A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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 I Liked:
I'm trying to decide if I liked this one or didn't really like it. I think I'm going to give it three stars - mostly because I can't make up my mind as to whether or not I feel more positively or negatively towards the book.
Aurora is awakened by Prince Rodric, after over a century. But Aurora becomes a prisoner in her own home - the prince's mother is orchestrating her wedding (in three weeks), and won't let Aurora leave her room. She even locks Aurora's room at night. But Aurora finds ways to sneak out at night - and meets a revolutionary who wants to kill the royals (which Aurora doesn't want). During the day, Aurora tries her best to smile and curtsy and avoid a devilishly handsome Prince Finnegan. Aurora's wedding is soon, and she must decide if she wants to do nothing, or act now.
I love the fairy tale/fantasy aspect of this book. It's not quite a retelling - it's more like a continuation of the story. What happens after they kiss? They get married... or so the fairy tale goes. In this book, Aurora is trapped in her life, after being kissed awake by Rodric. She doesn't love awkward, adorable Rodric, who is barely princely (let alone kingly). She doesn't like the queen (who controls her every move). She is terrified of the king, who is cruel and ruthless. But Aurora has little power and little voice in any matters, most importantly, her future.
Aurora is a very passive character - it's seen as kindhearted, but honestly, you could call her pathetic. I mean, I guess princesses don't get a lot of say in things generally. And Aurora wanted to give everyone hope in the stories - that the prince would kiss the princess and all would magically be right in the kingdom (obviously not the case). But Aurora, for the most part, does not fight the king of queen.
She picks locks and lets herself out at night, and finds an inn with a cute boy - Tristan. Turns out, Tristan isn't just a flirtatious boy who likes her - he's a revolutionary, and he knows who she is. He wants to use her in his revolution plans, as a symbol, a figurehead. Meanwhile, Rodric and his family want her to be a smiling, dutiful princess bride. Prince Finnegan wants her to leave her home and join him in his home, and defy the king.
Yup, the romance isn't entirely straightforward. In the end, Aurora stands up for herself, in terms of the story and the romance. But there are three potential love interests. You can pretty much cross Rodric off the list - Aurora doesn't see him that way. I want to cross of Tristan (that romance plot didn't seem to go anywhere), but I hesitate. I REALLY like Finnegan. So, go him. I'm inclined to believe that he is the frontrunner in the romance.
But the romance wasn't the big thing in this book - the princess really doesn't develop serious feelings for anyone, so I'm kind of apathetic towards the romance. I'm kind of apathetic towards a lot of things in this book. But like, apathetic and hopeful.
What I Did Not Like:
Ugh. I feel like there is a whole layer to this book that is missing. I can't quite grasp what I felt was lacking, but I wanted more from this book. I couldn't help but feel like there wasn't enough presented to readers, but I have no idea what it is.
For one, I think this book could have benefited from a first-person narrative. And that's coming from ME, who loves third-person perspectives. I didn't really connect with Aurora, so I can't really say if I like her or not. I'm leaning towards no, I don't really like her.
I liked Finnegan, but I feel like we didn't get enough of him in this book. He didn't show up enough, he didn't get enough alone time and interactions with Aurora, and I didn't feel subtle chemistry between them. Heck, I couldn't feel any connection between them. I LIKE them together, but I didn't BELIEVE the relationship.
Also, Finnegan seemed very one-dimensional and very cliche. Don't get me wrong, I liked him, but he seemed like a cartoon character or something. The author tells readers that he is roguish and charming and devilish and handsome. The author TELLS us all this, instead of SHOWS us. There wasn't much exposition that made me believe that he was roguish or charming or devilish, and when there was, it was cliche.
Again, I liked Finnegan. I feel like I would have liked him more, if he got more page space/time, and we got to know him more personally. We know very little about him. I wanted a more personal side to Finnegan. Instead, it felt like he was one-dimensional. I think the same could probably be said of many characters in this book.
Aurora is a bit childish when it comes to her relationship with Tristan. She wonders if she cares for him deeply, after knowing him for four days. She is going to throw away her life for him - after four days. She is so collected, during the story, except in this part.
This is logistics - but if Rodric and Aurora don't love each other, but true love's kiss wakes the princess, then why did Rodric's kiss wake Aurora? Why didn't Finnegan's, when he tried? Why did Rodric's work NOW? Don't give me the explanation about the witch declaring it was time. That's ind of BS.
I wasn't satisfied with the ending. It wasn't bad, but I wasn't convinced. There is no indication that there is another book to follow this one, but I found the rights report on Publisher's Weekly, saying that Thomas signed a two-book deal, so hopefully the second book is sequel!
Would I Recommend It:
Ehhh. It was okay. I think it could have been developed more, in terms of the story, the character development, the romance. But it was okay. It's not a must-read, by any means. I hope there is a sequel. This book NEEDS a sequel. I might read the sequel, if there is one.
2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars (because I'm feeling nice). I'll read a sequel, if there is a sequel. However, I didn't love this book, and I'm not even sure of how much I liked it. It was okay. It gets three stars because I can't decide how much I liked it.
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