9 August 2015

Review #296: The Isle of the Lost (Descendants #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” 

----Desmond Tutu

Melissa de la Cruz,a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, pens her new YA book, The Isle of the Lost which is the first book in the Descendants series. This series opener tells the story of all those villains whom we all encountered in all the Disney Princess books and movies, from Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty to the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Jafar from Aladdin to Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, when they were banished from the kingdom to a lonely island devoid of any magic or charms. This is the villains' story whom we all loved to hate them, but now we get to love them for real!


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.

Once again the Disney TV movie, Descendants compelled me to buy this book from Amazon, which was not a best buy, but definitely a worthy one. Who doesn't love Disney fairy tales with all those glittering happy-ever-afters but have you ever wondered what happened to all those evil characters who tried to ruin the lives of those fragile princess'? Here is the book which tells you otherwise that things which are good doesn't necessarily have to be perfect and good and things which are veil doesn't necessarily have to be bad and evil.

After all those fairy tales ending with happily ever afters even years later that, the United Kingdom of Auradon which is ruled by the Kind Beast and his queen Belle (The Beauty and the Beast) who's sixteen year old son, Prince Ben is soon going to be the next king, banished all those evil queens and characters to an isolated island, The Isle of Lost protected by a magnetic force field to stop any kind of enchantments or magic spells in that island. The only magic still exists in Maleficent's Dragon's Eye, that can save all those wretched people living a dreadful as well as dirty and hopeless life in that lost island. So who will it be to bring home that only piece of remaining magic from the kingdom to protect their identity and worth in the world?

Maleficent, Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella de Vil all have a child who studies in the Dragon Hall high school shared by the prince himself. So this is their only chance to get their hands on that piece of magic to save themselves from this hellhole. Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay are all suffering from identity crisis, which sixteen year old doesn't. The responsibility naturally comes on Maleficent's talented daughter Mal to whisk away that Dragon's Eye from the kingdom, and the pressure to prove her worth to her own evil mother is really high, can Mal do it with the help of her friends? Or does she wants to be a good person like Prince Ben and his family?

The writing style is really good with a strong and articulate narrative style that has lots of layers of mystery and hidden agendas, thus making the plot mystifying as well as engrossing one for the readers. The prose is elegant and eloquent with a fast pace. The plot is even masked with lots of actions that keeps the readers on their edges till the very last page.

The characters are nice, crafted strongly with lots of evil in their hearts along with a hint of little bit of goodness hidden behind piles of darkness, thus making them pretty much likeable. Mal is an ideal YA heroine who is brave as well as confused like anything with everything she wants to do. And same goes for the other kids too. All the characters are distinct and each of their evil quality makes them stand out in the rest. I loved the whole gang, and there's the kingdom, where people are not very humane enough to let you go with anything. The kingdom is home to so many secretive agendas to make sure the villains rot in their own personal hell.

The climax is a huge letdown as the book is opening the doors to the possibility of yet another Disney movie and with such an ending, I'm not too excited for it's sequel, moreover, nothing much happens in the book, only a bit of action, teenagers trying to find out their identity, a very brief romance, that's all!

Verdict: If you are a huge fan of fanfiction and fairy tales retellings then do grab a copy of this book for sure. 

Author Info:
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Visit her here 

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1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing that this is a so-so read! I found myself buying a copy anyway because I am a huge Disney fangirl! LOL! I wanted to check out the movie as well, however juvenile. My niece has already watched it several times because I thought I would naturally read the prequel book first! LOL! Glad to hear that despite some things you still enjoyed it somewhat! Great review!


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