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This book was so close to being really, really good. But that ending...
I'll start off by saying I haven't read the first three books in the series. I didn't realize it was a series meant to be read chronologically (figured they were standalone stories within a larger series) when I requested the only audiobooks my library had (Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy and this one). However, I think having read the previous book helped within the flow of this one (minor references to dragon queen and such).
This book started off so good. I hated book 4 because there wasn't all that much about Maleficent. This one, however, focused on Gothel the majority of the time. I'm not sure if my expectations were so much lower after the mess that was the fourth book, but I found myself really engaged in Gothel's backstory. Yes, it's a bit drawn out and could have been condensed. Yes, those dreaded Odd Sisters appear to the irritation of the reader. Yes, there are some things that don't quite fit with the movie (scene where soldiers find the flower). But overall, I found it satisfying.
Then I got to the last disc. Are you freaking kidding me, Valentino? Who put you up to this? Your book was headed right for 4 stars then I popped in that last disc and had to listen to a narration of the majority of the Tangled film complete with verbatim dialogue. I have seen the Tangled movie. I have seen it multiple times and have watched the same clips over and over again because there is nothing quite like the hell of a child requesting YouTube videos. I didn't need to sit through all of that again when I was trying to enjoy a perfectly good book. I understand that the story met up with the "present", which coincided with the movie, but personally I think it should have ended there. Don't just spoon feed your readers. Let them really take in the horror and tragedy of Gothel's end without shoving it in their faces. This book would have been so much better if it had just been a prequel to the movie. The ending left me infuriated because it was so irritating and unsatisfying to just hear a less-than-exciting rendition of the film without the singing. It was definitely a 2 star, possibly a 1 star, ending.
I finished this yesterday and decided to give myself some time to cool off before writing my review, but honestly, I'm still kind of mad that such a promising book had such a boring, lackluster ending. I don't think it would be fair to rate it solely on the ending, so I met in the middle and gave it 3 stars, but I wish this book had ended before the last disc. It was already too drawn out, but the recreation of the film that most readers have probably already seen at least once really put it over the top.
I'd like to go back and read the first three books in the series, because I really want to like it, but so far, the two books I've read have been a bit of a disappointment. This one is so much better than the fourth book though and, minus the ending, I enjoyed learning about Gothel's life before the whole Rapunzel thing.