Rise of the Vicious Princess

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Rise of the Vicious Princess
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
June 14, 2022
ISBN
978-0062908933
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The first in a YA political fantasy duology about a fierce princess determined to bring lasting peace to her kingdom regardless of the cost to her heart —from C.J. Redwine, the author of the Defiance series and the New York Times bestselling Ravenspire series. Perfect for fans of These Violent Delights, And I Darken, and Ash Princess. Princess Charis Willowthorn is the dutiful sword of Calera. Raised to be ruthless and cunning, her only goal is to hold her war-torn kingdom together long enough to find a path toward peace with their ancient foe Montevallo, even if the cost is her own heart. When violence erupts in the castle itself and an unseen enemy begins sinking Calera’s ships, Charis realizes a threat much greater than Montevallo is coming for her people. So she forms a plan. By day, she is Calera’s formidable princess intent on forging an alliance with Montevallo. By night, she disguises herself as a smuggler and roams the sea with a trusted group of loyalists, hunting for their new enemies. And through it all, she accidentally falls in love with the wrong boy. But her enemies are much closer than Charis realizes, and her heart isn’t the only thing she has left to lose.

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Rise of the Vicious Princess Review
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Well, CJ has done it again. I fell in love with CJ's writing when I stumbled upon The Shadow Queen and this book just proves it more. From the description of the book, I honestly thought this was going to be something completely different. Personally, I thought this was going to be more of a vigilante book but it was absolutely none of that. Her sneaking out at night is such a small, small portion of the book. And honestly, I'm so glad for it. The plot of this book is so much better than I would have imagined if this was more of a vigilante story. Nothing about this book was slow and when there was no plotting or assassination attempts, my attention was still captured. The ending is just plain rude because I don't have book 2 in front of me. While I did guess 2 of the 3 twists in the end, I still wasn't emotionally prepared for this to be it and have to wait for the next one.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was how the relationship between Charis and Tal worked. Charis is a princess in the middle of a war. And even if she wasn't a princess in the middle of war, her status does mean a political marriage rather than one for love. It is common for that to happen and a lot of fantasy books don't really follow this ideal. While obviously I would rather have Charis marry for love than for political reasons, her choices make sense. And then the reaction of Tal is understandable as well. Of course Tal is going to be upset but he understands her position. This is clearly not a spoiler because OBVIOUSLY Charis and Tal are going to fall in love and pleaseeeee tell me who doesn't love a good bodyguard/royalty story.

Let's talk about Charis. I LOVE HER. Honestly, with the title of Vicious Princess I was assuming she was going to be this horrendous character that I didn't enjoy because of how "vicious" she was. But let's be real, Charis is such a sweet, caring person but knows when to get that sword in her spine straight. I love this about her because she is never dislikeable. She does what she needs for her kingdom, as a good princess would, and follows what her mother teaches her. In the middle of war, she can't appear weak in front of her enemies which makes sense. But when she's in private, her real self shows and it is clear how much she cares for those around her. I loved her bravery, confidence, and compassion.

Overall, Rise of the Vicious Princess by CJ Redwine was so good, but did we expect anything less from her? I was hooked from beginning to end. The politics in this world were intriguing as Charis tried to figure out everything that was going on while trying to end the war. While I figured out two of the three ending surprises, I still wasn't ready for the book to be over and have to wait for the next one. I absolutely adored Charis and her relationships with everyone, obviously Tal. Her character was so much more than I was expecting and I am here for it. And her. Charis forever.
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Rise of the Vicious Princess Review
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
I honestly do not know how to review this book because I don't know how to accurately explain how much I love it.

I have been a fan of C. J. for years now, and she continues to amaze me. Rise of the Vicious Princess might just be my new favorite of hers.

This story is full of political intrigue, incredible world building, and fantastic character development. Charis is the heir to a kingdom struggling against another. They've been at war for her entire life, but the attacks are getting worse. Not only that, but she's been taught from an early age that she needs to be fierce and not trust anyone. With several attempts on her life, she has no reason to doubt that lesson.

Until Tal comes into the picture. After a failed assassination attempt on the queen, Tal is assigned as Charis's personal bodyguard. She, of course, argues this because she knows how to protect herself, but it's her ailing father's wish, so she reluctantly agrees while keeping him at arm's reach. At least, that's the plan. The problem is, they start becoming friends, and she starts questioning whether she actually needs to face the world alone or if she can let people in.

I loved seeing Charis grow. Not only did she slowly start trusting Tal and enjoying his company, but she started seeing that her two cousins were genuine friends as well. She begins to realize that it might be better to face all these struggles with people supporting her. The relationship between her and Tal felt so real and natural, and there was so much tension in this slow-burn romance. I adored it!

The writing was great, as expected. C. J. has such a skill for sucking me into a book and keeping me there. She's truly a master storyteller, and I just want to stay in her magical worlds forever.

At this point, Rise of the Vicious Princess is my favorite book of 2022 so far. It is full of action, secrets, romance, betrayal, and fantastic characters. This is absolutely one I will re-read in the future. I cannot wait for the next book!
Good Points
- Incredible world building and storytelling
- Great character development
- Political intrigue and plenty of action
- Slow-burn romance
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A battle for peace at all cost
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I liked:
Charis has been raised to show no fear, give in to no feelings, and the kingdom's peace is what matters above all else. Descriptions by the author of the dresses, the hairdos, and the relationships Charis forms are all crafted to show strength to all she interacts with.
The harsh punishments handed down by her mother to those who could have been to blame for the various attempts on her life are heartbreaking but necessary. Struggling to forge peace, she even gives away her chance at love by agreeing to a marriage with the enemy.
Final Verdict:
A politically fueled fantasy with various attempts on the royalty's lives and the massive plot twist cliffhanger, you will find it hard to put this one down. Be prepared for dark times, but they are balanced with hope by our brave vicious princess who is willing to lay it all on the line to have peace for her people.
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engaging YA fantasy
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
RISE OF THE VICIOUS PRINCESS is an intriguing YA fantasy. Charis is the princess of Calera, a kingdom at war with their neighbor, Montevallo. Her life changes when an assassination attempt leaves her mother wounded. An overzealous guard means they cannot question the assassin nor the spy found in Charis's bath. Knowing that there must a spy in their midst, her mother, Queen, delivers a drastic ruling, leaving Charis feeling alone, grieving, and beginning to take on ruling responsibilities while her mother heals.

As Charis navigates the politics of the kingdom, she also finds herself developing feelings for her new bodyguard while also fighting off assassination attempts of her own. She must consider what is best for her people as she forges a new path forward- even if it sacrifices herself in the process.

What I loved: Charis is a really compelling character, raised to understand that everyone is her enemy and still looking for kindness and friendship anyway. She has faced every betrayal and still come through wanting to trust the people around her, luckily with the support of her father who wants happiness for her future. As her life is threatened, she becomes closer with Tal, her father's bodyguard who has become her own and her closest confidant. Tal is quiet but grows to also care for Charis as much as he is able to, given the differences in their stations.

Charis's world is kept limited by her role and the dangers posed to her, so the reader only explores this world through her rule around the castle/capital. However, through this, we get to learn about the politics, surrounding kingdoms, and non-human beings that are also entering into the conflicts. These elements were really fascinating, and I am hoping to learn more about the other kingdoms in the sequels.

Themes around duty, trust/betrayal, war, politics, dangerous alliances, and following your heart make this a really engaging read. Charis is really coming into her own and navigating a world where everyone has expectations of her. Her life is not her own, and she wants to do the best for her kingdom while also feeling the tug of her own heart.

The twists at the end I absolutely did not see coming, and I love that I was surprised by the way things played out. Highly recommend for people who love a fantasy with a good mystery and shocking reveals.

Final verdict: An engaging and twisty YA fantasy, RISE OF THE VICIOUS PRINCESS features endearing characters, an intriguing world, and thought-provoking themes. Highly recommend for fans of ASH PRINCESS, STOLEN SONGBIRD, and YEAR OF THE REAPER.
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Heart-Stopping YA Fantasy
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Unputdownable! Rise of the Vicious Princess by C.J. Redwine is the first book in a new YA political fantasy duology. Calera has been at war with its neighboring kingdom Montevallo for 19 years. As a result, the kingdom is reaching the end of its coffers, it’s citizens are losing faith in their monarch, and both sides are desperate to find an end. When an assassination attempt inside the palace leaves the queen near death, Princess Charis Willowthorn steps into the role she was born to play. With enemies at every turn and unsure of the few friends she has, Charis must chart her own path and find a way to suss out the spy within the palace.

I love Charis. I wasn’t sure at first. She is fierce, loyal, stubborn, and exactly what a princess and ruler should be. She puts her citizens’ needs first and hers last. Charis proves over and over again that she will do whatever is necessary to protect her kingdom, even sacrificing her own dreams and self. I was impressed with her singular focus, however it also made me sad. She was raised to be ruthless, and she is, but she also has a large heart that she hides behind the an armor of rage. She pulls on her anger for strength to face whatever is needed of her. Few see her for who she truly is.

Then enters Tal. Tal is her father’s personal guard, but after the failed assassination attempt on the queen and an assassin is found in the princess’s own chambers, Tal is sent to protect Charis. He is quiet, but his presence is calming for Charis. He is a solid reassurance that she is safe, or as safe as she can be with assassins trying to get her. I love Tal. He is simply an amazing character. There is so much we don’t know about him, but what little we do is easy to love.

As much as I love Tal and Charis, the world-building is phenomenal. I was fully immersed in Calera, their war, and all the political clashes that come with it. I became quite attached, forming my own (strong) opinions on certain members of the council and wishing I could advise Charis myself. The foreshadowing is superb. There are enough hints that if you pick up on them you will know what is coming which is dramatic irony at its finest.

Overall, I loved Rise of the Vicious Princess. I intended to read it slowly, savor it, knowing it will most likely be at least a year before I get the conclusion, but I couldn’t I read it in almost one sitting, unable to turn the pages fast enough. Charis is a fantastic character, the romance is slowly built and a perfect balance of steamy and sweet, and the plot is heart-stoppingly fast paced. If you are a fan of YA fantasy, then this is a must read.
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