*There are family trees after the map of the Many Kingdoms at the beginning of the book. Don't look at those family trees until you've read the story, otherwise, you will spoil a MAJOR reveal.
*For those who're listening on Audible, don't worry there is a PDF file with the map, family trees and chapter illustrations.
Once upon a time, there was a fair, creative, young woman with the gift of storytelling who got the opportunity, due to her brilliant work on comic books Glomcookie and Nightmares and Fairy Tales, to write about Disney characters. Most specifically, about misunderstood or irredeemable villains.
She first picked Queen Grimhilde, the green-eyed monster that served as a stepmother for Princess Snow White because the latter is her favorite princess. And in this tale of magic, love, grief and vanity, we were introduced to three weird witches: The Odd Sisters, with odd looks, odd manners, and odd goals. Lucinda. Ruby. Martha. Three women based on three songs written by Tom Waits. But who are they? Why do they hate Snow White so much, to the point they corrupted her step-mother so she could kill her? Why did they bring madness upon the Many Kingdoms, to many broken people such as the sea witch Ursula who just wanted to get her voice back, the dark fairy Maleficent who was the only cursed victim, or Gothel whom mother didn't actually know best?
This novel, in a very '' old book of fairy tales fashion'' answers many unanswered questions, creates a ''tear-jerker '' effect, let you speechless with your mouth open while reading. As we learn more about the Odd Sisters' backstory, as well as dark secrets that will change everyone's fate forever, some teased storylines in Mistress of All Evil and Mother Knows Best are explored, for my greatest joy, as I love Maleficent's and Gothel's stories as much as I enjoyed this book!
The spotlight is also projected on some of the Disney Villains Serena Valentino wrote about ( but I won't say who) as well as her other characters such as Nanny, Oberon, Pflanze, Circe, Tulip and so many more. A huge but likely most welcome change in this book is the breathtaking illustrations by the marvelous artist Pablo Santander Tiozzo-Lyon ( if you didn't know his work before reading the Odd Sisters, you definitely need to look at it on his Facebook page).
Pablo's artwork on chapter illustrations, a map of the mischievous and bewitching world Serena created for this series, family trees with character's portraits, and other lovely goodies bring true magic to this masterpiece. Being able to see our beloved Disney characters as well as the ones Serena created, that we have learned about since Fairest of All is an amazing experience. Indeed, all of them were as I expected them to look!
This story is probably the most hard-hitting in the series as it creates a mix of emotions, brings unspeakable consequences, and raises even more questions. I loved everything about it, it was awesome to learn so much about everyone and everything, hating characters that are supposed to be good and rooting for characters that appeared as monsters and liars ( Once again, I won't say who but you will likely find out while reading). Each page of this book brings more answers, twists, secrets, and future storylines. My only complaint is that the book wasn't long enough ( but let's be honest, a book written by Serena Valentino will never be long enough)! There are so many things that need to be resolved and we definitely need more Odd Sisters books!
I have three final words: Take our money!!!
* I hope we'll learn more about the former queens of the dead featured in the family tree of the dead woods such as Desponia and the First. Were they also evil? What did they bring to the dead woods during their reigns? Maybe the 'split'' method Nestis used on Lucinda was created by one of them.
* Perhaps the choice the Odd Sisters have to do is to choose between going back to the past to undo all their wrongdoings or move into the mists.
* Now that we know more about Lucinda's, Ruby's, and Martha's parents, I hope we'll learn who's the first Circe's parents were since they obviously can't be Manea and Jacob. What if they were linked to the Fairylands?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 teacups