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…). Ultimately, though, the Queen’s Assassin fell short of my expectations.
I think all readers know how difficult it is to read a book where you dislike the characters and, right from the outset, I realised that Shadow and Cal were not my cup of tea. Shadow was unrealistically talented at everything, stupidly reckless and impulsive, and, to top all of that off, a liar. Similarly, Cal had about as much personality as a wall, had slightly disturbing thoughts about women and their bodies, and was, in all honesty, just plain boring.
Of course, the issues with Cal weren’t helped by De La Cruz’s decision to put his POV in third person, which was incredibly clunky and jarring to read. Each time the POVs switched I would cringe at the poor decision to switch up the perspectives, as it was really difficult to get inside Cal’s head and understand more of his thought process.
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… In all honesty, I can’t remember what. And don’t even get me started on the impossible situation Shadow puts him in at the end!
Despite their uninspiring romance, De La Cruz made the decision to put Shadow and Cal’s love story at the centre of the book. Yep, you guessed it… Despite being a fantasy, the main plotline was a poorly executed romance between two teenagers. But, in all honesty, I probably could have dealt with that if she hadn’t randomly inserted half or dozen or so random plotlines. Sigh.
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 some random lady’s house. I mean, seriously.
I don’t think I can go any longer without mentioning the major plot-twist. Let’s just say it was extremely predictable… It took me about five of Shadow’s chapters to guess it. 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 are an experienced fantasy reader who is looking for something new, I’d advise you to stay far, far away from The Queen’s Assassin – and the sequel, too, for that matter.
I hope you enjoyed this review!