Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

Publication Date: October 8, 2019

Summary from NetGalley:

From New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes a captivating original novel set between Disney’s Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, in which newly-queened Aurora struggles to be the best leader to both the humans and Fair Folk under her reign; her beau, Prince Phillip, longs to get to know Aurora and her kingdom better; and Maleficent has trouble letting go of the past.

ARC provided by Disney Book Group via NetGalley for an honest review.


Well that summary certainly doesn’t tell you much does it? But I bet many of you will be wanting to read this just because it is Holly Black. I know that is why I picked this one up, even though I have never seen the movie that it is based on. (I thought I had, but it turns out nope.) I did like this story, but I think it would have been better if I had seen the movie. I might have understood the characters a bit better and perhaps the plot would have been smoother for me.

The story is mostly told through Aurora and Maleficent’s point of view, although there are others telling parts here and there. I really liked Aurora, she is sweet and kind and really wants to do right by her kingdom, but she is a bit over her head. But I give her credit that when an issue comes up she wants to know all sides of the story. She is caught though between her two worlds which makes things that much harder for her.

Maleficent was an interesting character. She wasn’t super evil, but she wasn’t quite on the good side either. She wants Aurora to succeed and to unite the kingdoms, for the most part, but I also think she doesn’t want her to succeed. She does some evil stuff, but when asked will undo what she can. I loved the fact that she kept changing people who got in her way or annoyed her into animals. Wouldn’t that be a nice trick to have.

Prince Phillip was okay, but I wasn’t sure he was right for Aurora. Although he does prove himself in the end. Maybe his character was more developed in the movie, but he was just sort of there in this book. He was a good friend to Aurora though, so he got points for that. The romance was a bit lukewarm but this is for middle grades, so I guess that is okay.

There were some characters who ended up more evil than Maleficent, but I don’t want to spoil anything by saying who, although they are pretty easy to guess. One I wasn’t so sure about till the end though. The plot moves quickly and was entertaining. But again many things that happened in the movie were mentioned and seemed somewhat important to this plot, so it was hard to understand parts. But it is still a good story and of course well told.

Fans of the Maleficent movie will probably adore this book and fall in love with it. It has certainly made me more interested in seeing the movie. It can be read by those of us who haven’t seen it, but are Holly Black fans, but you might feel like something is missing like I did.

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