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.
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, there’s the one boy she can’t have—who guards her life but steals her heart.
But her enemies are much closer than Charis realizes, and her heart isn’t the only thing she has left to lose.
C.J. Redwine knocked the start of this new series out of the park. I mean, she hit it so hard the stitches are falling apart… like my heart after that final chapter. Rise of the Vicious Princess is such a masterpiece up until even the very final paragraphs.
Charis has been raised to be the future Queen. Her ruthless mother raised her to be just as cold and vicious. After attempted murder attacks on the royal family, Charis learns what it’s like to rule alone and how to be the vicious princess her mother groomed her to be.
I really enjoyed Charis’ character. She has wit and ruthlessness when needed but underneath is a caring heart. She walks the line of those two beautifully in this book, of course until the end which had her drowning in emotions. As much as I want Charis to follow her heart, I loved the fact that she put duty above all else for now.
Tal, Holland, and Nalani… our side characters. I truly adored this slew of friendships. Everyone needs a Holland: bold, witty, and fiercely loyal. His sister, Nalani is the other side of the coin: reasonable and a wonderful friend. Then there’s Tal, who becomes Charis’ bodyguard after the murder attempt on the Queen. Tal gives you all the heat, fierce fighting, loyal guard, and above all else a true understand of what Charis is going through.
The “forbidden” romance aspect here between Tal and Charis was one I was rooting for. I will be very curious to see what happens with them in future books.
The ending was gut-wrenching. So, so, much pain and destruction was brought to Charis. See, I thought I had figured out the twist… then I was like hold up maybe I didn’t? This is great! Then… nope, CJ Redwine did it (what I was thinking) and more. When an author can make me question everything and then gut you like that… true mastery.
I absolutely cannot wait to dive back into this world. I am so excited to explore other kingdoms and places of this world. Book 2 cannot come fast enough!!