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The Queen’s Assassin (The Queen’s Secret #1)
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.
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.
Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(3.5 / 5) I received this book from a friend (thank you for the ARC copy!) last year. I started it and got busy with requesting too many ARCs so I never got back to it. Luckily, starting it back up in the middle wasn’t even a problem!
This has all the aspects of a great YA adventure. It has a tough female MC, a guy who is tough on the outside but a softie on the inside, and many adventures along the way.
One difficulty I had with the book was that with the two POV’s (point of views), Shadow was written in first person and Cal was written in third person. It was almost jarring going from one to the other. It took away the flow from the book and was difficult to get used to.
I would have liked more assassin work from Cal and maybe more lessons to her, something that brought the assassin element in. I also would’ve like more character development because while I was mostly entertained, I never grew to like the characters as much as I would’ve liked.
Content Summary: As you can see, there is very low content. I would recommend this for most readers if it wasn’t for the content in book 2. Already, the premise is that a married woman has a secret lover but this woman is needed to produce an heir, even though she doesn’t want to have children with that man. While it doesn’t give many details, the idea of having a lover while married needs to be considered. For this book, the content is low with few details in the sex scenes. The violence and blood stay within a minimum but the dark magic of one man might be too much for some.
I have the ARC for book 2 so review to come soon!
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
Two people (one teen) drink ale with a meal.
Men smoke cigars.
A man (19) and young woman sip wine. The young woman drinks a lot.
A man and young woman drink champagne.
A man (19) has a few drinks. A young woman thinks she’s had too much champagne. The man drinks wine. A woman smells of alcohol.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*Minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*
Two women are married.
A young woman takes a bath in a stream, a young man looks briefly.
A young woman wears a shift to bed and it unknowingly is see-through. A man notices.
A man and young woman sleep in the same bed. He wanted to roll her under him.
A man passionately kisses a married woman.
A man passionately kisses a young woman.
Two men are married.
A man and young woman kiss and take off their clothes. He kisses her all over, then their bodies “fit together as one.” They are tangled in the sheets in the morning. She proposes for him to be her lover when she is wed. Her future husband has a mistress. They kiss.
There is brief talk of consummating a marriage.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A king is said to have died in war with a sword to his chest. His brother is said to have killed the offender by slicing through his neck.
A woman slashes both of her wrists for a blood vow. Then allows the blood to drip into a cup and a man drinks it.
A jaguar attacks a young woman. She kicks it and knocks it out.
A young woman sees a soldier bleeding out, another with a missing arm and a leg broken. Many others are strewn about similarly. She sees two men fighting and one getting stabbed in the chest. The young woman is knocked down and has a sword over her but another man stabs him.
A man falls off his horse and dies.
A young man slams a young man to the ground, they flip and one punches the others face.
A man stabs another man in the stomach. Two men fight, kicking and punching. A man pulls a man from a horse and punches him. One stabs him in the heart with a sword. Two are tied and taken captive.
A man holds a knife to a young woman’s throat and barely cuts her.
A young woman throws rocks at men. A man sliced open a man’s neck with a sword then another’s back. A rock knocks out another man.
On a hunt, a man slits a boar’s throat.
A woman is accused of killing a baby. People tie her to a pole and burn her.
A man has previously killed men.
A young boy slices a finger off a man. The man throws the boy against a wall, his bones crunching. Magic is used to fight then a man stabs a man in the heart.
A man is beaten and thrown in a cell.
Potentially Intense Themes
A man uses magic to come back to life.
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