Series Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Genre: Fantasy, retellings
Series: A Wicked Thing #1 and #2
Pages: 337 and 368
February 2015
February 2016
Source: publishers via edelweiss

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.

This was a solid YA duology filled with magic and mayhem, curses and kisses, death and dragons. Rhiannon Thomas's fantasy slash fairytale remixes are fun, memorable and entertaining adaptations and inventions. Beginning with the after-ever part of Sleeping Beauty's Aurora's story in book one, the eponymous A Wicked Thing, and then following her to a new kingdom and plotline in Kingdom of Ashes, Thomas makes each book a well-rounded adventure with a hint of mystery and a lot of danger.

The first book is the somewhat the stronger of the two, but each has its own distinct plotline and the second  gives a real sense of resolution. A Wicked Thing does a great job of introducing this version of Aurora and the secondary characters that surround her; Kingdom of Ashes gives her plenty of room to grow and evolve in an ever more political situation, along with a few of the characters from before. One of the things I like most about Aurora is that she is always an active main character (though in a thoughtful, strategic manner rather than outright fighting) , even if she has made silly decisions for no plot reason.

Creative, inventive and original while still being recognizable as a retelling in nature, A Wicked Thing was a promising start for the series and this author. While the conclusion Kingdom of Ashes offered may have waxed a little long and overwrought, it was still a solid ending. The romance is a bit hit or miss but it's not overwhelming and there are some good scenes between Aurora and her various love interests. One twist in the second story was particularly telegraphed before the "reveal" but it's still very possible to have fun with both books. 


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