First in a series
By Rhiannon Thomas
Available now from HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Why oh why is this the first in a series? I was grooving along with A WICKED THING when it just ended with the vaguest of resolutions. Aurora (that is, Sleeping Beauty) had a wonderful amount of character development, but that was about it.
A WICKED THING takes the Sleeping Beauty tale and focuses on what happens after. Aurora wakes up a little over a hundred years after she went to sleep. Everyone she knows is dead, and she's being forced to marry the prince who woke her up to help prop up an unpopular regime (since she's the destined queen to bring magic back to the land). Aurora thinks he's a nice enough boy, but she chafes at the restrictions placed upon her and thinks the prophecy is bunk, even if she wanted magic back (given that her personal experiences with it are sleeping for one hundred years).
Aurora is an oddly passive heroine, as many characters point out. She talks a big game, but takes a long time to take any action. Now, I partially believe it is because she is so disoriented, but debut author Rhiannon Thomas does little to actually show Aurora being a woman out of time. Aurora mentions the fashions being different (many times) and technology advancing (once). She appears to have no difficulty to communicating; slang hasn't moved on? Have the social expectations of women changed? Just what technology is different? I couldn't pin down any specifics, which made it little more than a somewhat sad window dressing.
A WICKED THING skips straight over the love triangle to the love rectangle. I did like that one of the relationships lives and dies a natural death. Sometimes you do fall fast for someone and then end up breaking up for reasons. I do wish the prince were more developed, since there are hints that the destined true love is real.
At the same time, I did quite enjoy A WICKED THING. Some of it is my passion for fairy-tale retellings, I know. But I sympathized with Aurora's inability to do anything because she doesn't have good options, nor the resources to evaluate her options and decide which is least bad. All of them will end up with at least some people dying, which is a tough position to be in. I think Thomas has Aurora's voice down pat, and I hope the other aspects of the story rise to meet that standard in the sequel.