Cold Hearted: A Tale of the Wicked Stepmother

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Lady Tremaine travels to her best friend’s house to relax and unwind. She chooses to leave her two daughters behind after they had acted impishly, taking only her lady’s maid, Mrs. Bramble. While at the friend’s house, she learns that her friend has set Lady Tremaine up with Sir Richard of the Many Kingdoms. After a few conversations, Sir Richard proposes marriage and request Lady Tremaine and her daughters come at once to his chateau. While initially Lady Tremaine believed that she had found a love match and that she would get to live in the same manner as she did in England, she learns very quickly that Sir Richard has a completely idea. He only wants Lady Tremaine to be the glorified housekeeper while he spends her money he won upon their marriage. Slowly, Lady Tremaine begins to fall into a complete tailspin, which shows us that not only Cinderella was the victim in the situation.

Nanny and the Fairy Godmother receive word from Cinderella that she is concerned for her stepsisters. Looking back at the events that led to Lady Tremaine’s time in the chateau, they have to make the decision on whether they will help the two sisters or not.

I don’t think I have ever read a book where they make Cinderella out to be so mean. Listen, I get that in a lot of ways, that was caused by her father, but Cinderella was not the greatest person in the world as we were led to believe. Also, her father is a jerk. Like major jerk, trying to censor myself level jerk. I do think it is important to note, while I totally empathize with Lady Tremaine, I feel like we kinda ignore the stepsisters. I mean, they are colloquially known as the “ugly stepsisters” and that isn’t cool. It is interesting to me that we see that they had to go through all of the house cleaning and seem unempathetic to Cinderella doing ALL the work that the two of them did together. That to me says they don’t deserve the help they receive.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Evil Thing: A Tale of that De Vil Woman

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

When Cruella is growing up, she wants nothing more than to be someone her mom is proud of. However, her mom is Awful (capital A worthy). On the other hand, her father was a gem. He tried to encourage Cruella to not become like her mother and become a kind and welcoming person. When her father passed, he chose to give Cruella his entire estate rather than giving it to Cruella’s mother, with the only condition that she keep the De Vil name. Her mother tried to actively come up with ways to regain control of the money, mainly by manipulating Cruella’s emotions. During this time, Cruella found comfort in her friend, Anita, as well as her staff. When Cruella’s mother finds her a husband, Cruella can’t believe how lucky she was to find her match. But when things take a turn in her life, she begins to slowly fall apart more and more until she eventually reaches the point we see her in 101 Dalmations.

If you look at any other reviews of this book (which why would you when mine is so good?), you will probably see that this book is really a stand-alone one in the series. I’m going to go farther than that, I think that this book, while under the same initial concept as the other books, is really its own completely separate entity. There is a very vague connection to the other books, mainly through the “fairytale” of Tulip and Poppinjay, but Valentino was unable to bring Cruella into the same universe as the Odd Sisters (which can you imagine how chaotic that would be?).

In a lot of ways, this book reminds me of The Series of Unfortunate Events series. Especially the author’s note where she talks about writing the book based off of interviews and stuff. While a really cool idea, it completely changes the pattern of the series. This isn’t a bad thing, it feels very jarring after 6 books in a different template.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Odd Sisters: A Tale of Three Witches

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

As Snow is reading the fairy tales book, she discovers that there are pages missing from the Odd Sisters story. She and Circe go back to Miss Tiddlebottom from the previous book to see if the pages were in Gothel’s belongings. When they learn that Gothel’s sisters, Primrose and Hazel, returned from the dead, they head back to the Dead Woods to try and help them understand what was going on. While there, they learn of the biggest secret of all, who exactly the Odd Sisters are. Meanwhile, the Fairy Council are meeting to figure out how they are going to punish the Odd Sisters for all of the damage they have caused.

In a lot of ways, this book feels like the end. However, it also feels like it ends on a cliffhanger. There is clearly more to the series, but I feel like this will be the end of the Odd Sisters playing a critical role in the villain’s backstory. What does concern me is that everything felt so wrapped up that it felt almost forced to continue the series.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Gothel is living in the Dead Woods with her 2 sisters and her mother, the Queen of the Dead. When Gothel wants to gain more of her witch powers, her mother forms a celebration to give her more of her blood. But when things take a turn, her mother ends up dead, forcing Gothel and her sisters to make some tough decisions. But as her sisters start to take a turn for the worse, Gothel is willing to do whatever it takes to keep them in her life. When they die, Gothel’s grief is so intense that the Odd Sisters put her to sleep until she was ready to take on the world. However, the King in the neighboring kingdom is searching for the rapunzel flower, which is the key to Gothel’s youth and power, for his wife. When the King uses the flower in order to save his wife with child, Gothel steals the babe, whom she dubs Rapunzel, and keeps her so she can continue to use the power of the flower inside her. When an incident happens on her 8th birthday, Rapunzel is forced into a long sleep until her 18th birthday when she might be strong enough to resuscitate Gothel’s sisters from the dead.

I was not expecting this to be as sad as it is. While yes, it was extremely selfish for Gothel to want her sisters alive again, it is almost a better reaction than the original idea from the movie where she just wanted her youth. Such a heartbreaking story, and it changed by opinion of the movie (although maybe don’t kidnap anybody. That doesn’t sound like a good idea).

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Following the death of Ursula, the Dark Fairy comes to Morningstar castle to try and convince Nanny and Circe to help kill Aurora. Meanwhile in Morningstar castle, Circe is taking care of her Odd Sisters while they are unconscious. Learning that Maleficent is headed to the castle, Oberon (the Tree Lord), the Fairy Godmother, and Aurora’s fairies decide to also make their presence known. When Maleficent arrives, she tries to explain why she needs to kill Aurora starting with her past as Nanny’s child. As we learn more about Maleficent’s past, we begin to understand why she is so angry all the time and why she has become the villain in her story.

I think that out of all the villain stories, Maleficent has always been the villain that has received the most sympathy. While I don’t agree with her actions, I also think that the way Valentino describes why she feels and acts the way she does is so heartbreaking and beautiful. I think that this book really makes these books into a series for me.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

When they haven’t heard from Circe, the Odd Sisters go to Ursula. Ursula agrees to help them with the condition that they help her get back at her brother, Triton. With the intention to take the soul of his daughter, Ariel, Ursula forms her plan. But when someone from the past begins to investigate what is going on, things will become a lot more complicated.

Firstly, I LOVE the idea that Ursula hates Poor Unfortunate Soul. It is such a staple of Disney music, and to have it be something she eye rolled over is EVERYTHING. I also really like that we were able to see how all of these stories are interconnected. Secondly, (spoiler alert?) did Ursula die in the original movie? I swear, that didn’t happen. But I feel like I am not able to give a great review unless I rewatch the movies again.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

The Prince has always had everything handed to him. He has never had to work to get girls to like him and never had to worry about the staff around him. But when he begins to see Circe, a pig farmer’s daughter, he feels like he was cheated. However, Circe is the sister to the Odd Sisters, which leads to them cursing him and his palace. As the Prince becomes the Beast, he slowly falls down a spiral until he can find the woman who will help him break his curse. Although the Odd Sisters will do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.

In the first book, the Odd Sisters did play a role, but a lot of it was in big part was from the Queen. However, in this one, the Sisters play a much bigger role towards his Villain backstory. I also wasn’t expecting the Prince and Gaston being best friends, that was quite the surprise, but Valentino does a very good job of making it work with the original story.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Today’s story is about the Wicked Queen from Snow White. Growing up, the Queen always believed that she was ugly and a waste of space. Her mother died during childbirth, and her father, who was a Mirror Maker, never forgave her for the death of his wife. When the King came to see the Mirror Maker, he fell in love with the Queen and they got married. Upon their marriage, the Queen became the stepmother of Snow White. But when the King goes to war and didn’t return, the Queen fell into a deep depression, and her path to coming out would change her fate forever.

It is incredibly interesting to me that they made the Queen such a martyr. I was kinda surprised by the adult themes, but I also understand that when Snow White came out in 1938, we were more open to talking to children about those types of things. I will say that the ending was a huge shock to me, but I’m not sure if that’s because it has been a moment since I have seen the movie or if Valentino changed/created it for her work.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Villains Series by Serena Valentino

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read:9/11/21-10/30/21

How I Found It: Amazon

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Ugh, this is so cute. These books are supposed to be the origin stories for all of the Disney villains. At the time of writing this review, there are 8 books in the series. I know that there is supposed to be 1 more book that will come out during the summer of 2022. I am not sure if that will be the last one, but it is the only date I have seen for future additions. I am also reading these in the order that is listed on Goodreads. If that order is wrong, please bear with me, I have never read the series before.

Firstly, the amount of thought that went into the production of the books is INSANE. The jackets are a matte black which isn’t the most child friendly because they will hold any oil that is on your hand and look kinda gross, but it is a very beautiful cover. The jacket has a version of the villain and the hardcover has another version of the villain. For example, on The Fairest of All, the Queen on the jacket is beautiful, but underneath, the Queen on the hardcover is the old hag that had the apple. Absolutely beautiful and so unique, I am definitely a huge fan of that decision. It is also really cool because these books are published though Disney, so they have insanely accurate drawings from the movies, which also makes them *chef’s kiss*

Secondly, the pages are a little on the thick side. While that makes them great for children because they will hold up better for fast turners, it does make it a little awkward for adults who read often. I understand the purpose, but it is a little awkward until you get down with the thickness.

UPDATE: The next book of the series is going to be about Captain Hook. It is called Never Never and will be released in July 2022. There is no update on whether this will be the last book in the series.

Edit: The next few sections were listed on another post, but moved to this one. These are my thoughts on the series as a whole.

Firstly, the age range I most commonly saw for the series was 12+. I would say that is more or less accurate. There are times where it felt like the writing was a little immature for that age, but there were other times where I felt like there were more adult themes that needed to be considered (things like suicidal thoughts/ murderous thoughts, depression and other mental health illnesses, etc.). I think that overall, middle school age could probably handle everything that is presented in the books. On the flipside, the books do sometimes feel difficult to read as an adult. The writing feels simplified at times, so while you can read it as an adult, it is hard to stay into the book in my opinion.

Secondly, let’s talk about what is “worth it” in terms of the series. The first 6 books in the series feels like it completes the series. If you wanted the one book leads to another feeling, you can stop buying after the 6th book. The 7th book, Evil Thing, is really its own book. Other than being about a Disney villain, it plays absolutely no role in the series. Cold Hearted uses all the main characters of the series, but it is more of an added story than a continuation. All in all, buy the first 6 books if you want a fluid series, buy all of the books if you want the nostalgia factor.

Thirdly, if I was an editor, what would I like to see next? I already know that the next book is going to be about Captain Hook, but I don’t know how Valentino plans on incorporating his story with the others. I hope that the next book is at least similar to Cold Hearted in the sense that the main characters (Nanny, Circe, the Odd Sisters, etc.) play a role in the story. That was one of my least favorite parts of Evil Thing, in a lot of ways it felt like a waste to the series. I have a feeling that we are no longer going to see the results of Circe’s death, though I do hope that eventually we will get a book that continues that narrative. The question becomes what villain can you use to get that story acrossed, or has that ship already sailed?

In the scheme of things, I would say that the series as a whole is probably a 3.5 out of 5. There are some things that I would have done differently, but it was enjoyable and had good qualities. I think that it is a unique idea and I am excited to see what comes next.

Books in the Series

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch

Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy

Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch

The Odd Sisters: A Tale of Three Witches

Evil Thing: A Tale of that De Vil Woman

Cold Hearted: A Tale of the Wicked Stepmother

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!