{Review+Giveaway} A WICKED THING by Rhiannon Thomas

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

    SHE WOKE UP WITH A kiss.
    Not a birds-singing, heart-stopping, world-ending sort of kiss. A light spot of pressure on her lips.
    Aurora opened her eyes.
    A stranger loomed above her. A boy. He stared at her. "I did it," he said. "I actually did it."
    Aurora screamed.
(pg 7, US e-ARC edition)

There aren't enough fairy tales that explore after Happily Ever After. Rhiannon Thomas decides to continue the tale of Sleeping Beauty in her debut novel A WICKED THING.

Princess Aurora awakens after 102 years to find a strange boy in her room kissing her. Only...she doesn't know 102 years has passed. She's devastated to find out that her entire family is long dead and that she's now betrothed to Prince Rodric. Her parents had always kept her locked in a tower for her safety. After breaking the curse, she was supposed to find freedom, but instead, the Queen keeps her locked in a bedroom in the palace for "her own safety." Aurora isn't sure of what to make of this new world, especially upon encountering the King's viciousness when dealing with his subjects. Here, she's nothing more than a figurehead with no real say in anything. She wishes she could go back to her own time, but she's trapped in the present with no way out.

Sleeping Beauty is one of those stories that's hard to give new life. It's very cut and dry, and less dangerous than many other tales out there. Thomas decided that, rather than re-tell the story we all knew, she'd like at Happily Ever After...especially if things weren't so happy. Many authors have the Sleeping Beauty know her True Love ahead of time. In A WICKED THING, more than a century has passed and Aurora doesn't know anyone. Her story has become a legend, a storybook tale, and they've added it elements not previously there such as the concept of being awoken by "True Love's Kiss" and the kingdom rejoicing with everyone living Happily Ever After. None of it is true. Thomas excels at making readers feel as smothered by Aurora's surroundings as she is. She emerges from the tower weak and shaky, her muscles unused for so long. She's forced to intereact with a court that finds her to be simple-minded, with nothing noteworthy about her save her beauty.

Not a lot of action happens for the majority of the book as Aurora finds her place in the new  world. She's able to escape for a few nights and flee to town, where she meets a boy who reveals himself to be part of a rebel group hoping to overthrow the king. There's also a visit from a prince from a neighboring kingdom, who has his own dangerous agenda. While there are three guys vying for Aurora's attention, they all want something for themselves, and it's never about Aurora. She is a pawn, not someone's greatest love, and to be honest, she isn't looking for love, either. There's not a lot of romance going on despite this being a Sleeping Beauty story, so don't go into it looking for that. Instead, it's all about power plays and headgames. Who can you trust when everyone is keeping secrets? The action appears in the novel's climax, paving the way for a second book. I had thought this was a stand-alone going into it, so finding out there will be at least one more book was a surprise to me. In hindsight, the whole book was paving the way for the sequel. The true story of after begins when Sleeping Beauty finds her backbone. The second book already promises to have magic, dragons, and more, which will make for a faster, more gripping read, especially if pivotal characters beyond Aurora are fleshed out and explored as readers finally sink into the motivations that make everyone in this world tick.


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( Chaste kissing  )
Language: --
Violence: PG12+ ( Talk about characters being burned to death or executed; blood mentioned; nothing explicitly graphic )
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I really love the sweeping letters of the title, though I've been seeing this a lot on books lately. The model's dress is super pretty, though it seems too modern for the time period. There's so much talk about dress sleeves that I doubt Aurora would have worn something that covered so little at her ball. I also like the setting because the model is lying against a wall that reminds me of a pretty important scene in the book!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Release Date: Feb. 24, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: For Review
Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | iTunesBook DepositoryKobo

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.  

Author Rhiannon Thomas

Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.


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  1. I love Sleeping Beauty, and I'm hoping this is a satisfactory retelling! Thanks for the giveaway!


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