Kingdom of Ashes (A Wicked Thing #2)
by Rhiannon Thomas
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
by Rhiannon Thomas
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales, Romance, Magic, Fiction, Teen
Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss, Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale. But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor.
Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price.
As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.
Brimming with captivating fantasy and life-threatening danger, the sequel to A Wicked Thing takes Sleeping Beauty on an adventure unlike any she’s ever had before.
I'd like to thank Harper Teen for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.
Going into this book, I will say I ha to read a few reviews of and the blurb from the first book to re-familiarize myself with the story. I remember liking the first book but not loving it. So I went into this book with a bit of trepidation because second books in a series do not always live up to what we want. I should have had no fear at all. This book far surpassed it's predecessor both in content and in writing.
If you haven't read the first book in this series, I cannot promise there won't be spoilers in this review. So stop here if you don't want to know anything! Otherwise, continue on and see why it is I adored this book so much.
The story picks up where it left off. Aurora has fled Alyssinia after realizing that the fairytale her life should be has shattered into tiny pieces. She is being hunted by King John. With what seems like enemies on all sides, she suddenly finds herself in Vanhelm siding with Prince Finnegan, who she has not trusted in the past and is determined not to trust in the present. I really loved Aurora in this book. In the first book I found her character a bit lacking. I wanted her to be stronger. In this book she is so much stronger. She has really come into herself and has grabbed at her chance to save her kingdom in any way she can. She's not above doing whatever it takes to do so. And she is so much more decisive in this book. She doesn't hesitate to make decisions as she did in the last book. Perhaps because she now knows her place and knows what she must do to attain it.
I remember liking Finnegan in the first book but not trusting him mostly because he was such a mystery to us. He was my favorite character by far. But what did we know about him? I felt like he was out for himself in book one that his agenda with Aurora wasn't quite right. I felt like he wanted to use her. In this book, I understood Finnegan so much more. Maybe because we get a glimpse of his kingdom and its devastation. Maybe because we meet his mother and learn how she has had to a rule a land devastated by events of the past. We learn all about him in this book and who he is. It's fascinating and intriguing. He grew from a one-dimensional character in book one to a complex one who had every intention of saving both his kingdom and Auraora's no matter what it took. He's fairly conceited but at the same time you can see he still have insecurities. And you can feel his loyalty, even though Aurora refuses to trust him completely.
The romance in this book worked so much better than book one. I remember being annoyed at a sort of love quadrangle in that book. Aurora was torn in all different directions when it came to all these boys entering her life. I could understand it, despite the fact that it annoyed me. What did she know of love or trusting. But in this book you can see she has learned what those things mean. She realizes what her relationship with both Roderick and Tristan would be if she were with them and she also sees what potential she might have with Finnegan. She certainly works this out in the book and it's nice to watch it grow and blossom. I loved the tension and slow burn that was there and how things were totally in her hands, the decision completely hers. I will say I'm disappointed that she is a bit wishy washy with how the romance progresses. She has no trust in herself to make the decision to have it blossom and this annoyed me.
The action in this book was phenomenal. It really carried the story. I was never bored and the pacing kept me wanting to turn the page to find out what happened. I will say that despite these books being a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, I actually think they are more a re-imagining than anything else. This book does not stick with the story of the fairytale at all. And while I really thought I'd see a re-telling, I think I am actually more fond of the re-imagining angle. It kept me guessing and wanting to know more.
I really loved the writing. I honestly felt almost like this book was written by a different author. The descriptions were great, the world building of Venhelm spot on. And the element of dragons made for a great amount of tension and intrigue.
The end of the book is very open. I know this is a duology so I thought for sure things would be wrapped up. But there are elements that are kind of glossed over and never actually addressed which makes me feel like there will be more to the story than the author originally imagined. I don't like having to guess at things. Open ends are often my nemesis.
Overall, if you enjoyed A Wicked Thing at all, you will definitely like the finale of this story. I've seen that most people enjoyed this story more than the first, and I would have to agree with their assessments. If you like fairytale re-imaginings then this story will hit the mark!
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Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.
As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.
I don't hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.
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