My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars :star :star :star 1/2
Source: eARC via HarperTEEN | Edelweiss
Date of Publication: February 25th, 2015
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 received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
My (precise) Rating is 3.5 stars. I haven't used the half star too much this year, but hopefully after reading my review you'll understand why I think it's the only option here). ;)
This is kind of a difficult review to write just because I am bit torn with my overall feelings about the book. It was very interesting unique story. I think the most interesting "hook" was that we get a story about what happens to the beauty after the prince kisses her and wakes her up…after 100 years have passed. It's a fascinating thing to ponder. All your family and friends are dead. Everything you know is dead and the princess really has no one to trust, she's dependent on the prince and his family.
It was not a "true love" makes everything right and good and simple—type of book. I think that is definitely what made me keep reading it. Aurora was a different princess, sheltered but bold. Bold and stupid, yes but not to the point of me having to smh as I touch the screen of my kindle to turn each page (it's happened before).
Our prince is also a bit unique. Rodric is not cocky (there's another character that fills that description), nor is his feeble. He's just had a tough life in his own sheltered way and wants to please his parents, yet feels miserable and also feels sad and empathizes with Aurora's situation. In the end he really gained my respect by his actions.
"They love you," Rodric said under his breath. Was he talking to himself or to her? The lie cut into her chest, and something like panic bubbled up in her throat. They could not love her. No one could, not here, not really. Not the prince, not the crowd, not anyone. They were all deceived, by her face or her silence or their own desires." -Loc 2291 eARC*
As you can see the writing is quite good and I did enjoy the way it was written. The pacing was a bit off at times, because I felt like the book was one big introduction. It was strange, almost like the author needed to write this book but that she really isn't getting the story in motion until the sequel. There was a lot of setting up of the characters, time period, setting, backstory, etc…which was essential but I think maybe too detailed? I don't 'know. It's hard because as I was reading it it was fine, but I thought it was going to be a lot longer ( I blame the kindle because I can't judge really…especially because percents with eARCs can be misleading! Sometimes it happens to me where it says 80% and it's over already…so I never really trust the percentages when I'm reading a galley on kindle.
“‘I’m lost’, she said. Nettle continued to sing, words of longing and heartache. Aurora held her breath, and Tristan smiled against her cheek. ‘Me too,’ he said. ‘Maybe we can be lost together.’” -Loc 1473
Tristan, by the way is a love interest. No, he's not the prince who awakes Aurora with true loves' first kiss (that’s Rodric). To my relief (and to yours should you read it) Tristan isn’t the second man in a love triangle. There isn’t really a love triangle in this book. I was worried at first that there would be, but there wasn’t. There may be some fling(s) involved in the novel. Overall though, Aurora is just being young and discovering that “true love” may not have been the reason that she awoke from her long long sleep.
The ending had me excited and thrilled, to be honest. I was glued to the last chapter or two…just dying to see what was going to happen. I loved all the build up, and action that was in the latter chapters. However, as I said about he pacing, this is where it really became apparent at the pacing of the bulk of the book was slow because the end was quicker but felt more organic. It felt right. Which made me feel like the introduction was too long (2/3 of a book is too long to feel like an intro!)
When I read the last page I was like— WHAT?!?! THIS IS IT?! I kept staring at the 100% in disbelief. I guess yeah, cliffhangers will do that. But, more than that, I felt a bit cheated. I mean, it just felt a little wrong. I wanted to read more. I really honestly think it would've worked better to have a long ass book (you know fantasy novels can do that…maybe it's harder in YA but still…) and then at the end have a Part II. Instead of having to wait for another book. I think it would've flowed better that way and I would have kept reading.
I did enjoy this unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty, one of my favorite fairy tales and Disney movies. Although I had some problems with the story, I very much enjoyed reading it and am glad I read the book.
I recommend this novel for lovers of fairy tale retellings. If you like your books sweet but not cavity-inducing, plots with conflict but not blood-drenched, and characters that are unique but still (mostly) relatable, you should read this book. A Wicked Thing is a good start to what I predict will be an outstanding series. My prediction is that the sequel will far outshine this book as the setting has been established and the sequel will really get us into Aurura's choices and the evil queens part in her future and how much she shaped Aurora and Alyssiana's past?
*Please note: quotes were taken from the advanced reader copy of the book. Quotes may not be the same in the published copy.