Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: The Isle of the Lost
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015  
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: 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.
“Evie, with her beauty obsessed mother; Carlos with his screeching harpy of a parent; Jay, the happy-go-lucky thief with a quick wit and dashing smile, who could steal anything in the world except is father's heart.” - pg. 206
I was solely looking forward to reading this book because of the premise and because I wanted to read about what happens after the "happily ever after". With the movie coming soon, I wanted to read this before I watched the movie, since this is a prequel novel of sorts. Since this is a prequel novel, I was expecting an info dump of sorts and lots of back-story with very little plot. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised to find an actual plot.

This book focuses specifically on Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of Evil Queen), and Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil) and their lives on the Isle of the Lost. I was also presently surprised to see that even more children of Disney characters made an appearance (but I'm not going to say who because spoilers).

For me, this book was great because of all the Disney references. There were so many instances that went back to old school Disney movies including the princess and even more modern day Disney. Just to name a few, there were references to Sleeping Beauty, Tarzan, Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, the Princess and the Frog, and 101 Dalmatians. I really enjoyed picking up on all of them. I was also presently surprised that I was able to. I think many people may miss some (and I'm sure I did not catch them all). Melissa de la Cruz's attention to detail was paramount in this book and it made the book for me.

I have not given this book that amazing of a review only because it was a children's book and that was apparent in both the writing and the story. It was too "childish" for me to truly love. I did enjoy the book and look forward to the continuation in the movie, however this book was not up to my typical standards when it comes to books.

For me this book brought me back to my childhood of constantly watching Disney movies and loving every second of them. This book I think is great for a younger audience, especially kids who are a little apprehensive toward reading. I think this is a great book to get them interesting in a story. I borrowed this book from a family friend, whose 9.5 year old absolutely loved this book. I think for me, I enjoyed the references to my childhood, but it was a little too juvenile for me.

Are you looking forward to the movie? What are your thoughts on the book?

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