cover image The Queen’s Assassin

The Queen’s Assassin

Melissa de la Cruz. Putnam, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-51591-3

Renovia’s King Esban believes the contents of the Deian Scrolls, which hold all written magical knowledge, should be made public. The monks who benefit from and guard them, however, aim to monopolize magic, take out Renovia’s royals, and commandeer the throne. When Esban perishes while attempting to liberate the scrolls, his advisor, Queen’s Assassin Cordyn Holt, swears a blood vow to finish the task. Regrettably, Cordyn dies before doing so, which means that his 19-year-old son, Caledon, must fulfill the promise. Meanwhile, Shadow, 18, who yearns for adventure and life as an assassin, receives orders to join the Queen at court. When Cal’s crusade lands him in prison, Shadow runs away, hoping to stage a jailbreak and become Cal’s apprentice. But, as Cal can attest, fate resists circumvention. After a dense, mythology-rich setup, de la Cruz (The Birthday Girl) shifts the tale’s focus to Cal and Shadow’s developing romance and their action-packed quest. Alternating narratives keep the pace zippy, and though the conclusion is abrupt and somewhat arbitrary, it neatly sets the scene for book two of this planned duology. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Feb.) [/em]