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March 20, 2015

Shelley Liked It: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Series: A Wicked Thing 1
Format: E-Book | 337 pages
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
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.
Rating more between Liking It, and Loving It, thus 3.5 


A WICKED THING, by debut author Rhiannon Thomas, spins an entirely different tale from the original The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by The Brothers Grimm. As we are all aware of, I am sure, the witch Celestine (sorceress Maleficent in the movies & books) cursed Princess Aurora claiming that she will grow up in grace and beauty, but before the sun sets on her Eighteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the needle of a spinning wheel and die.

Thomas uses her own flare, and a series of twists, to tell Sleeping Beauty's story. In A WICKED THING, Aurora doesn't die, but ends up sleeping for 100 years until Prince Rodric wakes her up with what is supposed to be true love's kiss. Have you ever thought about what true love's kiss really means? Can you imagine the number of men who, over the years, tried to wake her with a simple kiss? No sanitizer here folks!

For Aurora, it means waking up to a new reality that her life and fate might actually be in someone else's hands. That she might be stuck with someone, while sweet and innocent, doesn't carry a candle to other suitors. What's worse, her entire family is dust in the wind, and the current king and queen are delightfully evil to the bone and want to use Aurora to harden their control over the people who are already starting to rebel.  

As with the story written of her life, which Thomas calls The Tale of Sleeping Beauty, Aurora is expected to marry the Prince, become the hope of Alyssinian's people, and live happily ever after. But, Aurora needs to find out her reason for being in this reality, and why she was really cursed by Celestine in the first place. There is also the question of what exactly the King and Queen expect from her, and how other suitors and factors play into what happens next for Aurora? 

I do believe that Prince Finnegan saved this story from being a bit on the disappointing side for me. I liked that he was devious, while charming, and perhaps the only person that Aurora could trust while not trying to lure her to his side. I liked that he is from a country where Dragon's arrived 50 years before, and that he thinks Aurora is a little dragon. Other suitors like Tristan, not so much. His aspirations don't include a happy ending for Aurora, but a way to use her against the King and Queen. I also loved Isabelle, Rodric's sister. I felt so badly for this girl when all is said and done. I think Aurora could definitely relate to her struggles and wanting to just be a kid for a little while longer.

As a reviewer, there are times I become too cynical about heroine's ability to control her own tale or her actions over a story. As an elder reader, I do expect much, much more from female heroines than perhaps younger readers. I think we do over analyze our female heroines much more than our male counterparts. In Aurora's case, she isn't necessarily a kick ass, take names type of heroine, until she suddenly is. Aurora is a character that you have to give time to develop but she's not a Mary Sue either. After-all, how many coma patient's wake up and immediately start planning the takeover of the world? Let's be a bit realistic in our expectations. Aurora harbors so many regrets. Regrets about her family. Regret for falling into the curse's lure so easily. It's easy to get put off by a character who wallows a bit in self pity. Hell, I would too.  

I will be reading the next book in the series, without a doubt in my mind. I want to see if Thomas can carry Aurora into another book and find a way to make her much more likable and a person who doesn't stand for others nonsense.



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31 comments:

  1. I had some mixed feelings about this one. It was just okay for me. I really like the characters. I''m hoping in the next book, that Aurora gets to be a lot stronger.

    Grace

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    1. Agreed! I want to see her use more of her powers. When she does, she's a fantastic character.

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  2. I felt similar about this, I didn't love it but I did like it well enough. Not quite as great as I was hoping it would be.

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    1. True. I am definitely expecting a whole lot more in the sequel

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  3. You really had me laughing with the sanitizer part ! And you're absolutely right, as a (hem !) mature reader, I expect a lot from the heroins I read about, that's why I often avoid young adult novels :)

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  4. I didn't think I could get into the retold fairytales thing, but after reading The Lunar Chronicles, I was forced to reconsider. This one sounds like another great candidate for me. Wonderful review, thanks, Braine :)

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    1. Fairy tales done right can be entertaining. As you stated, The Lunar Chronicles probably stands out and above most others.

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  5. OOOh nice review! Saw so many mixed ones on this one! Glad there was enjoyment for you! I love fairytales and retellings/reimaginings/etc! So this was definitely a read on my radar and currently sits in my TBR Mountain of Doom! LOL! Great review!

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  6. I must admit that I am curious

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  7. I am a bit curious about this. I'm hit or miss for retellings but I haven't read one for Sleeping Beauty, I don't think. But I'm wanting WOW books and I already have enough to read so I guess I'll be waiting for now.

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    1. Hey, that's cool! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I love fairytale retellings and had no idea about this one so I'll put it on the list.

    But you are about having to have patience with a character and give them a little time to get their feet under them. I'm harder on heroines for sure.

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    1. Takes a bit of patience on our part to stick with a heroine through the good times and the bad. Unlike men who we fully expect to be awesome.

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  9. I'm intrigued, Shelley. I particularly like that you enjoyed Prince Finnegan for his deviousness. Oh and his charm too. ;) I like your last paragraph as well...we are harder on our heroines, aren't we? Why is that?? Great review, Shelley!

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  10. I am not a fan of fairytale retellings so I would probably pass on this one. But I am glad you liked it enough to continue on with the series :) Great thoughtful review,

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  11. From the handful of reviews I've read, you're the FIRST person to actually like this one.

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    1. Oh, geez, again? Guess my tastes are stranger than others.

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  12. Oh my, I only read negative reviews for this one, so it was definitely good to have a positive point of view! I think I'm pretty curious to read about Tristan. I'll consider. Great review!! :)

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  13. So happy this was a good one. I love everything about Sleeping Beauty.

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  14. First time I hear about this book. Although I like takes on Fairy Tales, I'm not sure I would like this one. I don't think I would like Aurora for the same reasons you didn't find her a very good heroine. I think I'll wait to read your review for second book to then decide.

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  15. I think I'd like to get to know Prince Finnegan, he sounds like a story saver!!

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    1. Well, Naomi, I think you'll get the chance in the sequel since apparently that's where the story is heading!

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  16. This sounds like an interesting read. I don't mind a twist on an old favourite. Great review.

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