Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon ThomasA Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Published by HarperTeen on February 24, 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

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.

Once again, I have been tricked. Bamboozled. Let the record state that A Wicked Thing is the start of a series and not a standalone. It’s not that I have anything against series, but I do like to be able to decide to start one. Reading a standalone is different because you expect everything to wrap up and this didn’t wrap up. Her journey is just beginning and why oh why can we not know it’s a series? So just know that. Either it’s a series or my rating is wrong and this book is awful and doesn’t resolve at all, but I don’t think that’s the case.

For some reason, I had a bad feeling about A Wicked Thing. It was something about the cover, though I do like it, or maybe the title or the fact that I don’t tend to like HarperTeen books unless they’re contemporaries. Still, I cannot resist a fairy tale retelling and was really excited to read it. This time, my bad feeling was wrong, though perhaps it was just picking up on the surprise series. A Wicked Thing engaged me right from the beginning, when I found that I quite enjoyed both the writing and the narrative voice.

The concept of A Wicked Thing is really awesome. The novel opens with the kiss. Aurora’s sleeping and wakes up to this guy she doesn’t know kissing her. And telling her that now they will get married and live happily ever after. She reacts like most people would: she’s rather freaked out. To her, it’s as though a single day has passed, not one hundred years. Unlike the usual version, the others in the castle died. Now she’s alone a hundred years in the future and learning that her prone form was basically a tourist attraction. That would be the rudest awakening ever without a doubt, and I love that Thomas considers the practical awkwardness that Aurora’s situation entails.

Rhiannon Thomas has a lot of fun highlighting the difference between the fairy tale and the reality. See, the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that we know is told about her in the kingdom. She’ll wake to the prince’s kiss and the kingdom will prosper. Aurora, though, doesn’t believe this. I mean, why would an evil curse end with her being able to save her kingdom in the future? Good point, Aurora. Thomas made me look at some aspects of the tale that I’d never given much thought to and I love that a lot.

The other thing that I think Thomas does really well is making people a bit morally ambiguous. Even Celestine, the evil witch, seems to me to be an unclear force. What was her ultimate aim? I’m really curious about the hints of her past that we’ve gotten and would like to know more. Iris, the current queen, too, seems to possibly have hidden depths, reminding me of the queen in the kdrama Goong.

The characters really needing more development at the moment are the love interests of Aurora, of which currently she has three. There’s the prince who kissed her awake, Rodric, who so far seems kind and awkward but lacking in personality. Then there’s a visiting prince, Finnegan, a debonair flirt with potential depths. Finally, there’s the boy who works at the local pub, Tristan. Nothing’s been decided romantically yet, so I don’t mind much, but I’d really like to see more personality from all three guys, because I can’t have a real ship if they don’t have real personalities.

As is occasionally the problem in YA novels, my main issue was that Aurora often seemed to have too much freedom. Mostly, Thomas did a good job highlighting how trapped she is in her position, but somehow she sneaks out pretty easily. This is at least addressed, but I was still side-eying it. More troubling is the fact that Aurora was regularly allowed to speak with Prince Finnegan or even others without a chaperone or guard. The King and Queen know that he’s working at cross-purposes to their own, but allow their son’s soon-to-be wife to speak with this guy without a guard present? Yeah, I don’t think so. Much of the plot wouldn’t be possible without Aurora having this freedom to speak without anyone overhearing, but it’s so unbelievable.

Even though I’ve been tricked and that annoys me, I’m certainly going to be reading more about Aurora’s journey. I think Aurora’s got a lot of potential for an amazing character arc. Right now, she’s not very strong but she wants to be and I think she could learn. I hope to see that happen.

Favorite Quote:

“I survived a hundred-year curse, Tristan,” she said. “I don’t need you to protect me.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif goong princess hard
Being a princess is not easy, yo.
Also this is sort of how let down I feel about the lack of ending.

7 responses to “Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas”

  1. Meg says:

    Yessssssssss. Ngl, I was quite scared of this one as well. I’m not sure exactly why, maybe because I really wanted it to be awesome but I also have a troubling relationship with Harper’s non-contemps? Idk. Whatever, the point is YAY IT’S NOT! Super excited to read.

  2. Soma Rostam says:

    Another amazing review of yours
    This is the first review i read of this book and I am quite intrigued. I love fairy-tale retellings
    GREAT review!
    Your reader,
    Soma R.
    Soma Rostam recently posted…ARC Review: Day 21 by Kass MorganMy Profile

  3. Nikki says:

    Really good job highlighting what you liked AND didn’t like in this book. I thought it was a standalone too, so after seeing your comments I checked out Rhiannon’s twitter, and it *is* definitely a series.

    *adds to my “secret-series-alert” GR shelf*

    But yeah – I’m really excited for the retelling aspects, and I love that Thomas highlights the differences between the fairy tale and how a real person would ACTUALLY react in that situation. I’m a little wary of the under-developed love interests (and there are THREE?! omg), but I’m still really excited to pick this one up and see how it goes for me – especially now that I know it’s the first in a series.
    Nikki recently posted…ARC Review: WINTERSPELL by Claire LegrandMy Profile

  4. Dragana says:

    I was also not aware this is not a standalone, thanks for the heads up. I always feel tricked and sometimes even the rating suffers, so now I am prepared for no ending…
    I am looking forward to reading this and your review didn’t raise any major red flags for me. I love fairy tale retellings and realistic start of this one is a must-find-out-more for me.

  5. MJ says:

    It’s weird in a way I’m okay with it being a sequel. But at the same time, I really wish these things were advertised. I’m really skeptical though because it’s a fairytale retelling. And with some exceptions I find fairytale retelling are better suited for standalones.
    MJ recently posted…Fucked Up YA Adaptions: What Makes a Successful Versus a Flop YA AdaptionMy Profile

  6. Thanks for the early review, I was really anxious to see if someone would read/review it soon because I couldn’t decide to download it or not haha
    Now I think I’ll give it shot, the flaws you pointed out it’s probably things that won’t bug me to the point of not enjoying the book
    But also bummed by the series revelation, WHY SO MANY SERIES? WHY? GOD WHY?
    Bound With Words recently posted…Trying something newMy Profile

  7. […] Reader of Fictions: “I’m certainly going to be reading more about Aurora’s journey. I think Aurora’s got a lot of potential for an amazing character arc. Right now, she’s not very strong but she wants to be and I think she could learn. I hope to see that happen.” […]

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