The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1)

by Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 4th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy



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.



3 stars

I 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! 😀  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. 









Google books:



Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.


Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.


She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.


Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).


She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.













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  1. Wonderful review. I also had a few issues with this that prevented me from giving it a higher rating. I haven’t read anything else by this author before though and now I’m not really sure whether her writing is 100% for me, but there were still enjoyable elements to this book. I wish the character development was better though. I really wanted to know more about Cal and I found the same issues you did with Shadow’s character (especially with her directing him lol). Glad to know that I wasn’t the only one with these thoughts 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion on this one, Sophie. It keeps catching my eye but then the comparison to Red Queen makes me hesitate since that series isn’t a favorite of mine.

    1. I know that the cover is so pretty that it makes for an insta buy Suzanne! Now read others reviews to make up your mind about this one 😉

  3. Oh I struggled with it and gave up. Maybe I should have stuck on…. I have the Tour on Sunday . Maybe I can still get on. Thanks for the review to encourage me