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Cover image for A wicked thing
A wicked thing

First edition.
New York, NY : HarperTeen, [2015]
Physical Description:
337 pages ; 22 cm
One hundred years after falling asleep, Aurora wakes to the kiss of a handsome prince and a kingdom that has dreamed of her return, but her happily-ever-after seems unlikely as she faces grief over the loss of everything she knew and a cruel new king.


Call Number

On Order



Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of what happens after happily ever after. Vividly imagined scenes of action, romance, and political intrigue are seamlessly woven together to reveal a richly created world . . . and Sleeping Beauty as she's never been seen before.

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.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Feminist blogger Thomas's debut novel takes the happily-ever-after out of the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale, and explores the fallout that takes place after Aurora is brought out of her deep sleep. Awakened after her 100-year nap, her friends and family long-dead, Aurora is thrust into an engagement with the stranger whose kiss roused her, Prince Rodric, the only son in the royal family currently governing the kingdom of Alysse. Her home is by no means the peaceful place it was: angry factions combat against the cruel and totalitarian King John, and the country seems to be teetering on the brink of a civil war. Aurora's tale has been a symbol of hope for many, and the pressure to live up to the expectations that her awakening, and in turn, her intended marriage will bring about a change for the better, are immense. Uncomfortable with her new role, Aurora secretly makes nightly escapes to the city, where she meets Tristan, one of the rebels, to whom she forms an intense attraction, until the violence of his convictions drives her away. On the day her wedding is to take place, she makes a break for it, unsure of where she is headed, but content to be "nothing but herself." The book is welcome twist on the classic helpless-princess-saved-by-dashing-prince one expects from a fairy tale, and the lack of a consistent love interest is refreshing. Aurora is a relatable character and fairy tale and fantasy fans alike will breeze through this retelling and eagerly await her next chapter.-Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thomas's debut opens with the end of a familiar fairy-tale-the "sleeping beauty" awakened by a kiss. The conclusion of one story marks the beginning of another as 18-year-old Aurora learns that she has been asleep for more than 100 years and is perceived as a potential savior for her unstable, violent homeland. She is manipulated and controlled by her future in-laws, the king and queen; treated as a puppet rather than as someone with thoughts of her own, she quickly comes to resent her situation. Though Iris, the cold and fearsome queen whose mask of authority hides her dissatisfaction with her own powerlessness, is an original creation, other characters, such as the cruel king and the morally dubious rebel Aurora unwittingly befriends, remain generic. The conflict between the rebels and the king, in which innocents (discounted by both sides) suffer most, is thinly constructed, and the kingdom of Alyssinia has little to distinguish it from other fantasy lands. But Thomas's novel leaves enough enticing unanswered questions to pave the way for a sequel. Ages 14-up. Agent: Kristen Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

The kingdom is thrilled when its hometown prince Rodric breaks the spell and wakes Princess Aurora from her hundred-year sleep. But all is not well in the land of Alyssinia. Revolution is in the air, and a commoner, Tristan, tries to open Aurora's eyes to the Crown's corruption. This series-starter features a feisty (if understandably confused) princess's true awakening, a political one. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A loose "Sleeping Beauty" retelling emphasizes political intrigue.Aurora awakens from her 100-year sleep to a stranger's kiss and an unstable kingdom. The bumbling, adorkable Prince Rodric is kind, but his parents, the austere, remote queen and seemingly jovial yet cruel king, both want to use Aurora and Rodric for their own purposes. The plodding pace produces a plot that primarily consists of Aurora's observing problems and doing nothing. Everyone seems to believe Aurora will bring peace to the kingdom, but very little reason is given for thisa fact that may confuse thoughtful readers. At first, Aurora shows spirit by escaping from the castle at night, but these escapades are short-lived. She spends the remainder of the book feeling oppressed by expectations and bemoaning the fact that no one sees beyond her beauty. While Aurora's frustration at being objectified is valid and understandable, her self-imposed lack of agency and constant complaining present her as petulant and indecisivea beautiful, pale (a fact that is fetishized and harped on constantly) doll. Thomas plays fast and loose with elements of the fairy tale, making changes that would be understandable if they appeared to serve a higher purpose than plot convenience. The sluggish pace and dull protagonist may dissuade readers from continuing with what, given the ending, seems to be a planned series. Uninspiring. (Fantasy. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.