Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
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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 think I kind of love this book.

So we all know the story: beautiful princess was cursed by an evil witch. Before her eighteenth birthday she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep slumber - from which only the kiss of her true love could awaken her. And, say it with me, they all lived happily ever after.

Yeah… This isn't that story.

"Tell me," she said. She stepped toward him. "Tell me how long it's been."
He looked away. The silence stretched between them. "One hundred years."

Imagine going to bed the night of your eighteenth birthday. When you wake up, it's one hundred years later and everyone you knew and loved is dead. To make matters worse, there's a boy that just kissed you while you were unconscious. (In fact, many, many boys over the years did that. *shudder*) Poor Aurora doesn't have to imagine it. It's happening to her.

The plot isn't this books strong suit. It moves quite slowly for the first fifty or so pages and it isn't until halfway through the book that things really start picking up. (Sorry, that quote on the cover that claims this book is 'fast-paced' is just…wrong.) However, I was willing to give this book time to build for two reasons. Reason one: because this is a story about when happily ever after isn't the truth. Because that's the sole reason I wanted to read this book. (After all, the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is probably my least favorite.)

The other reason is the characters.

All the people in this book are so compelling. They're dynamic and I loved getting to know them. They each have little things that are part of their personality and I'm not sure that there were any that didn't surprise me, at least once.

Prince Rodric, her true love. She was woken by his kiss, so they must be meant for each other. Right? Yeah, probably not so much. Both these characters are people and it's so much fun watching them trying to get used to each other. Rodric is a sweet guy and my only complaint about his is his absolute spinelessness when it comes to his parents. (Especially that father of his.) Just before I gave up all hope for him, he actually did something that makes me think he might turn into a strong character all in his own right.

The other characters, Tristan, Nettle, Iris, Isabelle are all fun to read about because they each have their own personalities and I never really felt that any of them were just 'there'.

"I think you are ridiculous and arrogant," she said. "Some prince from some foreign land trying to mock and humiliate me for fun."

She had never met anyone who annoyed her before, who made it their goal to get under her skin.

Prince Finnegan of Vanhelm. A flirt and manipulator. He'll say anything to get what he wants. Now, if only anyone knew what he wants. Honestly, this is the guy that stole the show for me. Of course, if you know me, and the kinds of characters I like, this would come as no surprise.

Aurora is a prize of a main character. I can totally see why she wouldn't be for everyone. She isn't perfectly fine as soon as she wakes. Besides the mental problems of waking up one hundred years after she fell asleep (and I think she's got some post-traumatic stress going on) she's weak. Yeah, it was a magically induced slumber, but she's not moved in a hundred years! Of course her coordination is going to be a little off; of course her legs are going to be weak. She's also a bit of a pushover, but…not. She's still getting her bearings in this suddenly changed world, so she sometimes remains quiet. Let's things soak in, but she's not meek.

She's thoughtful, doesn't jump into things when she doesn't know what to do and, even better, she's not the sort to go haring after a guy just because he gave her a smile. If you're looking for a girl that's a kick-butt princess, one that is a fighter, you'll probably be a bit disappointed in Aurora. But if you're willing to let the quite girl grow into her own, you might be impressed with her strength of character. (And she even starts showing a little butt-kicking promise for the sequel.)

The fictional prince kissed the girl. She awoke and swooned in his arms. How much simpler things would be, if that were true.

Thank you so much The Book Rat & A Backwards Story for hosting this.