Review: Cold Hearted by Serena Valentino

Series: Villains #8
Author: Serena Valentino
Publisher: Disney Press
Released: July 6, 2021
Received: NetGalley

3 kitties

Cold Hearted, written by Serena Valentino, is the eighth novel in her Villains series. As you might be able to guess from the cover, this is a series that takes the stories of Disney villains and twists their tale into something else.

Serena Valentino has covered many of the classic villains by this point, including Ursula, Maleficent, Mother Gothel, and more. While this latest is meant to be an installment in the series, it can be read as a standalone for the eager Cinderella fans in the audience (just be aware that some minor plot points might not make sense).

Part of what made Cinderella’s story so famous is how her stepmother and her stepsisters treated her. But what if the classic fairytale story didn’t actually tell the whole story? Or the truth, for that matter.

Lady Tremaine is a widow and a woman who desperately wished that her heart was made of ice. That way, she would no longer feel the pain that came with the loss of her husband. And yet, quite suddenly, a magical story appeared around her.

“I can’t go flying here and there just because Cinderella is worried about her stepsisters.”

Okay, so usually, I adore this series, as well as the core premise behind it. In addition, I love retellings focusing on the villain, as in many instances, I feel like it gives those characters more agency than they are typically granted.

It didn’t feel that way this time around. If anything, Lady Tremaine’s true story is all the more heartbreaking and upsetting because it feels like everything is happening to her, with her merely reacting after the fact.

It was disappointing, as much as I hate to admit it. I was really looking forward to seeing how Lady Tremaine’s story would be twisted around to fit this new narrative. Additionally, I’ll admit more than a passing curiosity for how Lucifer would have gained his name in this context.

On the bright side, while I didn’t love this particular addition, it has done nothing to diminish my love for the rest! I am very much looking ward to seeing what the next Villains novel has to bring with it.

While this was not my favorite novel in the series (go read Beast, if you’re hoping for that!), I will admit that it did have plenty of exciting elements to keep me reading. And it has made me all the more curious to see what Serena Valentino’s long-term goal is here.

Thanks to Disney Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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