Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz.
The Queen’s Assassin follows two protagonists: Cal, the queen’s assassin, and Shadow, who he takes on as an apprentice. During the book they undergo a secret mission to save their kingdom and free Cal from the blood oath his father made to the queen.
This book had an excellent premise which was the main reason why I was excited about it (well, that, and the gorgeous cover…). I loved the idea of deadly assassins and I can never resist a good romance – and this one sounded like there would be some great tension in it, too! Ultimately, though, the Queen’s Assassin fell short of my expectations.
Every readers will know how difficult it is to read a book where you dislike the characters and, right from the outset, I had that problem. Our two leads really didn’t do anything for me – Shadow gave off some major Mary Sue vibes in addition to being incredibly reckless and impulsive, and Cal… Well, let’s just say he was pretty one-dimensional and undeveloped. It didn’t help that he had some pretty disturbing thoughts about women, either… Let’s just say he wasn’t my favourite character.
Of course, the issues with Cal weren’t helped by his POV being in third person, which was really clunky and jarring to read. Each time the POVs switched it would take some time to get used to the difference in voices, and it was really difficult to get inside Cal’s head and understand more of his thought process. I don’t think I’ve ever read another book alternating between first and third person and it’s an experience I don’t think I’ll be repeating.
I wish I could say that the romance between them made up for Cal and Shadow’s poor individual characters, but that would be a lie. Sure, the flirty banter between the two in the first half of the book showed promise, but they spent the rest of the book arguing over all manner of trivial things. The situation Shadow puts Cal in at the end really didn’t help matters either!
Despite their uninspiring romance, Shadow and Cal’s love story soon became the centre of the book – despite being a fantasy. I completely get that lots of fantasies are pretty heavy on romance now, but, for me at least, it starts becoming a problem when the romance seriously outweighs the fantasy elements. Still, I probably could have dealt with that if there hadn’t been so many random plotlines.
Another expectation the book fell short of was, of course, the actual assassinating plot. Word of advice, if you’re reading this book for action and assassinations, this probably isn’t the book for you, despite the title. Our two protagonists spent the vast majority of their time just hanging out in another’s character’s house – when they weren’t arguing or flirting with each other, of course.
I don’t think I can go any longer without mentioning the major plot-twist – which was the most predictable I’ve read in a while! It literally took me less than five of Shadow’s chapters to guess it, which is never a good sign, which meant the ‘big reveal’ was, frankly, anti-climatic and extremely disappointing.
However, that’s not to say that the book didn’t have some good aspects. Shadow and Cal did have some chemistry to start, despite it fizzling out over time. Similarly, the relationship between Shadow’s two aunts was a cute side plot and I applaud De La Cruz for the execution of it… In all honesty, I was more invested in them than our two main characters. And, of course, the actual setting of the book was decent.
Overall, I would recommend The Queen’s Assassin for anyone new to fantasy and/or fancying a light read. It certainly isn’t anything groundbreaking, but the book is an alright starting point for someone beginning to explore the genre as the fantasy aspects themselves aren’t too heavy. If, however, you have read your share of fantasies and are looking for something fresh and new, I really wouldn’t bother picking this up.
I hope you enjoyed this review!