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

The Isle of the Lost (Descendants, #1)
The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Descendants #1
Published: May 5th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Pages: 311pg.
Format: Hardcover / Source: Owned
Genres: Young adult, Middle grade, Fantasy, Fairy tales

Goodreads synopsis:
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.

2-5 stars

It was quite a while before I could get my hands on this book. I seen the movie first and really liked it, so my interest was peaked in hopes that the book would be just as good. Boy was I wrong. Today I bring you a different review format in which I establish a list of my disappointments.

  • The characters fell flat. They felt less than three-dimensional to me. Not that they weren’t portrayed well, but if I’m honest, Mal and Jay felt quite the same and Evie and Carlos felt a little under-developed.
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  • Where was the conflict?! The events of the book felt very simple for the characters. It seemed like they barely struggled to reach their goal and because of this, it wasn’t a fun ride for me as the reader.
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  • There was a lack of world building. It was kind of hard to imagine how the island looks. We’re told about not so beautiful looking castles, some scattered graffiti here and there, and a bunch of working goblins. That’s not much of a picture.
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  • All of the kids are fatherless… (or motherless in Jay’s case) Their other parent isn’t mentioned even once in the book. Were their parents magically able to have kids by themselves?
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  • I found myself struggling to get through Ben’s chapters. Not that there are many. I see where it’s going and why his chapters are relevant, but they were just so boring to me.
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  • The plot felt unnecessarily dragged out. We don’t learn about the goal until about 20-25% of the way in and then there’s not much action until about 75% of the way through.

Despite my complaints, I do like that it’s the prequel to the movie. Although I’m not sure why it’s considered ‘Young adult’ when it’s clearly directed in a ‘Middle grade’ manner. In conclusion, this book is not one I particularly enjoyed, but I think it could be a great one for younger readers.


Do you read The Isle of the Lost? What did you think of it? Thanks for reading!

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