Expected Publication: February 24th, 2015
A Wicked Thing
By: Rhiannon Thomas
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 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.
This book was a bit of an oddball in terms of fairy tale retellings. We all know the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, who was awakened by true love's kiss and lived happily ever after. In reality, Aurora woke up confused and frightened, with everyone she ever knew long dead and buried. Now she's expected to marry a young Prince that she doesn't even know (just because he woker her up) and be a pawn in the political games of the people sitting on what used to be her parents' thrones. Can Aurora manage to stay alive and get her happy ending? Or will her whole world go up in flames before all is said and done? I didn't mind that she was weak, confused and frightened at first. It made absolute sense and was really realistic, in terms of how someone would really feel waking up 100 years after being put in a cursed sleep! I felt almost as bad for Prince Rodric as I did for Aurora, being used as a pawn by his father, a cruel King, who wants to stay in power even with Aurora awake and able to rule her kingdom. I liked that everything was in shades of gray. Practically every character was morally ambiguous and this was really a story without heroes/heroines. It was dark in a way that rang true.
That said, it also felt like nothing happened till the very end of the book. Now knowing that it's a planned trilogy (didn't know that, or I wouldn't have bothered reading it), it makes more sense to me. This book was the build-up, the bare bones of a story that will (maybe) be fleshed out into something solid in the next two books. But reading it while thinking it was a stand alone, it definitely fell short. It was basically just a bunch of asshole-ish royalty (and some rebels) entertaining/threatening/messing with each other, until it turned to bloodshed and a "climax" to the action. I did like that Aurora had a strength she wasn't aware of and the ongoing situation with the sorceress Celestine was intriguing (if bare bones, like everything and everyone else). Probably my least favorite thing about this novel was the way it dragged on and on. If it hadn't been written in such an easy-to-read way, I definitely would have quit it long before the ending. Also, three possible love interest? A love triangle isn't enough, now it has to be a LOVE SQUARE???!!! At least the romance was basically non-existent - yet another of the few things saving this book for me. Overall, not the worst thing I ever read, but also far off from the best. I won't be bothering with the sequel. To be frank the thought of reading it bores me.
VERDICT: 2/5 Stars
*I received this book from HarperTeen, on Edelweiss. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book was published on February 24th, 2015.*