4 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this work
*spoilers for the first book*
For my review of the first book, A Wicked Thing, please follow this link.
Aurora has decided to ditch the fairytale wedding to the son of the usurper to her kingdom’s throne and make an alliance with a neighbouring, dragon-infested kingdom. Prince Finnegan is eager to help her, as her powers show signs of being able to help with his dragon problem, but she is torn between loyalty to her country and the new pull of her blossoming fire powers.
I liked this sequel more than I liked the original actually. My problem with the first book in the series is that Aurora is just a very passive character and lets everyone control and manipulate her. In this sequel, she starts to stand up for herself and come into her own. She starts experimenting with her own power, forms alliances and treatise, and starts to live her life the way she wants to. She becomes less of a doormat and more of a person. She forms relationships the way she wants and she starts taking control of her own powers.
This sequel breaks away heavily from the Sleeping Beauty-rewrite tone of the original and turns into a very nice dragon-themed YA fantasy. Aurora has fire magic and hopes she can use it to control/ banish the dragons from Finnegan’s kingdom. Since she is the last magic user, though, she has to figure out the use of her powers through trial and error, without setting the whole kingdom ablaze. Finnegan is willing to help, but he has no experience with magic either. Their relationship develops as Aurora becomes more confident and starts mastering her powers.
Aurora also has to deal with her fall from grace in her home kingdom. Since refusing marriage to their prince, the usurper king has turned most of the kingdom against Aurora, claiming she is a fraud who is burning cities and villages. Aurora has to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to try and save a population that now hates her.
This book takes a stark, realistic look at what it really means to be a ruler and be responsible for the safety of a population. Aurora is torn between duty and her own wishes and has to find her way to a life she can bear without losing herself in the process.
While losing the original fairy tale thread, this is still a strong fantasy book, especially for those who love dragons and I found it a more satisfying read than the original.