kingdom full of rivals and lords. The plot is very romance-heavy—more than what was marketed, which is probably saying something.

The magical system was an interesting one, though I would not have complained at learning more about it. The characters who wielded said magic treated it as something almost casual, and thus never delved too far into the process (or the history). That’s a bit of a shame if you ask me.

Shadow and Cal were both very different characters—but that made their journey all the more interesting to read about. They grew up having lived very different lives and even had different reasons for wanting/needing to follow this path of theirs.

If I’m being brutally honest here, there was so much potential to be found in this plot, the characters, and their kingdom. You can see it all within the first few chapters. So you can imagine my disappointment when it ended up being slightly less than what I was hoping for (see below).


The Queen’s Assassin ended up reading like two completely different novels at a certain point. It started off as a novel full of politics, intrigue, and almost a coming of age story (for Shadow, at any rate). But by the end, it felt more like an excuse for a romantic plot. That’s not a bad thing, but it wasn’t what was advertised, or what I was hoping for.

The big plot twist in this novel was telegraphed from the very first chapter, making the dramatic revelation…well, not dramatic. That’s not really a horrible thing, given that this isn’t a thriller. But it did lose a lot of impact, and raised some questions about what we had been told up until that point (mainly along the lines of what one character had thought/revealed to us previously).

What was interesting, for me, at least, is how this novel felt like it completed its story. Yes, there are a few plot points left open, I’ll grant you that. Maybe it’s how I feel about the ending that is making me feel this way. For it felt rather lackluster, given all of the buildup.


The Queen’s Assassin is a novel so full of potential that it’s quite painful. While I ultimately was not as happy with this book as I had hoped, I have to admit that there were some really interesting elements to be found along the way. I’ll be curious to hear what the rest of the series ends up being about.

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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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