A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
- Author: Melissa de la Cruz
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
- Publication date: February 4, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 28, 2020
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