book review

A Wicked Thing- but a good book

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.

 

One hundred years

It’s enough time for legend to become truth Enough time for truth to become legend

One hundred years

Well, one hundred and two to be precise

One hundred years

It’s enough time to ruin a kingdom And also create one

One hundred years

It’s enough time to take away all you choices And give you another slice of cake fate

One hundred years

It’s enough time to steal your home from under your feet And leave you in the same, utterly changed place

One hundred years

It’s enough time for hundreds of boys to kiss you When you can’t kiss them back

One hundred years

One hundred years

a wicked thing-1 wicked thing-2

I had some severe doubts about this book. Mostly in the first hundred pages, when Aurora seemed like a personality-less mannequin. But she improved and I began to love this book. The themes of choice and fate were dealt with so well, I loved the politics and the romance was way less of a big deal than I thought it would be. I also enjoyed the characterization. A Wicked Thing builds on the fairytale. Because really, how would ‘Sleeping Beauty’ feel if she didn’t have a choice? If her true love wasn’t in love with her, or vice versa? This book explores the idea of individual desires, when weighed against a kingdom’s needs

“I don’t need you to give me a life. I can make my own”

“Killing him won’t make it right”

even though

“He’s done so many terrible things, been responsible for so many deaths”

Violence as a solution is so prevalent in so many YA books *cough* Allegiant and Mockingjay*cough*, but here Aurora has a conscious choice, and she doesn’t choose violence. What Aurora wants is freedom

“This freedom, where she could breathe and talk and listen and not hide everything behind expectations”

” Still the rest of the world was locked away”

It also discusses violence and expectations and repercussions very sensitively (and yes, there is death, especially that one character whom I’m very sad about)

“Fighting is not the only way you can be strong”

Everyone in this book suffers for expectations- parents, kingdoms, true love, murder, and magic. The stakes are high, but they are worth it. This is a fantasy book. Fantasies tend to have lots of politics. And politics fascinate me (as long as it doesn’t take away too much from the plot. ) Here it was seamlessly woven in with what Thomas was already writing. Alyssinia is a kingdom, not at war (yet) but at unrest. Aurora is expected to bring peace and return magic, as well as lending legitimacy to the current king. The ‘civil war about to erupt’ thing is often used often, but here it was done really well. I also enjoyed the exploration of the relationship with Vanhelm. And then there are witch/fairy politics (not really a thing, but you have to step carefully in your relationships with magical being, y’know) The contrast of what Finnegan, Aurora, the King and Tristan want, as well as Rodric (he’s a bit of a mushroom, the kind you walk over) made for some interesting interactions. Overall, the politics in this book was fascinating. Finally, I loved how the characters worked in this novel. When the three (three!) guys were introduced, I was worried that it would be a love triangle/ square (or dodecahedron. what are they up to these days?) But though the nature of love, what is true love, what is friendship love etc. is discussed at length, as well as marriage

“I can no more control my husband than I can stop the rain”

There really isn’t much romance in this book. Aurora is her own person, and she doesn’t need a man to complete her. She took a while to grow on me- she was so boring in the beginning- but I got used to her. She has visible flaws- like a desire for power

“Having that kind of power, that kind of influence… it was a wicked thing”

and recklessness. But I liked that about her. As she changed and realised how far she would have to go for the choices she needed, she had to make choices about goodness and rightness and ignoring evil, and she was aware of that, which I loved. Rodric is a good person too. He is as lost as Aurora. He has to make hard choices, and he makes them well. He is a good person in a world that doesn’t decide him. (I gotta say that I mostly love Finnegan though, despite all the n’s) I liked how each character, Iris and Isabella and even Celestine was given a little bit of depth. That empathy made the story and the characters a lot more powerful. The characters depth of thought and emotion, as well as how they change, is very appealing. Also, this quote

Everything in history was here once. That’s what makes it interesting”

Why I love history so much in a single sentence. Read this book, if you want a political fantasy about expectations and stories and relationships. What are some fairytales you’d love to see continued? Have you read a Wicked Thing? What do you think? I’d love to hear in the comments

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6 thoughts on “A Wicked Thing- but a good book

  1. I so want to read this one because a) I love fairy tale retellings, and b) I like fantasy. WHAT COULD GO WRONG. hehe. Plus I like books that deal with repercussions and don’t just bluster around wreaking havoc without consequences. So yes., This whole review pleases me. xD

    Like

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