The Queen's Assassin: The Queen's Secret, Book 1

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Queen's Assassin: The Queen's Secret, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Teens search for conspirators in so-so romantic fantasy.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Romantic fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

We need to preserve ancient ways and make sure everyone has access to that knowledge; knowledge and power should not be hoarded by an elite few but shared with everyone. Marital affairs in a loveless, political marriage are normalized. Overall message about good vs. evil, love conquering all, honest communication, and working as a team are beginning to develop, but maybe because it's the first of two planned volumes no definite answers or messages shine through clearly.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shadow and Cal are good role models for trying to do what's right and putting their duties ahead of their own desires. Even though they're on the good-guy side, they're spies and assassins, and Cal especially has to ruthlessly do whatever he must, including kill, to accomplish his missions. Shadow is stubborn, impulsive, and acts without thinking, with mixed results. Cal likes to think ahead and plan. Matter-of-fact mention of two married, same-sex couples. Different skin colors from light to dark mentioned in describing characters but don't affect their social or economic status.


Fantasy violence includes magical attacks, using blood in a ritual, and using magic to restrain and choke. Real-world violence includes fights with swords, bows, knives; punching, kicking, and sound of breaking bones; and stabbing with a sword, slitting throats, and slicing off a finger. In all cases blood and pain are mentioned briefly but no gore is described. Some scariness from characters in danger and from non-gory descriptions of the aftermath of a battle. A ringleader bullies tweens and teens and gets his comeuppance.


Sex is described once briefly and vaguely without body parts or details; kissing, taking off clothes, and getting under covers is mentioned. Several long kisses. Romantic feelings and dynamics, and cuddling in bed in pajamas. A queen is OK with her husband the king having a semi-open affair since she doesn't love him and it's a political marriage.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults 18 and up drink wine and beer with meals or at parties. Slight excess is mentioned once. No consequences mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Queen's Assassin is a romantic fantasy from veteran author Melissa de la Cruz and is the first of two planned volumes. It ends mid-story, so overall messages aren't clear yet but good vs. evil, love conquering all, and coming-of-age issues may become more concrete by story's end. Sex is described once briefly and vaguely with no body parts or details mentioned. There are a few deep kisses, cuddling, and romantic dynamics. Fantasy and real-world violence include stabbing, slitting throats, slicing off a finger, and magical attacks; in all cases some blood and pain are briefly mentioned but there's no gore. Tweens and teens are bullied by a ringleader who gets his comeuppance. Adults 18 and up drink wine and beer occasionally; slight excess is mentioned once with no consequences. Positive representations of a variety of skin colors and a couple of same-sex marriages. No strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byMidnightboknerd April 19, 2021


I love this author, and really enjoyed this. i was screaming for the romance to work, and was surprised by the plot twist. i really liked it, and thout it was n... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byfeyre January 27, 2021

I couldn't finish it

I tried 2 times to read this book, and both times I couldn't even get halfway through the book without being bored to death. The beginning started off good... Continue reading

What's the story?

At 19, Cal Hoyt is THE QUEEN'S ASSASSIN, bound by a magical, unbreakable vow to serve the queen of Renovia and restore to her a set of ancient scrolls. The scrolls have been missing for generations, but now signs and rumors indicate that a deadly faction may have discovered them and try to use them to seize power in Renovia. Shadow's dream has been to join the Guild as a secret spy and assassin for the queen, longing to be just like Cal. Now that she's 18, she's been called away from the farm where she grew up to take up a stifling life at the royal court. Unable to bear the idea, she runs away the night before she's supposed to leave, determined to rescue Cal from his unjust prison sentence and become his apprentice. As Cal and Shadow try to unravel the plot against the queen, they find their feelings for each other changing and growing stronger. When the time comes for them to fulfill their duties, will it bring them together, or tear them apart?

Is it any good?

This duology start by Melissa de la Cruz is sure to be enjoyed by fans who like a nice dose of adventure and fantasy along with their romance. Unfortunately, The Queen's Assassin is too predictable, full of plot holes, and leaves too many dangling threads to appeal to a wider audience. Most aspects of the book, like the setting, plot, and characters, are serviceable but not very imaginative or original. Fans can hope that the planned second volume will offer some surprises, fill in the holes, and weave in the threads. But if your teen just can't get enough of romantic fantasy, this one will certainly give them enough to tide them over for a little while. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Queen's Assassin. How much is too much? Do you react differently when you read it from when you see it in movies, games, videos, etc.? Why?

  • Why are romantic fantasies so popular? What do we love about them?

  • Have you read any other books by Melissa de la Cruz? If you have, which was your favorite? If you haven't, would you like to now?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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