Return to the world of Descendants! A Closer Look at the Series as a Whole!

Two years ago, Disney Channel debuted its brand-new made-for-TV movie Descendants. A movie about the descendants of evil Disney villains and the way they grow up? That sounds awfully cool!  

The movie initially drew in 8 million viewers.  lIt did so well that Descendants: Wicked World, a series of animated shorts, began airing. Tons of books and merch launched. Tonight, after two years of fans eagerly waiting, the sequel launches on TV! It will air on several channels aside from itsDisney parent, including ABC and Freeform.

The most anticipated part about tonight? We're going to meet Uma, the daughter of Ursula! Ursula has always been my favorite Disney villain, so I'm really excited for this series arc!!!

The biggest companion book, of course, is the official prequel novel, THE ISLE OF THE LOST by Melissa de la Cruz, as well as the sequel, RETURN TO ISLE OF THE LOST, and the Descendants 2 prequel, RISE OF THE ISLE OF THE LOST. The series continue to eat up the New York Times Best Sellers chart.

Growing up, I would have have eaten all this stuff up. As an adult, the series isn't all that it could have been, but it's also not a series meant for me. I actually almost turned Descendants off after the first opening "musical" number, but wanted to give it a chance. The story hadn't begun. I wanted to see beloved Broadway performer Kristin Chenoweth's take on Maleficent. The story got better and had a lot of heart, though it certainly wasn't without its cheese. The songs were hit and miss. The only stand-out to me (And of course, the one song you don't see on the Disney Channel's commercial promoting the soundtrack because it doesn't involve any Disney Channel Actors!) is Kristin Chenoweth's big number, which was written by the award-winning Andrew Lippa. There's also a ballad later on in the movie sung by Dove Cameron that's passable. But I won't be buying the soundtrack. It will be interesting tonight to see how the movie/music/sets/etc. progress in a sequel now that money is being thrown at this franchise left and right! The costumes were a lot of fun and worth watching to see what was invented next. Some were kind of crazy, but most of them were fun and so eye-catching! I especially loved the ones that had inside jokes, like the Fairy Godmother's bow dress or Evie's "Fairest" shirt! (I would so wear that.)

The first book is pretty similar to the movie. At times, I considered putting it down because...well, because it was geared at kids. I've read and loved several middle-grade novels, don't get me wrong, but I hate when a book talks down to me or is too kiddish, and sometimes, THE ISLE OF THE LOST took the cake. It was fun getting an entire backstory to the children of the villains and what made them tick, though!

I would say that if you're a huge Descendants fan, you're ABSOLUTELY going to want THE ISLE OF THE LOST!!!

It has a full story that takes place before the movie and before the kids ever make it off the island. The movie doesn't explore their history, only their present. It doesn't show you the tension between Mal and Evie or explore the way their parents have messed with their heads so much that they'll go to the means we see in the movie  in order to please them. It's also a great look at learning how to be friends in a world where that's hard to do.

In honor of tonight's movie premiere, I filmed a video taking a look at the book series. It has a great design I LOVE, and hope you will as well!!

The Verdict?

The Descendants franchise is going to be around for a long time to come! Hopefully it will become more engaging for older audiences as the series grows, but it's still fun and easy to fall for! The plot is really interesting and has so much story potential! Plus, kids everywhere are gobbling it up.  Fairy tales are cool again, and that's always a-okay in my book!!!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title: THE ISLE OF THE LOST: A Descendants Novel
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Received: For Review

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.