Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz was surprisingly a fun read once I got through the first 70 or so pages of introduction and setting the scenes with the characters. It was hard for me to get passed those 70 pages but once I managed to hit 100 the book flowed smoothly and fast.
The book starts out with a party on The Isle of the Lost, an island specifically for all the bad guys/villains in every Disney movie, including sidekicks, humans, and animals. It’s basically a penal colony much like Australia was. And just like any penal colony the inmates procreated with each other and there’s a new generation of ‘bad’ in town. The villains have been stuck on the island for twenty years and the children of these villains are approximately sixteen years old. I don’t know what happened during the first four years but for some reason all the villains decided to have kids around the time. Baby boom of bad kids appeared so now they have to have a school for these kids, obviously only teaching bad stuff.
There’s Mal, Maleficent’s daughter. Carlos, Cruela deVil’s son, who is sort of genius at creating little gadgets. There’s Evie, Evil Queen’s daughter from Snow White. I was super hoping that Evie was secretly really smart and would someday become an awesome sorcerer/witch because she’s always reading her mother’s spell books. There’s Jay, Jafar’s son, who is very much like Aladdin.
The story starts off as a prequel during a celebration for Evie’s 6th birthday. A celebration that Mal and her mother weren’t invited to. We all know what happens when Maleficent isn’t invited to parties and, honestly, Evil Queen should have known better. Since no one on the island has any magic Maleficent vanished Evie and her mother to live the rest of eternity in their castle and never step foot in what basically is the center of town and Maleficent’s domain.
Throughout the book there were so many instances where I just wanted to hug these kids so bad. Their parents were so mean. They were down right emotionally abusive and basically evil villains. My one thought as I was reading was that I hoped that their one act of super villainy for these kids was to overthrow their parents and leave the abuse behind. It was downright painful just to read that Cruella’s one true love was her furs and not her son, even the other villain kids thought that Cruella would at least love her son! Out of the four main kids the only ones that don’t seem all that mentally scarred are Jay and Evie, but even they are surrounded by such cruelty.
I wanted to finish the book before I saw the movie sequel, Descendants, and I’m glad I did. When I was reading the book my favorite characters were Carlos and Mal because they were the most interesting to me. They were the most fleshed out of the group. In the movie Evie and Mal were my favorite. Evie was fantastic and it was hilarious how she dressed up to look like Snow White (obviously to be the fairest of them all at school). I absolutely loved Dove Cameron as Mal, she was the perfect evil with a hint of goodness that I saw in the book. I was a bit upset that the movie didn’t add in the bits from the book that were crucial to the plot. Like the fact that Mal and Prince Ben had dreams about each other was completely glossed over, or the fact that Carlos might have possibly been the reason why Maleficent had her staff (and crazy raven) to begin with. There were just a lot of details in the movie that I completely wanted that weren’t there.
Overall the book was a fantastic read filled with Classic Disney tropes like the whole single parents, the bad parents, overcoming obstacles, etc. I wouldn’t say it was an amazing read because I just had so many questions all revolving around the fact that there was a baby boom on the island around the same time as there was a baby boom on the island with all the good guys in it.
Overall I’d give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. I don’t hate the book but I didn’t love it either. It was so-so and the addition of the movie could have made it better but it didn’t. But I’ll probably get the second book when it comes out in May (or whenever that is).