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Meet The Descendants

Get to know the children of Disney’s most infamous villains in Melissa de la Cruz’s The Isle of the Lost.

Meet The Descendants

BOOK REPORT for The Isle of the Lost (The Descendants #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Cover Story: Don’t Eat the Produce
BFF Charm: Big Sister x5
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Original Movie
Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Once Upon a Time
Relationship Status: Made Me Smile

Cover Story: Don’t Eat the Produce

There are plenty of stories warning people against eating specific fruits (namely apples). Although the apple on this cover doesn’t look all that threatening, the thorny vine wrapped around it certainly gives the whole thing a sense of foreboding.

The Deal:

The villains of every Disney fairy tale have been banished to the Isle of the Lost, an island off the coast of the kingdom of Auradon, a kingdom run by King Beast and Queen Belle and their fellow Disney heroes and heroines.

On the Isle of the Lost, the villains are forced to live their lives in squalor, without magic, off the scraps of the good guys. But they’ve lived their lives, and, in some cases, even had kids. The kids—specifically Mal, Jay, Evie and Carlos, children of Maleficent, Jafar, Evil Queen and Cruella de Ville, respectively—have been raised to be as evil as their parents.

On Auradon, Prince Ben, son of Beast and Belle, is learning the ropes of being king. He’s finding that his father’s way of doing things might not be the best fit for him. And he finds himself wondering about the island off the coast.

Sometimes, the apple falls further from the tree than parents might expect.

BFF Charm: Big Sister x 5

I’m not an evil villain, and I have no aspirations to be. Therefore, I don’t really understand what drives villains to do the evil things they do, nor do I understand why their kids would want to follow in their footsteps. Thankfully, Mal, Jay, Evie and Carlos are slightly less evil than their parents, but they could definitely use some guidance in their lives that involves less plotting of evil schemes and more assurances that it’s OK to be a good person.

While not the offspring of an villain, Ben’s a bit lost as well. He has two good parents, but sometimes parents don’t always know what you want to hear. He could use an older person in his life to tell him that it’s OK to be yourself.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

There’s not really any swoon in this book, but two of the characters—REDACTED for spoilers—might have dreams about each other that hint at things to come.

But, this is a middle grade book, and a Disney one at that, so I wouldn’t be expecting anything particularly steamy, even in the future.

Talky Talk: Original Movie

The Isle of the Lost is a prequel novel to the upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants. It introduces a few of the main characters—Mal, Jay, Evie, Carlos and Ben—and tells how the four villain kids become an evil crew. The novel’s chapters switch between their POVs. This switching is familiar territory for Melissa de la Cruz, and she’s adept at making it clear who’s who without having to spell it out for readers.

Because the book is middle grade, however, the characters do feel very young. The world building in the novel also feels a lot like a movie set, rather than a fleshed-out fantasy land, but that might be more the details de la Cruz had to work with than her writing.

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Once Upon a Time

There are an absolute slew of Disney characters name dropped in The Isle of the Lost, and at a certain point it becomes “who doesn’t live in this world,” rather than a question of who does. It’s fun thinking that all of these characters live in the same world, even if it’s a little hard to comprehend, what with them being from different areas of the world and time periods. But that’s where imagination comes in.

That said, the book does feel awfully familiar if you’ve ever watched Once Upon a Time. Sure, the stories are completely different once you get into the details, and The Isle of the Lost is obviously written with kids in mind, but the idea of all of the good guys and all of the villains from every Disney story living in the same time and place isn’t a new one.

Casting Call:

I’m cheating here, but why do extra work when it’s already been done?

Dove Cameron as Mal

Booboo Stewart as Jay

Sofia Carson as Evie

Cameron Boyce as Carlos

Mitchell Hope as Ben

Relationship Status: Made Me Smile

You were super cheesy, Book, but in a way that made me excited to get to know you better. I can’t help being a fan of Disney Channel Original Movies (even if I’m, uh, a little removed from the age group they’re made for), and having the opportunity to read something that felt exactly like a Disney Channel Original Movie made me smile.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Isle of the Lost is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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