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An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,266 ratings  ·  528 reviews
When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn't the only secret he's been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and to take it one step further- ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Popular Answered Questions
Nealkitt One of the main characters is Bi/Pan and the other main character crossdresses to play off as a boy.
Exillior Not sure if you have read the book since then but no, it does not. The story of Katherine does start in Cornwall (although the coast is not mentioned)…moreNot sure if you have read the book since then but no, it does not. The story of Katherine does start in Cornwall (although the coast is not mentioned) but most of the story takes place in London. There are a few scenes taking place on the banks of the river Thames, but still in London. (less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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I was initially going to post lots of status updates for this book, because I feel like that is what you are supposed to do when you manage to finagle a prized ARC like this one - but instead I knocked it back like it was a glass of drinkable wine and I was trying to get drunk off of it. What I'm trying to say is that it was good. Really good. Defies expectations good.

AN ASSASSIN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON, despite the cutesy title, is
Elle (ellexamines)
This was such a good take on Twelfth Night.

I shall start this review off with a slight bit of criticism: the plot of this book is, admittedly, very convoluted. The plot feels at time repetitious due to the lack of narrative weight presented by certain plot points.

However, the book is almost entirely redeemed by its characters: Katherine and Toby are written with so much heart. I loved how Katherine’s character’s inner turmoil and conflict was written and conveyed by the narrative. I also adored
♛ may
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
ehhhhh, i liked the ~*idea*~ of this book more than the actual book

the characters were alright, they had good backstories but i found the more the story progressed, the more it wasn't coming together. the stakes were pretty HIGH but it didn't feel like it. it felt pretty relaxed the whole way through

and dont get me wrong, im a really big shipper, but for some reason, i felt NO chemistry between the characters. they were developed so quickly and honestly it was becoming a chore to read

so, guess
4/5 Stars

Pre reading thoughts:

This book has all the ingredients I never knew I needed to see gathered in one book:

Elizabethian era ✔️
Girl disguises herself as a boy ✔️
Takes place during the Anglo-Spanish War ✔️
Plotting an assassination against Elizabeth I ✔️
Both protagonists have to perform in a Shakespearean play, presumably "Twelfth Night" ✔️
Young spy ✔️
Revenge ✔️
From enemies to lovers (probably) ✔️

What I liked about this book:

-Basically everything, most of them I mentioned in my pre-r
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
No shade to this book. I just refuse to read a book, this year, that doesn’t immediately spark my interest within the first 50 pages.
Virginia Boecker
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)

*sees nice reviews*


*runs away*
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2018
This is such a fun unique take on historical fiction. Shakespeare, romance, disguised gender and, you know, plotting murder, made for one excellent story.

This is a great standalone I highly recommend.
Wing (bibliomeds)
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5/4 stars
i enjoyed this much more than i expected to (once I read past the first 100 pages and considered DNFing it)
the author clearly did her research and knows her stuff - making the plot and story very wholesome to read.
I love the story, I love Katherine and Toby, and honestly I think i relate to Shakespeare the most in the entire book (but I'm nowhere as talented lmao).
i just wish there was more at the end ahhhhhhh
hope this short review makes sense.
Katherine Moore
Did you know that Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was written to capture the would-be assassin of Queen Elizabeth I?!
And what do you get when you combine a cross-dressing Catholic called Katherine Arundell, out to avenge the death of her father, and put her slap-dab in the middle of merry old London?

‘An Assassin’s Guide to Love & Treason’, of course, and it’s quite scrumptious.
This romp through 1601 will have you questioning any history you may think you’ve learned about Elizabethan London, about t
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, lgbtq
A bisexual loose retelling of the gunpowder plot; with bisexuality discussed openly and beautifully whilst also exploring cross dressing. Mixed with political intrigue, Shakespeare, a slow burn romance and all set in Tudor England.....I die.

This was just a whole lot of fun. Probably someone more into mysteries/thrillers might have guessed the ending sooner but I didn’t - it shocked me and I loved it.

Our main two characters - Katherine and Toby are wonderfully awkward about their crush. As someo
Enjoyable, but not the best thing I've ever read.
Lauren Stoolfire
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That was awesome! I need more YA historical fiction like this. Like Mackenzi Lee and A Knight's Tale? Then I have a feeling you'll love this too. ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book! And I did like the characters, the setting, and parts of the plot. But something was missing. I think this book would have been great if there was one more book involved. The ending was to quick and happy. Left me wanting more. Additionally I felt that the romance by the two MCs became a bit ridiculous. Kit is trying to kill the queen and she’s dressed like a man. But then is more than willing to give up her identity in a moment of passion. Which didn’t feel ri ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I really hope that 2020 isn't a year full of "if only" books! This could've been 4 stars ..if only...

I loved the premise and setting of the story! I'm vaguely familiar with Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and the clashes between Protestants and Catholics during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the first, but I had no idea that Shakespeare's plays played such political roles! I always appreciate a book that is well researched and teaches me something.

I enjoyed the writing as well. It was fitting to the t
Nicki Chapelway
Nov 16, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF-55 pages

It is with a heavy heart that I decide that I will not be finishing this book. I wanted so, so badly to like it. The second that I saw that it had released I ordered it from the library. It was still processing, I was the first person from my library to get it. But unfortunately, this book just isn't what I had hoped it would be.

It has far too much content. The swear words are not only unnecessary, but also unrealistic. I'm not an expert on swear word etymology but I am pretty sure t
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't get over how clever An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason is. For the inner English Lit nerd, watching all the pieces of this book come together was me just yelling, "YES!" over and over again. That's almost what it was like watching me read this book. Except I was in a government building. So it was more just happy sighing over and over again. But besides the cleverness of the writing, what I loved was the assassins, weapon training, conspiracies, and love story.

full review: https://u
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Short, stunned take: Absolutely brilliant.
Actual blurb: A tour de force blending wrenchingly complicated romance, vibrant theatre history, and deadly Elizabethan politics, AN ASSASSIN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON seduced me completely.
Pretty good

It was really engaging and full of suspense. I also absolutely loved the historical aspect and the characters. The spies, the illusions, the lies-it definitely made the story more awesome!!

Full review to come!!
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
--23 August 2022
I don't know why I like this book so much but I keep coming back to reread it. I just love Kit and Toby (and Kit and Toby together). Will admit this time I skimmed the Kit-practicing-with-the-plot-Catholics parts because they're boring but I love everything else. Shakespeare is my favorite side character just because he's so weird and I love how meta the plot is!

--31 October 2019
old review: (view spoiler)
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this so much I blurbed it
"Assassins, spies, a forbidden romance, a plot to kill the queen, and secrets aplenty - all centering around Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Be still my Shakespeare-loving fangirl heart."
Jun 06, 2018 marked it as to-read
Hmm.. that title and that cover remind me greatly of A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.. but since Mackenzi Lee herself enjoyed it, I'll give it a go. ...more
4.5! This was a great romp that also had me very worried that things would not turn out alright -- no traumatically tragic ending here though, hurrah!

This has spies, secret identities, girls dressing up as boys dressed as girls, and lots of feelings about Kit Marlowe. GOOD TIMES.
Raven_Blake (dreamy addictions)
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars!
Same Review Also Posted On My Blog: Dreamy Addictions

I thought I would love this book, but sadly it was not what I had expected.  I haven't read Virgina Boecker's The Witch Hunter series, but I really wanted to give this a shot because I couldn't resist a spy novel.   I was hoping for a  suspenseful YA historical spy novel with a dash of romance but what I got is a dramatic YA romance between two Star crossed lovers. Honestly, It has a good concept but I think this one i
Erin Arkin
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I read the synopsis of An Assassin’s Guide to Love & Treason by Virginia Boecker, I knew I had to read it. This book is a standalone and it has a fast pace to keep the story moving and if you like historical books focused on a plot for murder, I think you should pick this one up.

The story focuses on two main characters, Lady Katherine and Toby Ellis. Everything really kicks off when Katherine’s father is executed for being a practicing Catholic, a dangerous thing in those times. Kathe
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
Katherine goes to London dressed as a boy with the singular purpose of assassinating Queen Elizabeth. Toby is a spy charged with discovering who’s behind this plot. Both use the production of Shakespeare’s new play Twelfth Night to execute their plans.

I was highly anticipating this book, out 10/23 from Hachette/Little Brown*, and I really enjoyed An Assassin’s Guide. The characters were definitely the highlight for me, and I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop. Toby is bisexual, and actual
Lea (drumsofautumn)
Jan 25, 2018 marked it as owned-tbr
I loved the The Witch Hunter duology so much and this one sounds even more perfect I AM GONNA PEE MYSELF!
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Historical is one of my least read genres. Although people and events from history are interesting, if I read historical, I don't want an exact recounting like a textbook. I want something that adds to the past and makes it unique and fun. Assassin's Guide takes people you know such as Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare (who are two of my favorites already) and adds danger, intrigue, romance, sass, humor (a must-have for my historical reads!), along with original characters who feel real and an o ...more
Trigger warnings: death of a loved one, torture, violence, animal death, religious discrimination/anti-Catholic sentiment(??? IDK if this is triggering, but whatever).

Let's start with the obvious here: I'm not a huge fan of this title. Yes, it does what it says on the tin. But it's a little TOO similar to The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue/The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. And as a result, I went into it half expecting the same level of fun and adventure. And instead I got a story
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. AN ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON is a novel that I’d been looking forward to reading since I first heard about it, and on the whole, it didn’t disappoint! It was surprisingly readable and pretty compelling (in spite of the fact that I never particularly felt like either of the main characters would be in true danger of a terrible end), and I enjoyed all the historical aspects (real and fictional), the way Twelfth Night is woven in (it’s one of my favorite Shakespeare plays afte ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was not the book I expected it to be. In fact, I enjoyed it all the better because of that fact.
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Virginia Boecker is the author of The Witch Hunter series and An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason. A graduate of the University of Texas, she had a decade-long career in technology before quitting to become a full-time writer. When she isn't writing, Virginia likes running, reading, traveling, and trying new things (most recently: learning to drive a boat). She has lived all over the world but ...more

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Welcome to the world of irresistible young adult fiction! Every month, our team takes a look at what books are being published and how...
51 likes · 20 comments
“You see, Seraphina is unable to love. She cannot love as she is in mourning because her father is dead. While we're at it, let's kill her brother too. Two dead relatives are always better than one.” 2 likes
“If I've learned anything in my position, it's that there's nothing more deceptive than the obvious.” 1 likes
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