Mistress of All Evil

Title: Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 4/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

“Why must a young girl need a man to save her?
Why can’t a princess fight for her own life, break her own curse?
Why must it always be a prince?”

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows Maleficent, while the book cover itself shows her as the dragon. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me.

Additional note: This post reviews the fourth book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, Fairest of All, The Beast Within, and Poor Unfortunate Soul, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

What if everything we thought we knew about this classic tale was a lie? What if Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather were not as nice as they appeared? What if Maleficent was the one who was wronged, and it wasn’t her fault that she did the things she did? What if Maleficent shared a bond with Aurora that no one could have ever imagined? What if she cursed her to protect her? This Sleeping Beauty retelling answers all of these “what if’s” and invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Dark Fairy. The truth behind the story you thought you knew will change your view of Maleficent – at least, it changed mine.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Poor Unfortunate Soul

 

Title: Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 3/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: July 26th, 2016

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows Ursula, while the book cover itself shows her as Vanessa. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me.

Additional note: This post reviews the third book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Fairest of All and The Beast Within, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

Maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough, but it seems like good retellings of The Little Mermaid are hard to come by. I was pleasantly surprised by this story in the Villains series. This Little Mermaid retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Sea Witch and understand her motives a little better. Like the Evil Queen in the first book of this series, you may not like her any more than you did before, but you may never be able to look at her in quite the same way again.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

The Beast Within

 

Title: The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 2/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows the Beast, while the book cover itself shows him as the selfish prince. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me. 

Additional note: This post reviews the second book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Fairest of All, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

With all the Beauty and the Beast retellings out there (and there have been a lot), I can confidently state that I haven’t come across one quite like this. The reason being? This one is all about the Beast. This Beauty and the Beast retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of Beauty’s Prince. What was Prince Adam, and the servants of his household, really like before the curse? Brace yourself for a twist on this beloved fairytale that is nothing like the classic. As long as you can accept that – and the fact that Adam and Gaston are friends in this version – this book might win you over.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Fairest of All

 

Title: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 1/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: August 18th, 2009

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows the Evil Queen, while the book cover itself shows her as the evil hag. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me. 

How did the Evil Queen become the Evil Queen? What did the King see in her that Snow White did not? Was he merely fooled by her fair face? Did she always hate the young princess and wish her dead? Or is there more to this classic tale we all thought we knew so well? This Snow White retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Wicked Queen. You may not like her any more than you did before, but you may never be able to look at her in quite the same way again.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters

Title: Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy, 3/3
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015

Note: This post reviews the third book of the Princess Academy series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Princess Academy and Princess Academy: Palace of Stonebefore reading this review.

After a year of life in the lowlands, Miri is more than ready to return with her friends to her home on Mount Eskel. But just as she is about to leave the palace, the king sends her on an assignment that will take her far from her home, and far from Asland. Her assignment: to start a princess academy of her own in a swamp land. The student has become the teacher.

Miri is intimidated enough at the prospect of running her very own princess academy, but she is no where near prepared for what awaits her in the swamp. Her students, three cousins of the royal family, are not what she expected and a far cry from princesses-in-training. Miri must use all her knowledge from the princess academy and the Queen’s Castle if these girls – Astrid, Felissa, and Sus – are to successfully complete their training. But this training is only the beginning of a long and dangerous journey. The security of more than one kingdom rests on the shoulders of these three, underestimated sisters.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone

Title: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy, 2/3
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: August 21, 2012

Note: This post reviews the second book of the Princess Academy series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Princess Academybefore reading this review.

Miri and her friends are eager to journey down the mountain and help the princess prepare for the upcoming wedding. As Britta’s ladies-in-waiting, Miri and her friends get to live at the palace in Asland – a far cry from the humble life they know in Mount Eskel. On top of that, Miri gets to study as a scholar, and is introduced to a world she never knew existed.

But there is trouble happening in Asland – and Miri finds herself right in the middle of it. During the rising revolution, Miri realizes that she supports the oppressed of Danland, but also her friend who is marrying into the royal family. To make matters more complicated, Miri is drawn to both Timon – a revolutionary enthusiast – and Peder – her childhood friend, and sweetheart. Will she be able to choose between two opposing sides, two loves, and also two homes?

I enjoyed this sequel to Princess Academy, but there are a couple reasons I gave it only 4 roses. 1: I’m really not a fan of love triangles, and this story had a pretty pointed one. 2: This book’s overall feel was so different from Hale’s first book, it almost didn’t feel like the same series. (To be fair, the settings play a huge part in this. The first takes place on an isolated mountain – which I loved – and the second takes place in a crowded city in the middle of a revolution.) But still, a very enjoyable read from Shannon Hale!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Princess Academy

Title: Princess Academy
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy, 1/3
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: June 16, 2005

A simple life on Mount Eskel is all Miri has ever known. That is, until one day when her village receives word that the prince of Danland will be choosing a bride – from her very village. All eligible girls are ordered to attend a princess academy in the hopes of becoming suitable enough to catch the prince’s eye.

Miri is not sure she wants to be a princess, mostly because of her feelings for her childhood friend, Peder. During her time away at the princess academy, she begins to see the possibilities of a life outside of Mount Eskel. In addition to learning etiquette and poise, the girls learn the ways of commerce and diplomacy, and of course, how to read. But Miri’s learning and training equip her for more than just a shot at becoming a princess – she will help her village in a way she never could have dreamed of, and save the princess academy from an unforeseen threat.

I read the first two books of the Princess Academy series when I was younger, and I am happy to say that I enjoyed it just as much – okay, if not more – as an adult. I love this story of a simple, mountain girl thrown into princess training. This book has a lot going for it, too. Themes of family, friendship, and young romance are displayed in a thoughtful, beautiful way, which is why this book works for so many ages. Shannon Hale is among my favorite writes of YA fiction!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: