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 on the events of The Queen’s Assassin.
The Queen’s Secret picks up right after The Queen’s Assassin left off, and explores 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.
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 should probably clarify than Shadow and Lilac are one and the same person. After the ‘twist’ in The Queen’s Assassin, Shadow’s real name and family history was revealed, thus her name changing. This, as you can imagine, was a bit confusing to read, especially at first. Cal referring to her as both Shadow and Lilac in the same chapter also didn’t help matters.
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 had become a lot more important in the second. 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. Although Cal’s attitudes towards women had improved, he was still an exceedingly dull character, and his only personality trait was his love for Lilac. Similarly, although Lilac shed her impulsivity and recklessness, she kept her stupidity and something about her just annoyed me.
Some of the new characters weren’t any better, either: take Rhema, for example. All the characters reminded me that she was ‘a younger version of Lilac’ every five minutes, and I definitely saw the resemblance. She, too, had about as much common sense as a moth, and took some very dangerous risks, almost getting herself and her friends killed.
Lilac’s attitude towards Rhema irked me, too. She spent a good 250 pages in the book simmering with jealousy over her assumed relationship with Cal but then had a complete 360 on her with no explanation whatsoever. Rhema was clearly just inserted in for drama and a poorly executed love triangle, and it made me cringe reading it.
Speaking of love triangles… There was, of course, the whole Hansen-Lilac-Cal issue too. Hansen was a complete and utter hypocrite, and I truly despised him and the way he belittled his wife. The fact that both Lilac and Hansen had different partners whilst being married to each other left a really bad taste in my mouth, even if they didn’t actually love each other. Each time Cal made a move on Lilac I had to bite my tongue and resist the urge to yell “She has a husband!” at him. Anyone heard of adultery?
This, too, was another reason I disliked Lilac so much… She claimed to love Cal yet she asked him to put his whole life on hold for her and have a relationship with someone who was already taken. If Lilac loved Cal even half as much as she claimed to, she would’ve wanted what was best for him… And that wasn’t her.
Of course, I can’t really speak about Hansen and Lilac’s relationship without delving into the whole heir issue too. Somehow, they were married over a year without sleeping together or even talking about the prospect of having a child. When Holden finally broached the subject Lilac was genuinely surprised and it made me want to repeatedly hit my head against a brick wall. Ignoring the fact that it was a political marriage with the aim of uniting the kingdoms, thus requiring an heir, 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 wife. I mean, come on. How stupid can you get?!
In all fairness, most of the characters in this book had a monopoly on stupidity. Everyone was so incredibly 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.
The ridiculous number 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. Sigh.
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 truly appreciated. 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.
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!