Publishing Info: February 24, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 7, 2015
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.
I am ALL about fairy tale retellings so when I heard about A WICKED THING — which is a retelling of Sleepy Beauty — I was ALL for it! Thanks to HarperTeen, I received a copy in the mail and immediately made plans to start ASAP! It started off really well and I was immediately intrigued. I really enjoy the fact that the plot started with Aurora’s awakening after 100 years — not just a short while — and she wakes up to a world that’s totally unfamiliar to her, all of her family and friends long gone.
But… that’s about where the good things stopped for me. I’m gonna be honest. This book did not sit well with me. It wasn’t particularly bad, but after the first few chapters, NOTHING was grabbing or holding my attention. I loved the potential for Aurora but I felt like she never really made it past the idea of a strong heroine. She was constantly overwhelmed with how alone she was in this new world, which yes, that’s totally understandable — I would be too — but it didn’t feel like any smooth transition from scared and alone to take-charge and bold. She flip-flopped back and forth between the two and once she finally turned into this take-charge girl, I just didn’t really believe it. It really just felt like too little too late and everything sort of felt very basic and undeveloped for me.
And that actually goes for the other characters too. Everyone felt very one-dimensional. The queen was supposed to be a baddie, but she just felt very static. Everything she did was horrible and rude and mean and she really didn’t have any redeeming qualities. Not all villains or antagonists have to (*cough*Dolores Umbridge*cough*) but I think I would have liked her character so much more if she had shown a little bit of humanity every now and then or tried harder to be trustworthy. Her blatant selfishness and the fact that Aurora gave in so easily frustrated me quite a bit.
The men in the book were no better. The king didn’t have much development either — which I was okay with, really. He was a big part of the overall plot but that doesn’t mean he has to be a main character — but it was all of the possible love interests that I really couldn’t get on board with that frustrated me most of all. There are three — THREE — gentlemen who are more or less vying for Aurora’s affections. One is the prince who woke her, one is a mysterious boy from town, and one is another prince who is “not to be trusted” (who I actually liked the best because he was deliciously snarky and clever)… and Aurora is kind of involved with all of them. Not all of those relationships are romantic but she’s sort of pulled in all directions and it was just too much for me. I never got to spend time with the ACTUAL love interest (Tristan) — the boy the reader is supposed to like — because there were just so many things going on. I felt no pull to him. I also wanted to feel more sympathetic to Rodric (that’s the prince who woke her) because it was clear that they didn’t really belong together, but they were trying to make things work because he was the one who broke the enchantment and by right should marry Aurora. Finnegan (the scoundrel prince) was my favorite but unfortunately he was the least important. it sounds like he’ll play a bigger part in the next book but I won’t be picking it up.
The story was lackluster. It took a very long time for things to happen and when they did, it didn’t feel like much. BIG events sort of came out of nowhere instead of a constant ebb and flow of character-driven portions to action to world building. I didn’t really feel much of anything was developed. What exactly was “a wicked thing”? (Yes, it was mentioned but it didn’t feel too wicked.) I felt like I didn’t get to know the characters. I felt like the world was essentially any old fairy tale. I felt like the plot didn’t really grow or move or do much of anything. And the ending didn’t even feel like a cliffhanger or a temporary resolution (since it’s a series) — it just kind of ENDED.
Sadly, after all of my original excitement, A WICKED THING was just not the book for me. I really appreciate HarperTeen sending me a copy of this book to review and I wish I could have fallen in love with it but it was quite the struggle to finish because it really just kept dragging for me. It sounds like things may pick up in the second book, but I won’t be picking it up to find out what goes down.
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Aurora // Character Obsessions: Freedom, family, magic, romance, adventure.. You may have noticed that in my updates above, I noted that it was making me crave an Aladdin retelling even though I was reading about Sleeping Beauty. Well, when Aurora goes on her little escapades, it just REALLY had an Aladdin feel to me and how Aladdin and Jasmine met, which also kind of made her feel like a poor man’s Jasmine, I think. I wanted her to be so much more feisty and read to take charge and she just didn’t feel like a strong character at all.
Kept Me Hooked On: Sleeping Beauty. It’s actually not one of my favorite fairy tales (or Disney movies) but it’s been getting a lot of attention with Maleficent coming out last year and I’ve been a bit more interested in it as of late. I wish this book had done more for me regarding a retelling but I’m hoping more retellings come out at some point in time!
Left Me Wanting More: Development. Everything really felt so underdeveloped in this book. The characters, the plot, the action, the setting, the magic system… I just felt so underwhelmed by everything and it made it really hard for me to get into this book. Even if one thing had felt a bit deeper, I think I would have enjoyed it that much more and maybe even overlooked or not noticed the other things.
I was SO SURE I would love this one but it really just didn’t do anything for me. The characters fell flat, the pacing seemed off, and I wished there had been so much more to the plot. Sadly, I can’t recommend this one.
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(Click the cover to see my review!)