Reviewed by Samuel Redfearn, age 16
Rise of the Vicious Princess by C.J Redwine
Rise of the Vicious Princess tells the tale of Charis Willowthorn, heir to the throne of the kingdom of Calera. Her mother, the queen, has raised her to be vicious, cutthroat, unfeeling in her personal life, and fully devoted to the protection of the Caleran people. Her father believes Charis mustn’t take on the task of running their kingdom singlehandedly, and although she is dismissive of his advice, she relies on her father to balance her mother’s intensity. Calera has been in a controversial war with the kingdom of Montevallo for nearly two decades, and the instability their nation faces as a result of this war is the most pressing issue for Charis and her mother. When an assassination attempt on the Queen leaves her incapacitated, Charis must take the throne and quell a new wave of controversy. The reader follows Charis in her attempt to achieve peace with Montevallo and return the kingdom to a powerful presence in the region.
Simply put, this book could have been a masterwork of storytelling. The potential for truly unique worldbuilding can be seen throughout. Certainly, there are unexpected events, and the political scene cannot be consigned to mediocrity, however, this book certainly did not achieve all that it could have. The dialogue is often repetitive, with the author consistently using the same phrases to describe similar situations, characters, or emotions, and it takes away from (if not entirely obliterating) the dramatic effect. At the outset of the story, there are scenes that one feels will be unique in their emotional significance, but every bout of stress, rage, and indignation experienced by Charis is executed so similarly as to be monotonous. Although the premise of this story could have woven mystery seamlessly into the rest of the book, the author chose to continually remind the reader that everything is not as it seems; most of the time she has Charis think it or another character say aloud that nobody can be trusted, and rather than immerse or invest the reader further in the story, it creates the opposite effect. I look forward to this author’s future work in this series in the hope it will elaborate on political tensions rather than minimize them, and deepen Charis as a main character.
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