Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.
Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.
Thank you to the publisher and Northern Bloggers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I wasn’t sure how I’d take this book. I find I’m still daunted by most fantasy books even though I tend to enjoy them a lot more than I used to. But I was very quickly sucked in by this entertaining story and really, really enjoyed reading it.
I was really fond of the characters from the start. Shadow and her story reminded me a little of Mulan and I really liked her individuality and spirit. She’s a great role model for young girls. Cal was also super sweet and I ended up rooting for them. The Queen’s Assassin is told by both of their points of view and changes every few chapters. Shadow’s narrative appealed to me a little bit more than Cal’s, I just found her slightly easier to relate to.
Another important thing about this book for me was the LGBT representation. The casual mentions of Shadow’s aunts made me smile from the start of the book, and throughout at every mention. The normalisations of the relationships really warmed my heart.
The world building was lacking a little and I struggled to picture the surroundings a little. This was a little disappointing as I imagine this world could have been beautiful if it was written with a little more richness. I can almost picture the astounding towers and turrets of the castle and meandering streets of the medieval towns, but it’s just a little out of reach. The most I could picture vividly was the cave and lake at the start of the book.
This was the same for the history of the fantasy world. Unfortunately there wasn’t much explained in way of the reasons behind the tension between the kingdoms, which left me confused in parts.
Unfortunately, the plot was a little predictable and cliche, especially when it came to the romance aspects. I found it quite easy to guess the next part of the plot in most cases, but it was still full of twists and turns that made this book fun and entertaining to read.
But despite the few flaws and this book not being perfect, I really enjoyed it more than I expected to and found it so easy to speed through. If you want an entertaining romantic fantasy, this one is definitely for you!
3.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽