Wednesday, October 11, 2017

HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN! Review: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: The Isle of the Lost
Series: Descendants #1
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Format: Hardcover, 311 pages
Pub. Date: May 5th 2015
Source: Won/Publisher

Book Description:

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent's daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon's eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen's daughter, Evie, doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she's a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he's not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon's eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil's son may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever. Carlos's inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon's eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad.



Upon watching the "Descendants 2" film on the Disney Channel a few months ago, I suddenly remembered that not only does this book series exist, but that I had a copy of the first book.

So, away I read.

Ultimately, this was a pretty quick read that held my attention really well.

I like the concept of having a new yet familiar world, filled with new yet familiar faces. The children of the most infamous Disney Villains all live, study, and survive on the Isle of the Lost. I thought that Melissa de la Cruz did a really good job of world building the island. It was vivid and descriptive, and it answered a lot of questions that I had (from seeing the movie before I read the book). I also liked that she took four separate villain children and gave them four distinct backgrounds and life experiences, though they're all from the same small place, and shoved them to work together. It was interesting to see how relationships changed and grew, and to see how they all interacted with each other, especially since they all know the heinous things that each of their parents have done in the past.

There are a lot of callbacks to Disney films in this book, and I adored that. If you were a fan of Disney animated classics growing up, there are a lot of familiar characters that make appearances, and you get new insight into some of the motives of these movies.

There's a little tease of a romance, but it doesn't really come to fruition in this first installment of the series. I hope that changes in the other books. There's also not a lot of description of the "good" enchanted land of Auradon; I assume that will come later too.

The only thing that really didn't vibe well with me was the personalities of the four villain kids who are the main characters: Jay (son of Jafar), Carlos (son of Cruella), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen), and Mal (daughter of Maleficent). There was a lot of time dedicated to explaining what the sins of each of their parents was: what they had done to be villains, how they had failed, how mean they were. All fair explanations, but... We know. We saw what happened in the films. It's not something that needs to be constantly readdressed like "Oh remember Jafar wanted the lamp!?" We need to know more about who the villain children are, and I never really got a sense of who they were, on their own. Perhaps this changes when they no longer have such strong, imprisoning ties to their parents in later books, but in this book it seemed lacking for the kids, or redundant for the adults.

Like I said though, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun, nostalgic read that took me back to all the Disney books that I loved as a kid, and still love now in adulthood. It's a great book for kids and young teens who still love Disney, or who like series such as Ever After High or Monster High.

I look forward to continuing the series when I track them down.

1 comment:

  1. Soooooo this is a series that I need to get into, especially after you made me watch the movie! xD I'll help you build your collection if you let me borrow them