Book title: A Wicked Thing
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen (Harper Collins Publishers)
Release date: February 2015
Format: Hardcover, 377 pages
Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
I love me some fairy tale retellings, but A Wicked Thing felt a little flat — and a little too similar to other books of this type that aren’t even retellings. (Have you read my review of The Orphan Queen? Both books used very standard fantasy tropes and didn’t overly impress me.) It was interesting enough, but nothing really happened. There wasn’t much plot. It’s more of a character-driven story than a plot-driven one, I’d say. It’s all about Aurora’s inner turmoil and her decision to finally get off her obedient butt and actually do what she wants.
A Wicked Thing is a take on Sleeping Beauty — but tells the story of Princess Aurora after she wakes up. I appreciated the story for being pretty realistic in terms of what Aurora’s life would be like after waking up 100 years in the future, but she spent so much time moping around and going along with everything instead of fighting back and saying “eff y’all — I’ve got my own ideas”. It’s very politics heavy, which, if executed well, is something I absolutely love in fantasy books. (Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue handle the tricky business of politics flawlessly.) Here… I was bored.
So we’ve got Aurora, the “Sleeping Beauty”. The prince that woke her up is Prince Rodric of Alyssinia, who is very sweet and blushes seemingly every ten seconds. (Seriously, though. The word “blush” was used way too much.) There’s another prince, too, Prince Finnegan of Vanhelm, a guest at the palace and a total flirt. And there’s Tristan, a rebel Aurora meets at a local tavern when she sneaks out of the palace she’s essentially a prisoner in. *Pause.* Shoot. Me. Now. While there’s not really a crazy love square going on in this book, you can bet there’ll be one in the next book.
I couldn’t figure out at first if Finnegan was going to be an antagonist, or at least bad news. He at first came across very cunning and manipulative. When he started to become more of a potential love interest, I wasn’t opposed to that. He’s by far the most interesting of all the characters (though, Celestine, who I’ll talk about soon, is also pretty cool). I really started to like him after a while. What concerns me, though, is the fact that Rodric is still in the picture, and he’s the one who woke Auroroa, as he’s supposedly her “true love”. But we can’t forget about Tristan, the revenge-seeking rebel Aurora falls for in four days flat. (She literally admits it was four days! I eye-rolled so hard I saw my brain.) I don’t think Tristan’s out of the picture yet, either. A Wicked Thing isn’t focused on the romance, but I’m already hugely skeptical of what the sequel will bring. Please, please no love square? Sadly, that’s where it looks likes it’s going…
Celestine, who I said I’d talk about, is essentially the story’s Maleficent. Am I weird for actually really liking her? I kept yelling at Aurora to take up the witch’s crazy offer to learn magic. (Something tells me she will, probably at some point in the next book.) Oh, yeah, and magic’s a thing here. And Aurora possesses some magical ability, quite possibly a very powerful ability, she hasn’t yet honed…
Last things: 1) I saw that thing with Isabelle coming a mile away. Sigh. 2) The king and queen are pretty despicable; who knew they’d have such a sweet son, Prince Rodric. 3) MENTION OF DRAGONS!!! 😀 This is a reason to like Finnegan even more now, because his kingdom is where the dragons live. Aurora — get your butt over to Vanhelm in book 2 so I can hopefully get some awesome dragon action!
A Wicked Thing didn’t blow me away and didn’t hook me like I wanted it to, despite it being a quick read. It left me wanting more. Not the best fairytale retelling (or, more accurately, fairy tale continuation) I’ve read. The book wasn’t bad at all, but it was a bit frustrating and mildly disappointing. ♦
So tell me…
Have you read A Wicked Thing? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? What was the last fairy tale retelling you read? Have you read any Sleeping Beauty retellings? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!