Series: Descendants #1
Genres: Middle Grade, Retelling, Young Adult
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 5th 2015
Also by this author: Mistletoe
Format: Audio/Physical (311 pages) • Source: Borrowed, Scribd
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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.
It feels kind of stupid to point out that this book feels very young, considering it skews towards Middle Grade. Goodreads does list both YA and MG as categories for it though. Be that as it may, this book feels very young. I borrowed the book from my 13 year old sister, so that should give you a solid indication of the best audience (she loved it).
I couldn’t resist borrowing it from her though, because hello? Disney villains! The premise of this story is just so appealing to Disney lovers. It sat on my shelf for a number of months before I was compelled to read it. I started with the physical copy from her but realized it didn’t really hold my attention in that format. I got the audio from Scribd and decided to truck along, using both formats (until Winter was released and I switched to just audio).
Speaking of the audio, the narrator was the worst. Sofia Carson is an actor in the Descendants movie (which is essentially the “second book” in this series, I guess). She narrated the book as if she was over-acting in a Disney movie. So. Yeah. Not fun.
The plot was pretty slow as far as pacing is concerned. Most of the action was at the end, and even then… it was anticlimactic. It read like a prequel novella and not a story that was needed on its own. I did like it OVERALL even though I have more complaints than positives. It was really cool how the retelling-ish aspect was done. What happens to the Disney villains after the movies? What would their kids be like? Really cool premise.
It was definitely a quick and easy read. I enjoyed the overall premise and think it’s pretty cool that it exists as a prequel to a movie! That’s my next step.
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