Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Pages: 352
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: February 24, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding remaining 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."
We all know the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, but what if Aurora woke up from her long sleep to find that things in her kingdom have gone downhill and she actually isn't very happy.  That's what happens in this Sleeping Beauty retelling that puts a twist on the classic fairy tale. Aurora, who was woken up by Prince Rodric's kiss, should have been overwhelmed with joy to meet her true love. But that's not the case. She isn't instantly in love with Prince Rodric and on top of it, her kingdom is in a state of discontent.  The current king and queen are basically using Prince Rodric and Aurora for their purposes and Aurora comes to find that the current king is horrible. The citizens of the kingdom are upset and rebellions are on the rise, but the king and queen hope that Aurora's awakening and longed for return will bring peace to the kingdom.  The queen wants her to look pretty and keep her ideas to herself; after all, she is going to be marrying Prince Rodric shortly, but Aurora wants more. She doesn't want to be someone's pawn and she finds ways to escape the castle at night and in turn, meets some interesting people that question her loyalty to the current ruling family.  A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas is a captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale and an entertaining debut.

Aurora is a frustrating character in A Wicked Thing. She wants to challenge her position in the kingdom and not simply be used, but she often doesn't do anything about it. This was troublesome for me. I did pity her from time to time, because she woke up one hundred years later to a world that was unfamiliar to her and a world that doesn't include any of her family members as they are long dead. This was definitely hard for her to overcome. Despite that, I wanted Aurora to have a bit more "cojones" if you will and finally by the end of the book she does grow a pair.  

Her relationship with Prince Rodric was tedious. I mean he is a harmless character and seems like an all-around nice guy, but he just didn't do it for me and apparently not for Aurora either.  He allows his parents to use him as a chess piece in a bigger game of power and I found this to be a major turnoff. He is resigned to the fact that this is the way things are; however, he does express a desire to change things and be more, do more.  Thankfully, by the end of A Wicked Thing, I was feeling a little bit better about him.

When Aurora escapes from the castle at night to visit the town, she does meet a new friend, Tristan, who she starts to develop feelings for. He is definitely not who he seems and has a complex past. His interests aren't just in working at the pub; he is definitely capable of much more and these interests will clash severely with Aurora's current situation at the castle. Needless to say, they have a bit of a star-crossed lovers moment. Despite their attraction, I can't say I was entirely rooting for Tristan and Aurora. I was leaning towards another confidant and mysterious royal foreigner at court and quite simply, I was rooting for Aurora herself. I wanted Aurora to spread her wings and fly in A Wicked Thing.

Also, readers can expect a bit of magic in A Wicked Thing and even a "bad" witch; after all, Aurora is in the situation she is in thanks to an evil witch and a curse.

A Wicked Thing got me thinking about fairy tales and the whole "what if" factor. I thought Thomas did a nice job bringing that whole question to life. What if Aurora wasn't happy when she woke up or what she wasn't that into the prince who brought her back to life? This whole concept is a fresh take on Sleeping Beauty and a retelling that I enjoyed. I plan to check out book two, which comes out next year, with the hopes that Aurora grows into a confidant young women who is the hero of her own fairy tale.




8 comments:

  1. I just started this one Christina, and can definitely tell Aurora is going to frustrate me at times. I know she's got a lot to deal with, but I definitely would like to see her put her foot down and not allow herself to be led around by Rodric's family all the time. Still, I love the concept of this story and the fact that the fairytale HEA is in fact not all that happy initially!

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    1. Exactly! You will like her more towards the end of the book. I surprisingly liked the concept of the book as well. I'm glad you are enjoying it so far, Jenny. I'll keep my eye out for your review! Thanks for dropping by!

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  2. "She wants to challenge her position in the kingdom and not simply be used, but she often doesn't do anything about it." - That's mostly what bothered me with this book. I think the sequel could be intriguing though, since she'll likely start taking some action in that novel!

    Nice review :D

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    1. Yes, once I sort of accepted that aspect of her personality, I enjoyed the book a bit more. Plus, she proved herself a bit towards the end. I think the sequel could be good…I'm glad you agree! Thanks for visiting, Lea!

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  3. I liked it a lot, but what you say about how she doesn't do anything about it is very true. Although I think it gives you an insight into her character. Great review!
    You can check out my review if you want HERE.

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    1. I'm glad you agree on that point, Lisa. It was frustrating, but thankfully, she proves herself a bit towards the end of the novel. I will check out your review, too! Thanks for visiting!

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  4. I'm glad you liked this one enough to want to read the sequel. I was very intrigued by the idea of a different ending for Aurora's story. I have read other reviews that mention her passivity which is what makes me hesitate to pick this up. I do have a copy for review so I am sure I will be reading it sometime soon. Thanks for your review!

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    1. Yes, if you can get past her passive behavior for about 75% of the book, then you'll be ok, because she does turn it around towards the end. I will definitely pick up the sequel…intrigued as to where the story is going to go. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it, Christina! Thanks for visiting!

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