Disney Descendants Book Review and a Giveaway, Part Two!

As I mentioned in my previous post, after leaving the Isle of the Lost book launch event, I went straight home, opened my copy, and dove in.  I was immediately captivated by the main character, Mal, daughter of Maleficent (played by Dove Cameron in the Disney Channel movie).  I was also interested to learn about the Isle of the Lost, an island covered by a dome where all of our favorite Disney villains live with their kids.  The villains have all been banished to the island by King Beast (not going to lie, it kind of annoyed me that they continually refer to him as King “Beast”, doesn’t he have an actual name?), who is the ruler of Auradon, the land where all the pretty people live.  The island seems like a pretty terrible place to grow up.  They don’t have any fresh food, but instead live off the remnants and leftovers from Auradon.  The buildings are all rundown and in general, life seems crappy.  The villain kids all attend evil school and try to get as up to no good as they can.
Probably the most striking part of the novel is the relationship the kids have with their villain parents.  Each kid (Mal, daughter of Malificent; Jay, son of Jafar; Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil; and Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen) has their own struggle with their parent, but they all boil down to one thing: not feeling loved and accepted.  It is really sad to see these kids constantly strive to please their parents, only to be continually shut down.  It is this strive for acceptance that leads Mal to take the others on a quest for Maleficent’s scepter, the Dragon’s Eye (all magic was banished on the island, the scepter along with it), which is the main action in the novel.  The novel ends seemingly where the Disney Channel movie, Descendants, is going to pick up.
I am a big fan of author Melissa de la Cruz’s previous young adult novels, so while I generally enjoyed Isle of the Lost, I was a little disappointed in its lack of depth.  While her previous books were written for teens, I feel this one would be better for a younger audience.  I really liked the introduction to the characters and to the world of the villain kids, but it took up most of the book, leaving little time for the actual action.  The quest for the Dragon’s Eye should be the center of the novel, but it is rushed into about the last third.  I wish there had been some more time spent on the plot, rather than all on the characters.  However, if you are a Disney fan, you will enjoy all the “hidden” (they’re pretty obvious) Disney tidbits sprinkled throughout the story.  And if you are planning on watching Descendants, this book is a great way to get you psyched for the movie.  I think that was the general purpose for writing this book, to get people excited for the movie.  If that was indeed the main goal,  then the book is a success.  While I was planning on watching the film anyway, I will certainly make sure I tune in now.  I’m not sure the book stands well on its own though, and it seems unclear at this point if this is going to become a series of books.  I hope it does so there is more time to expand on the characters and their interactions with their parents.  That was the true heart of the novel and by far the most interesting part.  Overall, Isle of the Lost was an enjoyable read and if you are a Disney fan, you should definitely check it out!
Which leads perfectly to my latest contest!  I will be giving away a grand prize of one copy of Isle of the Lost, autographed by both Melissa de la Cruz and Disney Channel star Dove Cameron.  In addition, I will be giving away TWO copies of Isle of the Lost (not signed) to two runner up winners.  See the form below for rules and entry methods!  Also, I will be posting a picture of the autographed copy on my Instagram account later today, so make sure you check it out!
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