I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Published by HarperTeen on February 24, 2015
Source: the publisher
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.
On the surface, A Wicked Thing is everything I love in a book: It’s based on a fairy tale, part retelling and part continuation; it’s what happens after Sleeping Beauty is kissed awake by the Prince. I should have loved it! Sadly, this glorious-sounding book deceived me and I didn’t love it, as I had hoped to. The plot was intriguing, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and the pacing was slow – borderline boring, even. Though I was tempted to DNF, I pushed through to the end. Though the plot and pacing picked up at one point, I still never connected to the characters and never ended up fully embracing the characters or the story.
Aurora was awesome in the beginning. Or maybe I judged her to be awesome too quickly. In the beginning, she felt like a real person with real conerns and real fears. She’s in a strange place, surrounded by strangers and all her loved ones have are long dead. I loved that she didn’t fall in “love at first sight” with the prince. She balked at the idea that this stranger was kissing her, that she was destined to marry him. And really, who wakes up after 100 years, finds out their family is dead and they’re going to marry a stranger and says, “Yay! Okay!” So that was awesome, since it challenged every fairy tale that ended just like that (or similarly). After awhile, I realized I just wasn’t connecting with Aurora, no matter how I felt about her at the beginning of the book. And as the book continued on, that feeling of disconnect grew. I didn’t necessarily dislike her, but she definitely annoyed me. Internally, she would curse everyone who annoyed/upset her, the way things were run and her helplessness. But… she really never did anything to change what was. Not until a devastating tragedy near the very end.
Rodric just… was. I mean, he had some moments where he was kind to Aurora. He obviously loved Isabelle, his little sister. And he seemed like he would turn out to be a fine king someday. But in the present… He kind of just went through the motions. Honestly, I was reading the eBook and it took until 95% (the second to last chapter, I believe) before he did something that made me really like him a lot. So… Took him long enough…?
I really, really liked Isabelle. She was so innocent, with such a bright future. I loved her interactions with Aurora. But then that ending… That was probably the only huge, shocking plot twist in the whole book and the only moment when I wanted to scream and throw my iPad across the room.
The King seemed fair but firm in the beginning. But as the book went on, he definitely showed signs of being power hungry and cruel. He definitely reminded me of King Henry from Reign. So, of course, I saw the Queen as Catherine from Reign. She was strong and regal, firm in her beliefs. She never did anything without a good reason, though not necessarily with good intentions. Her main goal was to keep her family safe. So, of course, my heart broke for her during That Part.
Tristan was such an odd character… He was heavily present in the first half of the book, but almost completely disappeared in the second half. I expected him to be the third member of the love triangle and I think he was in the beginning… I don’t know how I feel about him, since we didn’t see enough of him. But honestly, I’d prefer if Finnegan (who I’ll talk about in a second) was the third member of the love triangle.
If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d have to say Prince Finnegan. He reminded me 100% of Narcisse from Reign. He was cocky, ambitious and full of himself. But it was clear that, very deep down, he was actually a great guy. I definitely wouldn’t fully trust him, since power and politics fueled him, but he seemed like a loyal man who wouldn’t go back on a deal, once that deal was signed and sealed.
As I mentioned previously, the pacing was super slow in this book. The first 60% was boring and stagnant. Almost nothing of interest happened. Finally, around 63%, it seemed like things were finally picking up and I was really excited. Unfortunately, the pacing fell flat again around 76% and the ending dragged. I was originally under the impression this was a stand-alone and, if that was the case, the ending was an incredible disappointment; it was unfulfilling and too many things were left unanswered. But now I see this is listed on Goodreads as a series – or at least a duology. With that in mind, I’ll cut the ending a small bit of slack. Except this book REALLY doesn’t need to be a series. I think it should have been wrapped up at the end of book one and that’s that.
Overall, while the plot intrigued me and I managed to push through and finish this book, it took me almost three weeks to do so and I’m still wondering if it was worth it. A few interesting things happened and I guess those parts made it worthwhile. I’m honestly really sad I didn’t enjoy this more, since Fairy Tale Retellings are my Book Drug of Choice. I highly doubt I’ll bother with book two and if I do, it’ll only be out of curiosity and a desire to get answers to all these unsolved questions that were left dangling at the end of the book. Would I recommend this? I’m hesitant to, since my feelings seem to be on par with how the majority of readers/bloggers felt about this book. But you never know, maybe you’ll love it where I didn’t? If you do decide to read it, I truly do hope you love it!