For some reason, I had a bad feeling about A Wicked Thing. It was something about the cover, though I do like it, or maybe the title or the fact that I don’t tend to like HarperTeen books unless they’re contemporaries. Still, I cannot resist a fairy tale retelling and was really excited to read it. This time, my bad feeling was wrong, though perhaps it was just picking up on the surprise series. A Wicked Thing engaged me right from the beginning, when I found that I quite enjoyed both the writing and the narrative voice.
The concept of A Wicked Thing is really awesome. The novel opens with the kiss. Aurora’s sleeping and wakes up to this guy she doesn’t know kissing her. And telling her that now they will get married and live happily ever after. She reacts like most people would: she’s rather freaked out. To her, it’s as though a single day has passed, not one hundred years. Unlike the usual version, the others in the castle died. Now she’s alone a hundred years in the future and learning that her prone form was basically a tourist attraction. That would be the rudest awakening ever without a doubt, and I love that Thomas considers the practical awkwardness that Aurora’s situation entails.
Rhiannon Thomas has a lot of fun highlighting the difference between the fairy tale and the reality. See, the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that we know is told about her in the kingdom. She’ll wake to the prince’s kiss and the kingdom will prosper. Aurora, though, doesn’t believe this. I mean, why would an evil curse end with her being able to save her kingdom in the future? Good point, Aurora. Thomas made me look at some aspects of the tale that I’d never given much thought to and I love that a lot.
The other thing that I think Thomas does really well is making people a bit morally ambiguous. Even Celestine, the evil witch, seems to me to be an unclear force. What was her ultimate aim? I’m really curious about the hints of her past that we’ve gotten and would like to know more. Iris, the current queen, too, seems to possibly have hidden depths, reminding me of the queen in the kdrama Goong.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The characters really needing more development at the moment are the love interests of Aurora, of which currently she has three. There’s the prince who kissed her awake, Rodric, who so far seems kind and awkward but lacking in personality. Then there’s a visiting prince, Finnegan, a debonair flirt with potential depths. Finally, there’s the boy who works at the local pub, Tristan. Nothing’s been decided romantically yet, so I don’t mind much, but I’d really like to see more personality from all three guys, because I can’t have a real ship if they don’t have real personalities.
As is occasionally the problem in YA novels, my main issue was that Aurora often seemed to have too much freedom. Mostly, Thomas did a good job highlighting how trapped she is in her position, but somehow she sneaks out pretty easily. This is at least addressed, but I was still side-eying it. More troubling is the fact that Aurora was regularly allowed to speak with Prince Finnegan or even others without a chaperone or guard. The King and Queen know that he’s working at cross-purposes to their own, but allow their son’s soon-to-be wife to speak with this guy without a guard present? Yeah, I don’t think so. Much of the plot wouldn’t be possible without Aurora having this freedom to speak without anyone overhearing, but it’s so unbelievable.
The Final Verdict:
I’m certainly going to be reading more about Aurora’s journey. I think Aurora’s got a lot of potential for an amazing character arc. Right now, she’s not very strong but she wants to be and I think she could learn. I hope to see that happen.