“The fairies called her Maleficent. They had named her after Saturn, because of its unfavorable influence, and after Mars, a malicious god known to cause destruction and war. For that was what the fairies saw in her future: malice, devastation and conflict.”
*Before reading, please note that there are major spoilers from this book.
“Practically every princess in peril has been saved by Love’s First Kiss! For goodness’ sake, between witches and fairies, can’t we think of something more original? I’m weary of this. Why must a young girl need a man to save her? Why can’t a princess fight for her own life, break her own curse? Why must it always be a prince? By Hades, I will to kill Prince Phillip on principle, just so we don’t have yet one more prince kissing some helpless sleeping girl, making her feel like she has to marry him out of gratitude.” -Maleficent, from Mistress of All Evil
The more books I read from this series, the more shocked I am that Disney allowed these to be published. They’re so far off from the fairytale films they’ve made the last eighty years. They make you question everything Disney has been pushing on us, in regards to fairytales and villains. Much like my previous review about Ursula’s tale, this one was much darker and had me feeling confused afterwards. I’m not quite sure where these stories are taking us and to be honest, I’m not completely convinced yet that I want them to continue on.
The series started off great with the Beast’s tale not being too far off from what the live action film told us. Evil Queen’s story was a little different, being more focused on her and how she became evil than Snow White – which was expected. Ursula’s book was just darkness and lurking evil everywhere, and not much about her story. And that brings me to Maleficent. It was just plain darkness. Everywhere. There were no redeeming moments in this book. It took me 90 minutes to get through the whole thing, because I was hoping for clarity. I didn’t get it. It ended abruptly and left me feeling irritated.
Maleficent is evil in the animated version of Sleeping Beauty, though we didn’t dive too much into her story. It was about Aurora and all we knew was there was an evil fairy, cursing her from the beginning of life for an unknown reason. When Disney released Maleficent, we dove deeper into her story and you started to feel for her and in the end, she was reunited with the little girl she loved and all was well. She didn’t meet her demise at the end and she turned back into the young woman you were rooting for in the beginning. I would’ve been good with that. I would have liked that to be the end of talking about Maleficent. I was able to deal with the two different and conflicting stories. Now, they’ve thrown another story about Maleficent in there and I feel as if it’s further tarnishing her name.
In this book, she starts as an abandoned fairy, found by “Nanny”, whom I mentioned in my last review. Nanny takes her in, mothers her, has great hopes for her and then Maleficent tries to destroy her and all the fairies because of the powers she can’t harness. And that’s it. That’s the end of the story that we’ve read almost the entire first half of the book. And then it gets really strange.
Queen Snow White comes into this tale… of Maleficent… and Aurora. It does nothing for the story to drag Snow White back into this book for the simple sake of continuing to tie in the series. Valentino already has enough original characters in this story that she doesn’t need to put Walt’s princess in the middle of this. Again, I’m surprised Disney approved this, as Valentino has been given the right to decide Snow’s fate and where she went after the film. She’s played as ditzy and a maid to one of the witches, Circe. And somehow, every single person in this series is related by being cousins. Are you really telling me that every character in a fairytale we know from Disney are all related?
The biggest shocker of all comes towards the end of the book, when you find that Lucinda, Ruby and Martha created Aurora from a spell as a daughter for Maleficent. Yes. You read that correctly; Aurora is Maleficent’s daughter. Not only that, but she has supposedly inherited Maleficent’s powers. We don’t get to see any of them come to life, because the book ends as the animated film does, which adds even more confusion to this book, because in the beginning of the book, it seems like it was trying to stray away from the film, but then she falls back into the same ending.
All in all, this was probably the worst of the series to date. I’m not sure if Valentino got lost along the way with where she wanted to take Maleficent’s story, or if this is just Disney Press trying to be edgy. Since the series started out so strongly, I’m going to continue reading it, as the story of Mother Gothel comes out in July. Being that Rapunzel has quickly become one of the most beloved princesses Disney has introduced, I really hope Valentino can honor that and not again get lost in a very solid story.