ARC Book Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Posted February 18, 2015 by Debby in Book Reviews

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

ARC Book Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon ThomasA Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Published by HarperTeen on February 24th, 2015
Genres: Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via 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.

4.5 Stars

Here’s a thing I almost forgot: how much I love Sleeping Beauty. In fact, as I read A Wicked Thing, which fits with the tone and story of the Disney movie, I realized it was probably my favorite Disney movie when I was little. My favorite Disney princess for sure. A Wicked Thing is an absolutely stunning debut that just about left me breathless.

A Wicked Thing is like an alternate ending to Sleeping Beauty. In this case, Aurora wakes up 100 years later, to a kiss from a guy she’s never seen before, and she has to come to terms with how much of the world has changed while she was asleep. Her family is dead, her country has had so many different kings on the throne since, and there is a near-constant state of civil unrest. Her myth grew as she slept, and now she’s regarded as the savior who will bring magic back to the land and end all the people’s suffering. No pressure… right?

This story is so realistic, it had me in its grasp from the first page. Though written in third person, you really get such a clear view of Aurora’s personality. I honestly adored the writing. Those looking for action, magic, and thrilling plot may need to temper their expectations – this is very much a character-driven novel. Fine with me, because compelling, realistic characters are my jam. I was captivated by Aurora’s voice. She’s not exactly fragile princess, but she wakes up to a world she knows nothing about. She carefully and quietly observes how everything has changed and how all manner of parties are trying to manipulate her for their own benefit. She’s not quick to take action, but as the story goes on, she grows and begins to stand up for what she thinks is right. I’m betting in the sequel we’ll see her grow even stronger, which just makes me have so much respect for her.

With a good fairy tale comes a dose of romance – but A Wicked Thing does it quite a bit differently. I would say there’s 3 different love interests, but don’t let that scare you off, because they’re not exactly in direct competition with each other and the story actually isn’t at all that romance-heavy. It kind of just comes with the territory of Aurora’s own fairy tale. Rodric, the current prince, woke her up with his kiss, so naturally they are expected to marry and live happily ever after. But… just because that’s what the story says doesn’t mean there are feelings there to back it up. Sure, Rodrick is cute in his awkward and clumsy ways, but there’s hardly any passion there. Then there’s a city boy, Tristan, who she meets when she sneaks out of the castle. He coaxes out her sense of adventure and subtly reveals the ways in which the people are suffering. A plot twist makes that kind of complicated, but then there’s also FINNEGANNNNNNNNNNN. Finnegan is a prince from another country and for the moment he definitely gets my vote because he is all banter and Aurora just doesn’t like him very much. (The key to my heart xD)

BUT. Romance is not the point of this story, and despite a subtle tug here or there, Aurora stands her ground. She’s figuring out her place in this world and what exactly her duty is to this country, continent, and to her heart. It’s an unconventional romance and it can go anywhere it wants – but I’m fine with that because it’s more about Aurora’s growth. I’m on her team.

The story is a tiny bit slow, but it definitely picked up at the end and WOW. There were some jaw dropping moments. Some character deaths that I did not expect. The courtly politics turned darker and more corrupt. Magic got involved. Aurora finally took some action. And then it was over. In any other case I might be disappointed because plot-wise this book didn’t get very far, but I am SO in love with this world and these characters that I honestly don’t care. I’m betting the action will pick up in book 2, which I am now desperate to have in my hands.

Summing Up:

A Wicked Thing is a stunning debut that will linger on in my mind for months. Indeed, when I finished reading, I felt compelled to gush about it on Twitter immediately. Then I pre-ordered a copy of the book. I felt like dancing. I don’t know why, this book just made me so happy! Aurora is a wonderful character that I just can’t get enough of. I can’t wait to have more magic (and dragons!!) and hopefully some of those shippy feels that were definitely starting to blossom here. What a delightful start to a beautiful series!

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

Fans of Sleeping Beauty, character-driven novels, and/or the character growth in the Shatter Me series.

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9 responses to “ARC Book Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

  1. Thank you for mentioning the romance is not the focus of the book. I’ve been looking for more books that don’t have that as the default every time. But, a little romance I can work with. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for the full on romantic YA. I love me some banter between the two characters, though. I just can’t get enough of it when they get all cute and adorable and start going at each other with a game of wits. It is the best.

  2. So happy to see your review! Some reviews so far have been kind of mixed (primarily just because the plot is slow-moving / some say boring), but it’s still been on my radar. I’ll definitely be trying this one out!

    • Yeah, this book definitely won’t work for everyone. People who need plot-driven books will likely get bored. I read for characters though, so I was completely enthralled. I hope you like it…. I really want this book to get some more love!

    • I think it’s really a hit or miss thing. This book is practically a character study of Aurora, so there’s not a lot of plotting or action, and I can totally understand why some readers would be turned off by that. But I thought it was really well written and well developed.

  3. So glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been really wanting to read this book, but I saw some reviews that weren’t so positive. I guess most people weren’t thrilled that this book is more about the character of Aurora and not too strong with the plot, or that it changed the original Sleeping Beauty tale. But those aren’t things that would bother me, so I will definitely be reading it when I can. Great review!