The Odd Sisters: A Tale of the Three Witches by Serena Valentino

The Odd Sisters is the latest addition to the Disney Villains collection written by Serena Valentino. In truth I read this as soon as it came out but I have been so slow with my reviews that I am now looking forward to the next instalment this summer which focuses on the formidable Cruella De Vil.

As you may expect, the Odd Sisters focuses on the three witches whom we have come to recognise from every novel in the villain’s collection. When we left the sisters, they were trapped in the dreamscape; punished by Circe for the roles they had played in creating and revelling in the misfortune of others. This novel leads directly on from ‘Mother Knows Best’, with Circe scouring journals alongside Snow, revealing more and more of the story behind the sisters and their madness.

This is the one review of Serena’s novels that I have really struggled to write. Not because the book is not good! The story itself ties up all the loose ends from ‘Mother Knows Best’ but still leaves room for character development in the form of Tulip and Popinjay who have embarked upon their own adventure: I am sure it is not the last we will hear from them.

My struggles lie in not spoiling the story for a potential reader. This is one story which you just have to experience and read in the correct order! There is an established order for a reason people! Serena Valentino does not write and release these books on a whim- you must pay attention!

A unique characteristic of this novel is the addition of illustrations. The cover art for every book in the villain tales series is obviously iconic, yet, this is the first book which has included internal illustrations. These illustrations are beautiful as standalone drawings but they also bring a level of humanity to the Odd Sisters: quite apt, as this is the story which explains how they came to be so inhuman in their behaviour and values.

The inclusion of illustrations also allows the seamless addition of the sisters’ journal which eager readers have fallen on and devoured for clues of future villain tales. Later Serena Valentino herself (@blackbirdpirate) would reveal on Instagram that one fan had deduced these clues perfectly, leading us to expect upcoming tales from the likes of Lady Tremaine, Hades and the Shadowman.

‘The Odd Sisters’, although obviously centering around the three witches, seems to bend to Snow White as the main character in the tale. Snow’s journey concludes in this novel, finally allowing her to end her-frankly unhealthy- relationship with her stepmother. It also transpires that the odd sisters’ journey into madness began with Snow…but you will have to read the book to find out how.

Despite being significantly different from the previous villain tales, Valentino continues to keep us gripped with this almost cathartic novel. In tying up the loose ends such as the significance of the teacups (that has been bugging me for ages!), Valentino is able to build suspense in Circe’s journey and focus on dropping teasers for where the books will lead next. I for one, cannot wait to find out.

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