Release Date: 24th February 2015
Genre: Fairytale Retelling, Romance, Fantasy
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.
I wasn’t sure which way this review was going to go whilst reading. Normally, I can get a feel for a book and how a review will go for me whilst reading. You can, obviously, tell if you’re enjoying a book or not, but that wasn’t the case with A Wicked Thing. I could tell I was enjoying it, but initially it began slowly and I wasn’t sure if I was going to manage to stay interested. I had attempted to read this book once before and just wasn’t interested after the first chapter, but often that is what happens if I’m not in the mood for a book. Thankfully, this is a book which begins slowly but picks up after the initial chapters of introduction.
It is safe to say there is an introductory section to this book, at the beginning you are acquainted with the the fairytale and introduced to characters and the realm, and these are the chapters which are boring. I appreciated the set up for the story, the recapping of the fairytale as Sleeping Beauty was never a fairytale which interested me. Yet, it is such a familiar fairytale that it did feel a bit unnecessary, who doesn’t know the premise of sleeping beauty? It is not a huge complaint to have that the beginning is a bit slow and unnecessarily so, but it was annoying and frustrating as it will undoubtedly put others off of reading.
As I said, this story does pick up quite swiftly following the introduction and I was so glad that it did because I was so excited for this book. Aurora begins her explorations and learns more of her new kingdom and what has happened since she began sleeping. I enjoyed learning things along with Aurora because she is much like us readers, completely new to the world she resides in, she has missed an entire 100 years, plenty can happen in that amount of time. It was frustrating to follow the story from Aurora’s point of view as well, though. I found her to be so frustrating at times because she is so meek and mild going along with things even when she doesn’t agree and not standing up for herself. I understood why she was quite so passive, it is explained very well, but it didn’t make it any easier to read. Thankfully, Aurora also grows a bit of a backbone as well as her story progresses, no longer do you read about her frustration as she merrily does as she is told, instead you see her hints of rebellion and I did enjoy that. It was nice to at least see some decent character development, even thought it did not happen at the pace I would have liked.
I have to say, the romance in this one was strange. Obviously, the prince whose kiss awoke her should be a potential love interest, right? Not so much. Rodric was more spineless than Aurora was to begin with, at least she got over that, Rodric was just too nice and too much of a wet blanket, even Aurora could acknowledge that fact. Then there is the boy she meets in her adventures outside the castle walls, Tristan. He holds obvious potential, but all is not as it seems with him and he has his own agenda and is unwilling to listen to others opinions, not exactly an appealing characteristic. And then there is Prince Finnegan, I’m going to be honest here and say he’s my favourite, who doesn’t love a good rogue? He has his own agenda as well, if only I knew what it was, but he is the character that felt the most developed so I’m hoping to see more of him.
I will say this, some of these characters felt a bit two dimensional, quite flat. I feel they were put in the book to play a role with not enough backstory given to them to create them into proper characters. It did improve as the book progressed, the characters did develop into something that felt realistic, but I would have preferred these fully developed characters from the beginning.
It’s not all doom and gloom for this book, I did really enjoy it and I am so excited to read the next one, so I’m going to move on to a more positive note. This story may have begun too slowly for my liking, but once you get to the good stuff it is good. I loved the sense of doubt cast over the fairytale which is known so well, did Aurora really wake from true loves kiss? She never heard that part of the curse, so where did it come from? Why did the witch curse her and what is happening with the magic of the realm. It was really interesting, and it was well written. The writing had a certain hint of a fairytale to it, it had that feel to it, fi that makes sense?
Overall, this was a fun and interesting read. It had it’s issues with pacing and the characters did fall a bit flat at times, but the story itself and the interpretation of this well known fairytale does redeem this book for me. I would recommend it to others, but I would ask you to persevere for the first few chapters as it does pick up. I am excited to read the next book, I’m hoping that it will get better just as it did reading through this book. I need to know the rest of Aurora’s tale because she definitely has more of a story to tell.
Has anyone else read A Wicked Thing, what were your thoughts? How do you feel about books where you have to get through the first few chapters for the story to improve, do you persevere or not?