I’ve read every book in Serena Valentino’s Disney Villains series, although I’ll admit to not being much of a fan. My biggest issue is that the villains or main characters at the center of each story feel like side characters or pawns to a trio of witches called “The Odd Sisters.” For me, the books end up weakening each villainous character by turning them into puppets for these witches that somehow connect some of Disney’s most classic animated films. That’s why I was surprised when it was announced that the books have inspired an upcoming Disney+ series called Book of Enchantment. With that, I entered into the sixth (and final?) book in the series with new eyes as I read The Odd Sisters.
Before I dive into this review, it’s important to know that there is a definite reading order. If you haven’t read any of the books and are interested in them, I recommend that you stop reading this and go back to the beginning. I’ve previously reviewed four of them for Laughing Place and they are to be read in this order:
Still here? I hope this means you’re caught up on the series and want to know more about the latest release. I would describe the sixth book as being the Serena Valentino equivalent of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince mixed with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In under 300 pages, readers will learn all about the origin and upbringing of Lucinda, Ruby, and Martha as their daughter/sister Circe (it’s a little confusing) and Snow White consider whether or not to bring them back from the mirror world they’ve been trapped in.
Snow White has been somewhat of a constant in the series, at least referenced if not popping up here and there ever since the first book. She’s the biggest Disney character in this story, but there are plenty of references or cameos to the villians previously introduced. Quite a bit of time is also spent in the land of the fairies, where characters like the Fairy Godmother, Blue Fairy, and the trio of Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather are incorporated.
Fans who’ve collected the hardcover books know that the dust jacket always features different artwork than the cover underneath. It’s often been an alternate form of the villain’s face, but this time it’s a poison apple. The cover underneath is the rotting apple core, although don’t expect the enchanted object to actually appear in the story. It’s really just there due to the connection to Snow White. There are also illustrations this time around, including a family tree that is helpful because the relationships between characters have become just as confusing as they were on Once Upon a Time.
My least favorite thing about the entire series has been the Odd Sisters and while I hoped the excitement of a Disney+ series would change my view of them, this book doesn’t add enough intrigue or backstory to make them feel intriguing or well rounded. They come across as flat and dim, unable to learn from the same mistakes they repeatedly make. I was tired of them before this sixth book and having a whole tome devoted to them was a chore to get through, short read that it is.
Your enjoyment of The Odd Sisters depends entirely on your view of these characters. If you’ve been a fan of the series thus far and like these meddlesome witches, then you’re probably going to find The Odd Sisters to be an exciting conclusion(?) to their tale. But if they’ve annoyed you the way they have me, I say skip this release and just watch Hocus Pocus for the 1,000th time. That’s the coven I prefer to spend time with.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.