Once upon a time, while lazily wondering around a bookstore as I often do, I happened upon a table of books for young readers. Typically I do not read young adult literature but a series on this table caught my eye and I knew I had to have it.
The Disney Villain collection by Serena Valentino is beautifully woven together to create the background for each villain. At first glance they appear to be individual stories, but in fact it is a series. Without giving away any spoilers in this post, I am going to walk you through the series in order.
Fairest of All
I have never particularly cared for Snow White’s evil Queen stepmother. Maybe because I was terrified of her the first time I watched the movie when I was about three years old. Never cared to hear her story. To me, she was just a hateful woman with witchy powers who died at the end of the movie. I did not expect much from this book when I first started it.
I was probably about two or three chapters in before Serena Valentino changed that for me. The beautifully written story of the broken life of the Queen and her descent into evil and lunacy is captivating. Sometimes it can even be a touch relatable. I love how the story ends up swinging back around to the last book in the series. (Also, If you happen to be reading this Serena, give us more Disney Villian books, please 😊).
The Beast Within
Tale as old as time. I LOVE how Serena sets the Beast up for his spell and the characters from the first book rejoin in the second. I am obsessed with ‘Beauty and the Beast’, generally speaking, and love the backstory she created for the Beast, leaving Belle out of most of the book. What?! Leave out Belle?! Yes, and it works! I can’t explain why without giving too much away, just trust me on this.
Showing the Beast’s bad qualities as a human makes it relatable, again. It seems entirely possible, as you read, that you are almost reading an enticing piece of history instead of fantasy.
Poor Unfortunate Soul
My favorite thing about this piece of the series is Serena doesn’t strive to make the Sea Witch seem all that different from the original perception in the mind of the reader. She just guides you through why Ursula may have rights to the way she behaves.
I forgot to mention, throughout the series, Serena drops lines from the movies. You won’t watch them the same way again knowing what was happening just out of the camera frame that changes everything.
Mistress of All Evil
Maleficent is my favorite villain. Always has been, probably always will be. I always sensed that there was something deeply hurt and wounded about her. When the live action movie came out, that tale made sense and I love that version so much. ❤️
But this tale is different. The way Maleficent is bullied as a child by the other fairies and other events, again makes this series relatable and believable. This is a beautiful tale of vengeance and forgiveness and love.
Beautiful job, Serena. (Seriously, more please!)
If you’ve read this series, let me know what you think. I hope you enjoyed (or will enjoy) it as much as I did!
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