Is Disney's New Book Series Just a Way Grittier Version of Descendants?

Maleficent’s shadow lingers in the cover for City of Villains.
Maleficent’s shadow lingers in the cover for City of Villains.
Image: Disney-Hyperion

Crime, poverty, gentrification...Captain Hook? The latest Disney YA book series puts the mouse’s spin on Batman’s Gotham—which basically makes it The Descendants. Only, you know, with more crimes.

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Hypable unveiled the first look at City of Villains, a new YA series from Estelle Laure that turns the Magical World of Disney into a gritty crime drama. It’s about an embittered teenage investigator named Mary Heart working to find the kidnapped daughter of a powerful businessman. This leads her into the seedy underbelly of the Scar, the former epicenter of magic that’s now at risk of gentrification, where she meets several of Disney’s classic villains as teenagers. Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

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“Everything about this series is unique for Disney,” Laure said in the interview. “It features familiar characters as well as some brand new ones, and it’s darker and moodier...There’s something so magical about seeing familiar characters like Maleficent and Ursula as teenagers with teen problems and issues, who are also dealing with magic and the problems it causes.”

Here’s a look at the cover, as revealed by Hypable.

The full cover for City of Villains.
The full cover for City of Villains.
Image: Disney-Hyperion

In addition, here’s the plot synopsis.

Mary Elizabeth Heart is a high school senior by day, but by night she’s an intern at the Monarch City police department. She watches with envy from behind a desk as detectives come and go, trying to contain the city’s growing crime rate. For years, tension has simmered between the city’s wealthy elite, and their plans to gentrify the decaying neighborhood called the Scar—once upon a time the epicenter of all things magic.

When the daughter of one of the city’s most powerful businessmen goes missing, Mary Elizabeth is thrilled when the Chief actually puts her on the case. But what begins as one missing person’s report soon multiplies, leading her down the rabbit hole of a city in turmoil. There she finds a girl with horns, a boyfriend with secrets, and what seems to be a sea monster lurking in a poison lake. As the mystery circles closer to home, Mary finds herself caught in the fight between those who once had magic, and those who will do anything to bring it back.

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City of Villains is set to launch with its first book in February 2021. In the meantime, there’s always Fables.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

alliterator85
alliterator

Ursula as a teenage girl, you say?

This book looks interesting, too, so I might check it out.