The queen's secret

Melissa De la Cruz, 1971-

Book - 2021

"When Cal and Lilac are forced to face dark forces apart, the strength of their love--and their kingdom--are put to the ultimate test"--

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YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Delacruz Melissa
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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Delacruz Melissa Due Mar 2, 2024
Subjects
Genres
Young adult fiction
Romance fiction
Fantasy fiction
Novels
Published
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons [2021]
Language
English
Main Author
Melissa De la Cruz, 1971- (author)
Item Description
Sequel to: The queen's assassin.
Physical Description
306 pages : map ; 22 cm
Audience
Ages 14 and up.
ISBN
9780525515944
9780593353615
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

While this concluding title in de la Cruz's duology doesn't stand alone and may frustrate readers unfamiliar with The Queen's Assassin (2020), fans of the first title will happily settle in for a quick read that combines fantasy, mystery, and romance. Nineteen-year-old Queen Lilac of Renovia, while in a purely political marriage with King Hansen of Montrice, has managed to bring her lover, Caledon Holt, the Queen's Assassin (i.e., bodyguard) with her to her husband's court. Here they meet up in the titular "secret" room, while King Hansen beds any woman in the court he pleases--which doesn't include Lilac. Alternating chapters from Lilac and Cal provide differing viewpoints of both their committed ardor for each other and their lovers' spats, while advancing a complex plot of conspiracy, magical possession, and sacrifice for one's family and country. Predictable in plot yet satisfying in execution, this may not be de la Cruz's best work, but that won't matter to her loyal readers.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Romantic fantasy turns into lovelorn politicking in this duology closer and follow-up to The Queen's Assassin (2020). Formerly feisty assassin-in-training Shadow is now Queen Lilac of Montrice, still secretly meeting her lover, Chief Assassin Caledon Holt, while managing to avoid her (nice, hound-loving) husband. But the evil Aphrasian monks are still a threat, and when Cal rides off with attractive apprentice Rhema, 19-year-old Lilac fears she's lost him. Cal's adventures take him back to Renovia and to the frightening Aphrasian stronghold of Baer Abbey; Lilac, previously accustomed to a similarly adventurous life, feels increasingly imprisoned in the Montrician castle. While the somewhat flimsy fantasy world offers some decent adventure and intrigue, most of the alternating narrative (Lilac's in first-person present tense, Cal's from close third-person) consists of the lovers' being jealous and angry while circumstances hold them apart while Lilac works much harder to avoid consummating her year-old marriage than she does to govern. Sometimes-awkward writing, usually due to the limitations of present-tense narration, inconsistent characterization, and uneven pacing plague the text. Physical descriptors are few and far between, but the world is established as diverse in terms of race (for example, Lilac's mother is dark-skinned) and sexuality (Lilac's aunt is in a same-sex marriage). Purely for completists. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Prologue In the far north of the Kingdom of Montrice, winter arrives early once more. The mellow days of autumn are over, the fruits of the harvest hastily packed into granaries and cellars, cured meat dangle from oak rafters. The fields are empty apart from golden bales of hay ready to be transported to stables and stacked high in barns. This far north, they are accustomed to snow. So when a blizzard swirls in before the trees have shed their last leaves, no one gives it much thought at first. For three days the wind howls and snow falls in frigid ropes. In the village of Stur, snow piles so high that tunnels must be dug to allow doors to open, and every family wakes to darkness, their houses packed in snowdrifts. At last, when the blizzard passes, they climb out to find snow heaped on rooftops, clogging chimneys, and encrusting wells. The village elders say that Stur has never seen so much snow, not in living memory. It makes them uneasy about the winter that lies ahead. But the snow has transformed the muddy streets and plowed fields into a sparkling white wonderland. After the children of Stur finish their morning's work, they gather to play on snowy banks, creating makeshift sleds by lashing branches together. The village rings with the happy shouts of children tumbling down hillsides and jumping into drifts. The pond is covered by thick white ice; its surface is the face of the moon. A dog skids across the ice, barking with surprise, and some of the children decide to try skating, something they've heard about but never experienced. They hurry to strip bark from the birch trees around the pond and strap it to their boots with ribbons of leather. The bravest go out first, soaring across the ice, laughing when they lose their balance and sprawl across its hard, slippery sheen. Soon the village children play on the frozen pond. A crash of thunder sounds, splintering the calm of the afternoon. A dark cloud moves across the wintry blue sky so the snow no longer glints in the sun. Some of the children look up, hoping for more snow. But no more snow falls. Not one crystal snowflake. Thunder crashes again, so loud the nearby houses shake. Lightning cracks open the sky and ink-black fingers shoot across the pond's surface, staining the ice with veins of ebony. The same black ripples from the hillsides to the banks surrounding the pond, and outward to the snowbound streets of the village. Along these ominous fault lines, ice begins to crack. Snow melts as suddenly as it fell. Torrents of freezing water pour down the hills, and Stur's main street is transformed into an icy river, sweeping people and animals into its freezing surge. With a thunderous crack, the frozen pond splinters and the children sink into the frigid water, screaming and thrashing. As the hills above churn with cold water, the pond becomes a drain, drawing everything--and everyone--into its icy whirlpool. When the dark cloud passes, all evidence of snow has disappeared. All that remains are soggy fields, bare hillsides, and streets thick with sludge. The village pond is still, its bright moon face gone. The villagers who survived the deluge rush to its banks, and there, through a thin layer of frost, delicate as a spider's web, lie the frozen bodies of the children, their faces distorted with terror. By the time the messenger rides out to the capital of Mont, he is reminded to report that of all the day's strange and horrifying events, there is one detail that is so curious that it must not be overlooked. The layer of frost across the pond was not gray, or even dirty white, the usual color. It was the color of fresh spring lilacs. Excerpted from The Queen's Secret by Melissa de la Cruz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.