Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing The Queen’s Secret by Melissa De La Cruz; the sequel to The Queen’s Assassin. I highly recommend you don’t continue reading if you haven’t finished the first book and plan on reading it as this contains spoilers of the first book’s events.
The Queen’s Secret picks up right after The Queen’s Assassin left off, exploring the strain put on Cal and Lilac’s relationship after the first book’s ending. For the majority of the book they were kept apart and each had to endure different struggles, with both having their own dark forces to contend with.
I actually bought this book before reading The Queen’s Assassin, which I ended up regretting. The Queen’s Secret was, admittedly, slightly better than the first installment, but this duology just didn’t do it for me.
Before I properly get into the review, I’d just like to clarify that Shadow and Lilac are the same person. After the ‘twist’ in The Queen’s Assassin, Shadow’s real name and family history was revealed, which is the reason for the name change – and was definitely a little confusing to read, especially at first. This wasn’t helped by Cal referring to her as both Shadow and Lilac in some chapters.
In The Queen’s Secret, De La Cruz introduced a whole new set of characters, whilst also expanding on some who’d had minor roles in the first book but became a lot more important here. Although I disliked many of these characters, it was nice reading about people other than just Lilac and Cal, who’d been the major focus of The Queen’s Assassin.
I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t like Lilac and Cal anymore than I did in The Queen’s Assassin. Cal was still really one-dimensional and dull, and his only personality trait was his love for Lilac – which is never a good sign. Similarly, although Lilac was less impulsive and reckless, she was still really stupid and there was something about her which just got on my nerves.
Some of the new characters weren’t any better, either: take Rhema, for example. All the characters mentioned that she was ‘a younger version of Lilac’ every five minutes, and I definitely saw the resemblance. She, too, lacked common sense, taking some very dangerous risks – and almost getting herself and her friends killed in the process.
Lilac’s attitude towards Rhema really frustrated me, too. She spent the majority of the book simmering with jealousy over her assumed relationship with Cal but then had a complete 360 on her with no explanation whatsoever. I hate love triangles which are just there for drama and poorly executed, and this was a really great example of that.
Speaking of love triangles… There was, of course, the main one between Lilac, Cal, and Hansen. I found Hansen such a hypocrite, and I truly despised him and the way he disrespected his wife. My main issue, though, was the fact that both Lilac and Hansen had different partners whilst being married to each other – even if there marriage was purely political. I definitely don’t think it’s the right lesson to be sending out to younger readers!
This was another reason I disliked Lilac so much… For someone who claimed to be in love with Cal she expected an awful lot of him. It was really unfair of her to ask him to put his love life on hold for her – and for someone who was already married, no less. If Lilac loved Cal even half as much as she claimed to, she would’ve wanted what was best for him, so I found that aspect of the book really unrealistic.
Of course, I can’t really speak about Hansen and Lilac’s relationship without delving into the whole heir issue too. I found the fact that they’d be married for over a year without even talking about the possibility of children really unrealistic – particularly considering the fact it was a political marriage, with the aim of uniting the kingdoms. Of course, there was also the fact that Holden was actually attracted to her in The Queen’s Assassin, yet somehow waited over a year to make a move on his own wife, which in found really inconsistent.
I also found that the vast majority of the characters were just unbelievably stupid. They were all so incompetent, and no one seemed to know how to do their job properly. It was for this reason that most of the mysteries were left unsolved – another major pet peeve of mine.
The sheer amount of these mysteries probably didn’t help either. Cal was given about five different missions in the duration of the book and I don’t think he successfully completed one, despite supposedly being the most skilled assassin in all the kingdoms. This was another massive issue I had with the book and I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough about any of them.
However, that’s not to say that the book didn’t have some good aspects. It did tie up some of the loose ends from The Queen’s Assassin, which I did appreciate. It also picked up pace a lot near the end, despite most of the book being quite slow moving. Finally, we learnt some more about the four kingdoms, which is always great to see.
Overall, I would recommend The Queen’s Secret for anyone who read and enjoyed The Queen’s Assassin. I highly recommend that, as with any series, you read the first book before purchasing the second. Similarly, if you didn’t enjoy The Queen’s Assassin then this probably isn’t the book for you.
I hope you enjoyed this review!