Cait’s Review of “Rise of the Vicious Princess” by C. J. Redwine

By: Cait Marie

*Originally posted on YA Books Central.


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, nearly killing the queen, Charis must assume her mother’s duties and manage both the war and her kingdom. But as 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.


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!

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