Review: The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz

Synopsis:

Caledon Holt is the kingdom’s deadliest weapon.  No one alive can best him in speed, strength, or brains, which is why he’s the Hearthstone Guild’s most dangerous member.  Cal is also the Queen’s Assassin, bound to her by magic and unable to leave her service until the task she’s set for him is fulfilled.

Shadow of the Honey Glade has been training all her life to join the Guild, hoping one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Cal.  But Shadow’s mother and aunts expect her to serve the crown as a lady of the Renovian Court.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re force to team up as assassin and apprentice.  Even though Shadow’s life belongs to the court and Cal’s belongs to the queen, they cannot deny their attraction to each other.  But now, with war on the horizon and true love at risk, Shadow and Cal will uncover a shocking web of lies that will change their paths forever.” 

Review:

When I read a YA novel, in my opinion it usually falls into two categories; young YA and old YA. This one definitely falls in the young YA category. It’s a quick and easy read, it has a very juvenile feel to it and an almost fairytale quality about it particularly apparent in the introduction when it starts “Long ago, when all the kingdoms of Avantine were united”.

The beginning of the book promises to be good, we have a long introduction into the history of Avantine and the back-story behind the ancient Deian scrolls. The setting is interesting, I enjoyed reading about Renovia and the descriptions of the scenery and woodland and a map at the beginning of a book is always a good idea.

The main plot and storyline also showed great promise, however I think at times the main premise of the story got lost in a lot of the fluff in the storyline. The story telling itself is very simplistic, it lacked depth and nothing really held my attention or drew me into the story enough that I wanted to keep turning the pages with relish. There is something about the writing style that is slightly off, it could be that that we have the two main protagonists written in the third and first person, which has been mentioned countless times in previous reviews. When I was reading the book I don’t think this particularly bothered me, but looking back this could have contributed to the odd writing style.

Whilst the book has a great mix of characters, these are under-developed and slightly one-dimensional, there is not nearly enough depth to them for my liking. There is a definite lack of chemistry between Caledon (Cal) and Shadow and the whole romance is kept very lightweight and innocent. It definitely wasn’t giving me all the feels and I do love a good romance to spice up a novel. Unfortunately I just couldn’t relate to any of the characters at all.

Cal had so much potential as the queen’s assassin, but sadly didn’t live up to my expectations. I was anticipating a strong, aggressive, warrior and there could have been some amazing action scenes with Cal showing off his skills and prowess, but these just fall completely flat. “Running a sword through his belly” is about all the action we get. The same goes for Shadow, she potentially could have been such a strong character. Her altercation with a large ‘scimitar-toothed jaguar’ at the beginning left me wanting so much more from that scene. She kicks this likely man-eating beast once in the chest and that’s it, over and done with. This could have been such an explosive scene. “I kick ferociously at it’s chest, sending it flying. It slams to the ground, knocked out cold”.

This book is fine as long as you want an easy to read, lightweight fantasy, bordering on middle grade. It’s certainly not the S J Maas style of writing it has been likened to. As long as you don’t go into it thinking you will get an action packed, high fantasy, peppered in rich in detail, with lots of colourful characters, you will most likely really enjoy it.

While the whole premise for the story was good and I enjoyed reading about the world, the magic the setting it lacked detail, depth, passion and grit, amazing fight scenes and a stonking good romance. Even if the book is supposed to be aimed at slightly younger readers this can still be achieved without blood and gore and a raunchy romance. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.

The book had so much potential and I really do hope it steps up a notch in the sequel. However, it is unlikely I will read it (unless I spot any really good reviews).

⭐️⭐️ 2 stars

Published by twistedinpages

Reader • Reviewer • Blogger

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