When Bunny was born, I was determined to raise a girl not obsessed with pink, princesses, and fairies and for the first few years I did quite well. Then she started nursery and was introduced to the world of Disney Princesses by her new friends and I pretty much gave up. Three years’ later and she is still obsessed, and nothing has demonstrated this more than our new book, Disney Descendants: Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz.
The book tells the tale of what happened to all the evil villains we know from the various fairytales that have been adopted by Disney to create the Princess emporium. As they get used to life on an isolated island, imprisoned by a magical force field that prevents them leaving, their miserable lives become proficient at creating evil in the absence of magic. The book is apparently the prequel to the Descendants movie, but I’d not seen or heard of it until now, but will no doubt be keen to see it when we finish reading the book.
…the terrible, the treacherous, the truly awful, and the severely sinister
were cursed to live without the power of magic.
…tales of its gothic grandeur and obnoxious opulence would be told for years to come.
The book itself is aimed at children aged around 8-12, but my 4 and 6 year olds are enjoying it. Some of the vocabulary is probably beyond their current understanding, but that hasn’t stopped them asking me to read it to them each night, and I have welcomed the opportunity to explain new words to them and help them improve their language and communication skills. Bunny is probably just about at the stage of being able to read it to herself, but it would be slow-going! However, the narrative is fun and informal, just like a friend telling a story that has an almost poetic lilt to its prose with fantastic use of alliteration and wonderfully eloquent adjectives.
Bunny loves guessing which fairytale each new character that is introduced comes from and so far has impressed me with her unerring knowledge. Meeting their children has been fun too as they impress us with their antics and pursuit to be more evil than their parents.
We are only a few chapters in, but are all keen to keep reading to find out what happens next and how the good inhabitants of Auradon (the magical kingdom the evil villains were banished from) might be affected by the plotting of the villains and their children to escape the hell that their island prison has become.
I would certainly recommend this book for young readers who have almost grown out of the Disney Princess franchise magic as this may rekindle their love for it, in a different, but more rounded way. The villains and their children are well-developed as three-dimensional personalities and we can feel empathy for them in ways that the original Disney movies lack. The pace of the narrative ensures that the story speeds along, feeling action-packed without necessarily being so and we quickly begin to identify with each character, good or evil. I assume there will be further novels in the series as this is branded #1, implying that there is a #2 to follow and I will be interested to see how it compares.
Disclaimer: we were sent this book as part of our membership of the Parragon Book Buddy club. All comments and opinions are my own (or my childrens’).