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.
What if Sleeping Beauty didn’t fall in love with the prince?
First off, I’m a huge fairy tale nerd. So an adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty story after she wakes from her curse, sign me up! And Sleeping Beauty who disregards the true love trope? Hell-to-the-yes, I will pick that up in a heartbeat. And that’s what we get with A Wicked Thing. Thrown into a strange new world right along side Princess Aurora, where the story of Sleeping Beauty is one that everyone knows, because its a hundred year old tale. With a true love’s kiss, her awakening is meant to bring prosperity and magic back to the land. But nothing is happily ever after for Aurora. She is engaged to the shy Prince Rodric, a stranger to her and one of many princes that have traveled just to kiss her lips and await her eyes to flutter open. Her family is dead, long gone from this world. Her home is a mystery to her. And Aurora is all alone, thrown to the dogs in this strange, new world. And home is a hundred years in the past.
I was bored with A Wicked Thing. It took copious amounts of chapters for the ball to finally start rolling. The writing is smooth and the olden-time feel is definitely present, but alone its wasn’t enough to reel me in. Aurora is practically a prisoner in her own home. Her kingdom is under the control of a ruthless king. She has no say in anything. She is locked in her room each night. Only allowed out at the beck and call of the queen, to engage with nobility, or to meet with Rodric. Her passiveness became unbearable. It felt like pulling teeth for little things to start moving the plot along. When she finally started to sneak out, stick up for herself, and put her authority ahead of her polite smiles and curtsies, Aurora became interesting. Sadly it took far too long for it all to make me happy, and my interest in the novel started to dissipate.
Aurora is a hard character to place or really enjoy enjoy reading about until she starts to really grow a backbone. And I’m glad that she finally did, which is why I gave the novel a three overall rather than a two. Her capacity to care for her subjects knows no bounds, but the authority she has as a monarch is nothing as long as the rigid King John sits on her throne. And marrying Rodric would leave her in the same position—powerless. So i give Aurora an A for effort as A Wicked Thing progressed, and an A for keeping the boys at bay.
There are three significant men that walk into her life: Rodric, her “true love”; Tristan, the vengeful rebel; and Finnegan, the sharp-tongued prince from across the sea. Out of all these boys, Aurora is able to keep her head secured atop her shoulders, though some lust does creep in every now and again. Her idea of love does not confine to the limit of fairy tales, and that made me giddy. Especially the more she bonded by Rodric or the deeper she bantered with Finnegan (who I really enjoyed reading about). So say goodbye to true love, because Sleeping Beauty will be having none of that!
Final Summation: A Wicked Thing is like a boat ride, smooth with some bumps along the way, and then you don’t notice the storm clouds coming in, but once they’re upon you there is no turning back. The ending is what is keeping me coming back to read more. Aurora’s growth as a character has me hopeful for the next book, and I hope she continues to surprise me.