Back in January 2017, author Serena Valentino announced on her social media platforms a new series linked to her Villains collection, about the mythical triplets’ witches of her creation known as the Odd Sisters. Those three women, whose names are based on Tom Wait’s songs: Lucinda, Ruby, and Martha, have brought quite a lot of chaos in the Many Kingdoms.
Whether it’s corrupting bruised women; torturing young princesses, or casting spells while laughing maniacally, they’re in for a wild ride. Along with their lovely moveable house with what resembles a witch’s hat like a roof, their telepath cat Pflanze or their pure and powerful little sister Circe, they’ve definitely won the majority of Serena’s readers’ hearts.
Let’s get back to their different appearances and roles in the series, shall we? BEWARE! From now on, some spoilers will income. Make sure to only read the parts about the books you’ve already read.
Fairest of All:
They first appear as spooky ladies, not fitting the fairytale-like event that is the Queen’s wedding with Snow White’s father. Grimhilde is indeed ill at ease when crossing their looks. Later on, while the King is away at war, Grimhilde receives a letter announcing their forward visit to the court. And let’s just say that their first visit is a scream! From their odd appearance to the strange way they walk, to their habit of finishing each other’s sentences and finally frightening Snow White while talking about using her dead mother’s hair for a potion or even locking up her in the dark, the paradise castle take turns of a Gothic novel. When they sabotage themselves during the winter solstice and try to accuse Snow White, the queen finally banishes them from the court in front of everyone, humiliating them. Little did she know that she just condemned their whole family to ruins. Despite their exile, they go back for the King’s (their cousin) funeral and leave the castle with enigmatic words regarding the Queen’s magic mirror. It’s no surprise that a few days later, the Queen summons them back to ask them more about it and the Odd Sisters finally explains its origins: they are responsible for the Queen’s birth; allowing her barren mother to have a child in exchange for something else: Grimhilde’s father’s soul. When Grimhile’s mother dies in childbirth and her father turns out wicked and abusive, everything has been done for naught. When comes to his death, the witches gather his soul and lock it in one of the mirrors he created, so that ‘’ the queen can finally be reunited with one of her parents’’. They teach Grimhile the invocation to tame its vengeful spirit and allow her to ask him a question that you’re all familiar with: Who is the fairest of them all? They also left another gift for the Queen: book spells and chemical ingredients. They reappear at the end in her nightmares and later on, are fooled when the queen refused to follow their instructions when they advise her to escape the dwarfs by hiding in the forest. Instead, she chooses the path of death, thus redemption by climbing the rocky cliff.
The Beast Within:
With this second novel, we’re directly immersed in the lives of those ‘’evil’’ witches, as we meet their little sister, Circe, their cat Pflanze and we even get a glimpse of their house and the way they use their magic. It’s revealed they’ve stolen some of Grimhilde’s fathers’ mirrors and that the one that was gifted to the Beast during the curse is actually one of them. They make everything in their power to break him and make sure he can’t undo the curse, from trying to kill Belle torturing him. Unfortunately for them, Circe stops them. They are actually good friends with the sea witch Ursula and this is this friendship that is under the spotlight in the following novel.
Poor Unfortunate Soul:
This is the first book that truly shows the odd sisters’ humanity; After Circe’s departure due to their wicked acts with the Beast prince, they ask Ursula for help. In return, they must create a powerful spell to kill Triton and make sure Ariel’s soul can’t be saved. While they have a lot of doubting moments, they finally make the right decisions when scarifying their health to stop Ursula when they find out she betrayed them and collected Circe’s soul from the beginning. They end up in a comatose state, with broken hearts due to the betrayal of their dear old friend.
Mistress of All Evil:
The Odd Sisters are still tucked in the dreamscape, just like at the end of Poor Unfortunate Souls, as the novel picks on where the last ended. They still manage to cause chaos and find themselves face to face with our slumbering princess Aurora after the latter end up there due to her sleeping curse. In the past, it’s revealed they had at least a glimpse of good, as they did care for Maleficent despite the impendent doom they brought upon her. They try to make amends by creating a daughter for her but push her further into the darkness. They try to make sure that Philip dies but with maleficent’s demise, they decide to make sure their friend’s death was worth it and ask Circe to protect Aurora the way Maleficent wanted, which the former succeed in.
Mother Knows Best:
In this backstory of the old witch, our three maniacs only arrive halfway through the book, leaving time for Gothel’s story to start while exploring her character and her relationship with her family. It’s only after her mother’s death and the concerning situation with Primrose and Hazel that the Odd Sisters make their way in the Dead Woods. And what an entrance! Breaking the spell that protects the woods from the land of the living, insinuating to know a lot about the people who ruled and lived there, and last but not least, asking Gothel to give them access to their magic. Though we all know by now that whenever the odd sisters go, sorrow follows, we can’t help but wonder if there is a genuine concern about Gothel and her sisters or if they are just other pawns in their game. Those who read the book likely to know the answer. For others that braved the possibility of spoilers, you will have to wait and see. The end of the book goes back to the events after Maleficent’s death in Mistress of All Evil. The Odd Sisters can’t help Gothel when come Rapunzel’s eighteenth birthday as they agreed to several years ago. Indeed they are trapped in the landscape and wish to redeem themselves to Circe's eyes. They try to help Rapunzel be reunited with her family and tell Gothel the truth about her origins as well as Primerose’s and Hazel’s. From then, Circe blocks their magic and mirrors, therefore the Odd Sisters can’t interfere in the Many Kingdoms and decide to kill everyone who is close to Circe, including Snow White and the fairies so that they can have her back. This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever but they aren’t known for their logic.
And of course, their own book: The Odd Sisters
Making a deal with a surprising alley to get what they want, it’s revealed the odd sisters wanted to take revenge on Nanny and were never really friends with her. They were her first charges and she wasn't able to save them. They do share similarities with Maleficent and Aurora, therefore, as Nanny closed her eyes on certain details and they were given to a royal family: The Whites. But their origins are even more surprising when you realize they are the daughters of Manea and Jacob, which means they are related to Gothel. However, it’s worth informing that this sixth book isn’t just about those three women. Their youngest, Circe actually plays a large role in the story, being the one with enough power to punish them or forgive them. And can we blame the poor girl for heisting? It’s a story about family and relationships between the different women of its composure. It’s a moral tale about how one single person's actions can have an impact on millions. The words ''The End'' at the final page only symbolize the closing of this book but the story is to be continued and hopefully, it will. Unlike OUAT which is still a very special show for me, there is no confusion about the family members' connections or the necessity to introduce a character to directly link him to another. And if some of you still need a recap of the links between all those stories, the family trees at the beginning of the Odd Sisters truly fulfill this purpose. Between the royal court of Atlantica, the White Household, the Fairylands community, or the monarchy of the Dead Woods, everyone‘s here ( and talented illustrated) by Pablo Santander. A peek in their journal and book spells reveal the reason for their hatred for Snow White, as well as the reason why they steal so many teacups from their enemies. But the most interesting aspect of those books, with their thoughts about other characters, is a section about ‘’ Objects of their desires’’, featuring pendants, earrings, broch and other items belonging to well-known villains… and each one of those objects represents something.
Though they are mentioned in the seventh installment of the series, they actually don’t appear in Evil Thing: A Tale of That De Vil Woman. Why is that? Simply for storytelling purposes. Indeed, this book is none other than Cruella De Vil's memoir and is taking place in London, in our world. No magic ( or at least not that much) no fairies and definitely no witches there. It would have felt weird to have the odd sisters storming into Cruella’s life to corrupt her when this is taking place in a different timeline and part of the series’ universe, therefore Valentino managed to connect them to this story in a brilliant way without forcing it. And fear not adoring readers. They will be back to play a small role in the lives of Lady Tremaine and her daughters in Book 8 entitled Cold Hearted, to hit the shelves in July 2021.
I hope you've enjoyed this article! Please feel free to comment on your feelings about the possibility of more books dedicated to Serena Valentino's characters. You can find a review of The Odd Sisters: A Tale of Three Sister Witches in the Tales Retelling section of Bookworm Reviews.