Publication Date: May 5, 2015
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, who has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil, and whose only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost? Mal, who at sixteen, is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes? Evie, who has been castle-schooled for years, and doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall; but is a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks? Jay, a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few? Or Carlos, who may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever?
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.
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a fan of all things Disney. Put simply, I'm a Disney fanatic. So if there's a story that has Disney characters...well count me in! I wasn't actually aware when I picked this up that this was a prequel novel (I know, I know. I should have probably researched a bit more, but what can you do?). So it kind of upset me that the story was being continued in the movie. I don't know if there are going to be more books in the series, and if there are, I'll probably check them out because I did actually enjoy this a great deal. However, if the series is just this and then the movie...well I'm not exactly a happy camper then. I don't know what it is, but it just kind of bugs me, especially with how much I did enjoy this book.
This book definitely has an interesting premise. What happens to all the "evil" characters after the princes and princesses got their happily ever after? I loved being able to read about Mal (Maleficent's daughter), Jay (Jafar's son), Carlos (Cruella de Ville's son), and Evie (the Evil Queen's daughter). Every character is snarky, sassy, and a lot of fun. There were a lot of Disney references, both Disney past and Disney present, which made the story even more fun. I won't say who all makes an appearance, but it definitely makes for some great surprises and moments while reading. Melissa de la Cruz's attention to detail is phenomenal, and you could tell she spend a lot of time making sure this book would be a hit for Disney fans. Honestly, this attention to detail really what made the book special for me, and an enjoyable read.
However, even though this is marketed as a YA novel, it is definitely middle grade. It reads like MG and is written like MG. Not that this is something that makes or breaks a book for me, but I do wish I would have known beforehand that it was MG (again, this was my fault for not doing a bit more research...but I got distracted by the Disney aspect and didn't care, I
Happy reading :)