Released: July 26, 2016
Received: Finished copy from publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
This is a really tiny book with a whole lot of plot packed into it. There's really four stories here: Ursula's past, Ursula's present (the movie), the strange sisters, and the princess. This was good since all the stories were mostly interesting, but also bad because all the stories suffered from "not enough."
Ursula's past was acceptable. I'll buy what the author is selling here, even if it did seem a little far fetched. But, fairy tale, so, yeah, I can accept far fetched in this context.
Ursula's present was entirely underwhelming. Mostly it's just word for word taken from the movie, it's barely there, and when it does go off script it's not very good. Triton is made into a super evil man whose complete cruelty led entirely to Ursula's villainous ways. Even taking into account that this is from Ursula's perspective, this still didn't feel right. This didn't ring true to any of the characters and it lacked the psychological depth and character development needed in a reverse perspective story.
But those other two storylines? To me, those made the book worth reading. There were a lot of references to the first two books in the series, but I didn't get them because 1) I read the first book years and years ago so I don't remember much of anything, and 2) I never read the second book. It was a little annoying not knowing exactly what was being referred to, but it didn't affect my ability to follow the story.
Even still, these side characters were more interesting and I cared more about them than I did about Ursula. The three sisters were annoying, but I didn't get the sense you were supposed to think they weren't annoying. The cat, the princess, the prince, and the nanny were all likable and I wish the book spent more time on them.
Also, there's a big cliffhanger at the end.
The books in this series seem to be pretty consistent. They're kind of all over the place and written poorly, but despite that, they're also engaging and, overall, I enjoy them. I would definitely check these books out of the library and will continue to follow the series.