I remember first hearing about this book, and being really, really excited for it. Sleeping Beauty has always been my favorite fairy tale, and anything that is a kind of retelling of it is something I absolutely must read. For some reason, though, I kept putting this one off. I went back and forth before I finally bought it on sale, because I was looking forward to reading the second book in the series, too.
See, this isn’t technically a retelling in the sense that we’re used to seeing. It kind of picks up where the actual fairy tale left off – when Aurora wakes up after sleeping for one hundred years because of the curse (you know, where she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel).
Aurora, of course, cannot believe that she has been asleep for one hundred years, but when she sees how her kingdom has changed from when she fell asleep to when prince Roderic woke her up with a kiss, she starts to panic.
“‘Tell me,’ she said. She stepped toward him. ‘Tell me how long it has been.’ He looked away. The silence stretched between them. ‘One hundred years.'”
So while she’s busy trying to come to terms with the fact that she’s been asleep for a century, everyone she has ever known and loved is gone, and she’s supposed to marry this random guy who kissed her and woke her up, she has to deal with Roderic’s snotty mother Iris, and his father, King John, who really isn’t a very good king at all. While the kingdom should have rightfully been her kingdom to rule, they had to choose a new family to take over, because no one knew when (or if) Aurora would ever wake up. While she’s still regarded as a puppet, she has virtually no say, and Roderic’s parents keep her locked up in her rooms so that no harm can befall her.
While she’s dealing with all that nonsense, she meets Prince Finnegan, who has instantly taken a liking to her. Prince Finnegan is kind of amusing…and out of all the characters in this book, he’s really the only one I actually liked. He’s got the whole “bad boy” persona going on, and he doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of him. Prince Finnegan and Aurora don’t really hit it off in the beginning…she sees him as an arrogant Prince who doesn’t seem to have any morals or thought for anyone save himself. Some of their banter is kind of amusing, and while Aurora doesn’t seem to care much for him at first, you get the feeling that they’re going to end up friends (or more) later on.
While Princess Aurora is supposed to be locked in her room, she decides that she’s had enough, and starts picking the lock and leaving the castle at night to go into town, particularly to visit a tavern where she doesn’t believe anyone knows her. There she meets Tristan and Nettle; Tristan is a bartender who makes Aurora feel like a person instead of just an object to be used at everyone’s whim, and Nettle is a singer who Aurora befriends as well. She feels safe and happy when she is around them. When she is at home in the castle, Aurora busies herself by reading books, and she even comes across the tale of Sleeping Beauty, which tells the story of Princess Aurora – from the curse that made her fall asleep to the belief that a kiss from her true love would wake her
“She wanted to turn the page and see more words, more promises and guidelines for her trembling little life.”
When Aurora finally realizes what is happening in her kingdom and what she is being forced to be, she realizes that she cannot handle it anymore, and she turns to Prince Finnegan for help with figuring it out. When she starts learning some things about herself and comes in contact with the witch who put the spell on her when she was a baby, she doesn’t know where to turn or what to do, because she realizes that no matter what decision she makes, it will not be an easy one.
“‘If you fail to help these people, they will destroy you. And if you show them how powerful you really are…they will destroy you for that too.'”
The thing about this book is…a lot of things are happening, but at the same time, it’s kind of like nothing is happening. It’s kind of slow and boring up until the end, and you wonder if some of the things that happen along the way even have a point. I’m assuming (and hoping) that some of the characters in the book, like Finnegan, for example, will return in the second book, because it didn’t really seem like they had as big of a role as they deserved. As for some of the other characters, like Roderic, it’s difficult to really even say anything about them because they felt like they were all cut from the typical YA fantasy cloth that we see countless others cut from. Roderic was so incredibly boring and uninteresting, while his mother took on the whole “mean queen” kind of personality. It felt like I had read them over and over again in other books. I didn’t even find any special redeeming qualities in Aurora – even she had the whole typical damsel in distress thing going on.
The ending of the book was decent – it wasn’t really all that unexpected or anything, but it was well written and it made the entire book a little bit better.
I did like A Wicked Thing, but I had too many problems with it to really love it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty excited for the next book and can’t wait to see what happens with Aurora and (hopefully) some of the other characters like Prince Finnegan. I did love the way it was written – instead of a traditional retelling it was more about what happened after Aurora woke up, so that was different and kept my interest. It was definitely a cliffhanger ending so I’m excited to see what comes next!