Jen Calonita has a way of taking beloved Disney films like Hercules and Tangled and breathing new life into the lore and legends that make them so magical. In Lost Legends: The Rise of Flynn Rider she crafts a unique and compelling backstory for Eugene Fitzherbert, introducing us to him when he is only twelve years old and raring for adventure.
Lost Legends: The Rise of Flynn Rider is a Rollicking Good Time With a Lot of Heart
Tangled fans have always known that Eugene got his start as an orphan, but Lost Legends provides vital information about who his parents were. But who would have thought that a thief like Flynn Rider had been born in the dark kingdom? Even at the age of twelve, he is full of mischief, daring, and a thirst for adventure, as influenced by the Flynnigan Rider novels he was brought to the orphanage with.
Not only is Lost Legends: The Rise of Flynn Rider a fast-paced and thrilling adventure tale, it is filled with clever allusions to the much bigger adventure that Flynn is destined for. In fact, he and his accomplice and best friend Arnie (a.k.a Lance Strongbow) find themselves caught up in the search for a missing princess. Yes, that princess. Calonita even finds a way to bring the Snuggly Duckling into play in such a fun way, interweaving the comical characters we see years later into Flynn’s present-day mischief.
There are also shades of Robin Hood infused into Eugene’s imaginary alter-ego. When the tax man threatens Miss Clare, who runs the orphanage, Flynn imagines a world where he and Arnie rob from the rich and give to the poor. Which does ultimately come to fruition in a round-about way. The duo decides to leave the orphanage behind to join a traveling circus, which brings them the chance for a life of excitement and riches, but it also brings them a lot of trouble too.
As much fun as the story is, Calonita has ensured that Flynn isn’t just a shallow twelve-year-old on an adventure. He is shockingly relatable and I have no doubt that any child reading the book will see themselves in his dreams and aspirations. We get to see him exploring who he is as a person, learn about friendship and love, and it proves that underneath all of that bravado and smolder is the kind-hearted man that was willing to die for Rapunzel at the end of Tangled.
All of the Lost Legends books are fantastic reads, but there is something about how Jen Calonita approaches her stories that makes them so much fun to experience. The Rise of Flynn Rider is one for the history books.
Lost Legends: The Rise of Flynn Rider is on sale now.
Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Entertainment at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery. She is also a freelance writer and News Editor at Collider. She has had bylines at Inverse, Polygon, and Dorkside of the Force. She is also a member of the Hollywood Critics Association.
When she is not covering entertainment news, she can be found on one of her numerous podcasts or on her YouTube channel. In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.