Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved to read! My mom has told me stories of little me reading all while sitting atop a pile of books that I had pulled off my shelf. Books offer the rare opportunity to be transported to another world where the words paint movies in my head of the characters and their adventures. I am always looking for the latest book series to read to transport me to another time and story and in Serena Valentino, I have found not only a great book series but one that tells the previously untold stories of Disney’s most powerful villains. Villains like the Evil Queen from Snow White, and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty leap off the page with their stories of how they became to be known as a villian with their version of the events of their famous stories. In these books, you are transported back to the time of each villain and you learn about their lives and how they came to be evil. It offers an interesting insight into what makes these big baddies tick and surprisingly, at the end of the first book, I actually felt sorry for the Evil Queen! Serena Valentino does an excellent job of getting inside the head of each villain and helping us understand that the world they came from is what influenced their decisions. Her books are beautifully written with descriptive details and imagery that transports you into their stories with a magical twist in the form of 3 odd sisters who have a surprising role in the stories of our villains.
The books Serena Valentino have released so far are all unique in their stories but carry a common thread of the 3 odd sisters to tie them all together. Her next book will be focused on Mother Gothel from Tangled which I am super excited for but here are the stories that are available for reading now.
Fairest of All
The first book that Serena Valentino released tells the story of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and is my personal favorite out of her series. It starts the story right after the Queen (we believe her actual name is Grimhilde even though she is never actually called that) meets Snow White’s father the King and marries him. It features a young Snow White and goes through the Queen’s journey of grief, depression and ultimately deadly jealousy of her stepdaughter Snow. This story is so well written with its descriptive imagery and answers the question of what happened to Snow White’s father. It also describes where the Magic Mirror came from and many other burning questions that come from this villain's story. If you want a place to start with this series, Fairest of All is the best place to get introduced!
The Beast Within
This book is unique in that it technically doesn’t feature the story of a villain because it is the story of the Beast (Prince Adam) but what it does tell is a more detailed version of how the Beast became cursed. What I love about this book is that it shows the reader, through the telling of the story, the thought process of the Beast as he began his cursed journey and during those lonely years before Belle came searching for her father. It shows you how the Beast grew and matured through his cursed ordeal and through his love for Belle. It reads as those perfect detailed redemption stories that we all know and love.
Poor Unfortunate Souls
The third installment of the series features the story of Ursula the Sea Witch before the events of The Little Mermaid by starting with her relationship with her brother King Triton and her subsequent banishment. This story focuses more heavily away from the events of The Little Mermaid and more on the family dynamics that influence Ursula’s choices later on. Definitely worth a read but different from Fairest of All.
Mistress of Evil
This latest release takes on the direction that Maleficent the movie should have taken on: the story of Maleficent before the events of Sleeping Beauty. The story focuses heavily on the realm of the fairies and Maleficent’s childhood growing up as a different type of fairy. Maleficent has always been a distant and mysterious figure to me because she is so calm and collected in her interactions with the characters of Sleeping Beauty; we never really know who or what she is. It was so exciting in this book to peel back the curtain into a story that tells us a version of who Maleficent is, where she came from, what her motivations were, and how she comes to be the person she is by the time of the christening of the baby Princess Aurora. So if you have ever been curious to know about this magical mistress, pick up this story and be drawn in!
I hope that after reading these short synopsis, you are already planning which book you are going to read first because this series not only features well told, descriptive stories but also an opportunity to step into the shoes of Disney’s most powerful and notorious villains!