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Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Have you ever wondered what the kids of Disney's most famous royalty and villains would be like?  In The Isle of the Lost, Melissa de la Cruz explores just that!  In this book, we follow the adventures of the teen kids of Belle & the Beast, Jafar, Cruella de Vil, Maleficient, and the Evil Queen.  I was actually debating at first whether or not to review the book here on Tynga's Reviews, because all of the villains and their progeny have been banished to a magic-less island.  A book with no magic?  That wouldn't do.  But it turns out that Carlos, Cruella's son, is a tech whizkid who has invented a machine that briefly allows magic back onto the island.  This spark of magic set in motion a whole chain of events for the group.

I was definitely drawn to The Isle of the Lost by it's gimmicky nature:  the story of the teenaged children of Disney's most (in)famous villains going on a magic-filled adventure together.  That being said, I do feel that the gimmickiness will draw a clear line between those who will love the book, and those who will hate it.  First, a basic working knowledge of and love of classic Disney is required in order to full "get" all the references.  Also, there is a lot of book before the reader gets to any action, wherein the main characters are hanging out about town, interacting with other minor Disney characters, and developing setting.  Disney fanatics will love this; others may find it a bit tedious to wade through.  Personally, I fell more toward the latter group.  Many minor characters are briefly introduced and then never mentioned again, which I found off-putting.  But I could see a Disney-loving teen totally digging "seeing" all their faves living together on an island!  Second, this book is a "prequel" to a made-for-TV movie.  This isn't a spoiler; it's clearly stated in many places.  Not everyone is into the whole multimedia series experience.  This actually led to a great discussion with a library customer about the pros and cons of the multimedia experience.  Another well-known example of this is the 39 Clues series; there are many books in this series, and all contain hints/clues and special log-in information to allow readers to also interact on a website.  They're very popular.  I didn't watch the movie after finishing this book, and I'd be very interested to talk to someone who does, to see how the total package experience went.

But I digress.  Back to the book!  As I mentioned before my whole gimmick and multimedia experience sidebar, the four main characters embark on a quest of sorts in the second half of the book.  All four are children of villains, and are expected to act as such.  Where most parents encourage their kids to share and play nicely with others, these kids have parents who encourage dirty tricks and graffiti.  So it was very interesting to see how de la Cruz would write them into a "group project" of sorts.  I feel like she did it pretty well!  The characters are definitely a bit caricaturistic, but they're beyond 2D.  For an upper middle grades/young YA book, the writing is superb.  As an adult reading it, it felt a little "young," but I was reading it with the eye of a young teen, and I could totally name a few tweens that I'll be recommending this to.

The best news?  No spoilers, but The Isle of the Lost works as a standalone too.  So no worries if you don't want to try the movie!  No cliffhangers.

You'll just need to read the book to see if the quartet accomplishes their magical goal!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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4 People left their mark' :

  1. Niiice! I'm a Disney fanatic! So this one is already in my TBR Trunk! Yup, the books have been confined to a trunk! And it's full to the brim! I think this one sounds awesome, but then the ever questioning side of me wonders when these villains had kids! Especially since a few died in their movies.

    But yeah...gotta ignore that fact I'm sure! Regardless I will read it eventually! So many books to read at the moment! And I do want to see this Disney Channel movie! I believe it airs on July 31, but something tells me I won't get the book read before then! LOL! DVR to the rescue!

    Great review!

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  3. Hi - This is certainly different. Sounds kind of fun. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

  4. I think my TBR would overflow even a trunk! The hubby has started giving me a side-eye when I bring home new books... lol

    Let me know what you think if you watch the movie and read the book. I'm interested to see how the mixed-media "duology" will go!