The Queen's Assassin

The Queen's AssassinPerfect 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 NYT Bestselling Author Melissa De La CruzCaledon 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 AphrasiansShadow 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 HoltWhen 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 I d rather say Voldemort a thousand times before reading one book with the word queen in its title. 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. THAT COVER I ve been burned by this author a few times so here s just hoping she actually finishes this newest series P 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. 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 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. There are a few spoilers in this review, but it s probably better than taking the time to read this bookand 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 toI 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 Ido 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 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 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 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 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. 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. YA fantasy romance a deadly assassin a mysterious apprentice okay, fine, I m ready to be swoon away by this book