Sunday, September 19, 2021

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas


I've been stealth reading this book on the DL because I'm trying to purge more of my physical copies from my overflowing collection. A WICKED THING is a book that I kind of put off reading for a while because it had such mixed reviews and Sleeping Beauty is one of my least favorite faerie tale retellings because the heroine is so passive. But ironically, that passivity is what makes this book such a delight to read-- because the heroine is basically a clean slate for the author to mold as she wishes and ask the question: what if the heroine isn't all into that creepy sleep kiss? What if she doesn't want to be controlled?

What if she decides to take matters into her own hands?

When Aurora wakes up to a strange boy kissing her, she isn't like, "Wow, that's hot!" She's like, "Who the fuck are you and what happened to my family?" When she finds out that one hundred years have gone by and everyone she knew and loved is dead, she's utterly heartbroken and has a panic attack. Which is probably the most realistic reaction I've ever seen in a Sleeping Beauty book. Of COURSE you would freak out. Any normal person would.

Anyway, Aurora and Prince Rodric-- AKA, the prince charming-- go to a public that is super excited to see the long-lost princess. They've built up all this lore around her, and have decided that she's the figure who is going to herald the return of magic to the kingdom. All of these weighty expectations don't do much to lessen her emotional load in the slightest. Especially when she finds out that the king and queen expect her to marry Rodric, a blushing, stammering buffoon. It's only natural that she'd try to escape her rooms and explore the town that has changed so much in her sleep.

I don't want to say too much about this book because less is definitely more when going in, but I really, really enjoyed A WICKED THING. It actually reminded me a lot of DAMSEL, which is another book that didn't really take too well with some of my friends. It's not really a romance in the traditional sense and the bulk of the book is about the princess learning to trust herself and take her own counsel. The cute boys have motives of their own that don't really make them all that cute, and Aurora's whole heroine's journey is about learning to make her own decisions and impress her own internal strengths. It's surprisingly feminist and empowering and I absolutely loved that about this book.

A WICKED THING is a book with real emotional stakes and real dangers, which is a rarity in YA these days. I'm so happy I have book two already because the book ends on a slight cliffhanger and I am so eager to see what Aurora does next.

4 out of 5 stars

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