I love Disney villains and I absolutely adore The Princess and the Frog so the fact that a book existed focused on the villain from that particular movie made me almost giddy. I had never heard of the Disney Chills series, but when I saw Fiends on the Other Side shown in an Ordinary Adventures video on YouTube I was immediately interested. If you are unfamiliar with their site I did do a brief article that featured them, but they are most commonly known for Galaxy’s Edge content with the current pandemic leading to more videos focused on Downtown Disney and the open elements of the California theme parks. I happened to win this book in a giveaway and since it is a pretty short book, it is designed for young readers, I was able to finish it with ease even in the midst of other projects. Before I get into the review I would like to thank Peter and Kitra of Ordinary Adventures for picking me as the winner of this book in their October Unboxing giveaway. Without them I wouldn’t be a writing this article.
Jamal and his brother Malik are twelve years old and identical twins. While they look the same, Jamal always feels like he is living in the shadow of his brother. He never seems to get called on in class and his slightly older, just minutes really, brother seems to always have to save him from bullies. When he is given a gift from his grandmother’s estate, Jamal is a bit annoyed that his gift is an odd skull necklace, while Malik receives a trumpet. This necklace though periodically seems to glow and the message with it mentions protecting Jamal from shadows. Cue The Shadow Man, or Dr. Facilier, who insists that Jamal’s necklace belongs to him. He offers a trade, as he is known to do, and what happens is not what Jamal thought he asked for. When he wakes up the morning after his brush with Facilier his parents and almost everyone else seems to have forgotten Malik ever existed. The only person who seems to know he had a twin is a new girl named Riley, who might have someone who can help them fix this wish gone wrong.
Fiends on the Other Side reminded me a bit of a Goosebumps story with the idea of a wish being distorted. This we know is a common thing for Dr. Facilier, but in this story his shadows and dolls that do his bidding are even more active than in the movie. The ending also caught me a bit by surprise, when you think Disney you imagine a happily ever after, but this story doesn’t really give you that. It does give you a solid ending though with a very definite caveat on who you should trust with your wishes. If you are trying to find something a young Disney fan will enjoy reading or even just want a quick little read that you can flip through as an adult this one is a fun one. I liked getting some more information about the history of Dr. Facilier and how he came to be the man he is mixed in with the story focused on Jamal. You can get your copy of Disney Chills: Fiends on the Other Side today.