"There's no place like home. Especially if home is the infamous Isle of the Lost. Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay haven't exactly turned their villainous noses up at the comforts of Auradon after spending their childhoods banished on the Isle. After all, meeting princes and starring on the Tourney team aren’t nearly as terrible as Mal and her friends once thought they would be.
But when they receive a mysterious invitation to return to the Isle, Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay can't help feeling comfortable in their old hood—and their old ways. Not everything is how they left it, though, and when they discover a dark mystery at the Isle's core, they'll have to combine all of their talents in order to save the kingdom."
Since the coronation, the lives of Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos have never been better; being good has its perks. However, they all soon receive messages that tell them to return home before the new moon. Adding onto the strangeness, Evie's mirror cannot find any of their parents; except for Maleficent, still trapped as a lizard and being held prisoner under the spell jar. At the same time, Auradon has been plagued with unusual weather and a series of earthquakes. Carlos soon tracks his message back to the Dark Net, a website set up by the villains after the hole in the barrier was made; he finds a link to a page advertising the Anti-Heroes club, which has a picture of them with red "x"s on their faces - the entire island now sees them as traitors. The quartet resolve to head back to the island to uncover the Anti-Heroes club, which is holding a meeting at the Castle Across the Way at 12:00 P.M Sunday.
At the same time, King Ben has been left in charge of Auradon, while his parents are away on a vacation cruise. He learns of a monster attacking Camelot Heights, but refuses to grant Merlin permission to use magic to capture the creature; instead, Ben decides to go see the situation himself, and then decide whether magic is needed to help resolve the problem. Staking out the next possible attack site, Ben finds that a purple dragon is the perpetrator. However, he cannot be certain that it's Maleficent, somehow able to pretend that she's still captured and under surveillance. He finds a scale belonging to it, deciding the fairies of Neverland may be able to tell him more. Ben returns for Castlecoming, finding Mal and Evie disguised as Audrey and Lonnie, to avoid suspicion, and Jay and Carlos disguised as their driver and bodyguard; they managed to swipe the limo with the remote to open the barrier. After learning about the oddness on the island, Ben allows them to leave.
Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos get to the island no problem, but end up crashing and losing the remote. They are met with hostility by the islanders, due to their new hero status; they also learn that many goblins have been put out of work due to Auradon tightening up security on the barges bringing supplies to island. Investigating their homes, the quartet learn that their parents are not around, and that Maleficent's home has been ransacked. They meet one of Mal's old friend, Mad Maddy, who tells them that the island now considers Mal the new leader as she beat her mother; for this reason, they left Mal's room untouched. Adding onto the suspicion is that Iago was left behind and the overnight bags of Evil Queen and Cruella were missing.
As midnight drew, the quartet spy on the Castle Across the Way, following the members of the Anti-Heroes club into the basement. To their surprise, the club is actually teaching its members how to be good, and is lead by none other than Yen Sid. Yen Sid explains that he used Freddie to contact them because of their parents' disappearances, which had coincided with the unusual weather in Auradon. This was due to the magic kept off the island by the barrier being pushed underground, where Maleficent's escape sparked a chain reaction. Evil itself had begun creating new talismans for the villains, and crafted a path to Auradon. Hearing the siren call of their former powers, Jafar, Cruella, and Evil Queen went in search of them; however, they've ended up lost the catacombs housing the talismans.
Mal follows Maddy, a member of the group, since she's acting odd; Evie shadows both of them. Lead to Doom Cove, Mal is attacked by Maddy's posse - Anthony Tremaine, Ginny Gothel, and the Gaston twins - as revenge for putting lye in Maddy's hair; Mal and Maddy were called twins when they were younger, and Mal didn't like that. Maddy and Ginny push Mal into the waters, but are ultimately foiled by Evie, Jay, and Carlos, who save Mal from drowning and distract Tick Tock Croc's offspring. Realizing that the crocodiles wouldn't be at Doom Cove, the quartet deduce that the cavern entrance is hidden there; the crocodiles are likely guarding it.
Back in Auradon, Ben learns of a purple cobra that attacked Cinderellasburg and ate some livestock. Finding another scale, he takes it and the previous one to Neverland, where the fairies have no luck in finding out where the scales came from, but have concluded that they are dealing with a shape-shifter. As Prince Phillip's sword was wiped clean of Maleficent's blood after the battle, they have no record of her DNA; thus she remains a suspect in the crimes. Ben decides to have a sample of Maleficent's DNA sent to Neverland, to clear her of the accusations. The fairies also inform Ben that more purple scales were founded in a mine that the dwarfs were forced to abandon recently, due to not being able to shake the feeling of an ominous presence. Ben decides to head there and investigate with Merlin, who he grants permission to use magic.
Back on he Isle of the Lost, after a night's sleep, Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos head back to Doom Cove and dig out the entrance to the cavern, finding themselves in a bizarre underworld. They find Evie's talisman first, the Fruit of Venom; enticed by how luscious it looks, Evie bites it and has a dream that tries making her believe her friends betrayed her and left. However, she sees through the deception and breaks the poison's hold on her mind. Jay next seeks out the Golden Cobra, which tries to entice him into abandoning his friends and using it to get whatever his heart desires; however, unlike Jafar, Jay isn't greedy and reduces the cobra to a walking stick. Carlos is next forced to face his greatest fear when looking for the Ring of Envy, which is an illusion of his mother Cruella De Vil; though he snatches the ring from her, he refuses to be swayed by the illusion's attempt to goad him into using the ring to control her. Mal has trouble finding the Dragon's Egg, which would replace her mother's scepter; believing it's because she's viewed as weak by it, she shoos away her friends. She finds it, not being enticed at all by its power, being mentally told that a dragon needs to lay on the egg to hatch its powers. However, Mal nearly falls to her death, but is saved by her friends.
As the cavern begins collapsing, with its purposed served, the quartet follow the path out into the dwarf mine, where Mal happily reunites with Ben. It's at that time they meet the culprit behind the attacks - Madame Mim, Mad Maddy's grandmother. Jay, Evie, and Carlos consider stopping Mim with the talismans, but Mal tells them that they would be possessed by the talismans' evil even if they used the powers for a good cause. Ben manages to stun Mim by stabbing her with Excalibur. Merlin seals the cavern and sends Mim back to the isle. With another spell, he sends everyone back to where they belong.
Recuperating from the events, Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos are wondering how to destroy the talismans; they considered Merlin, the Three Good Fairies, and Neverland as ideas. However, Ben instead suggests that they ask Fairy Godmother how to destroy the talismans, but she's currently away for Cinderella's ball. Evie decides to check on their parents again, finding Cruella and Evil Queen back to their usual routines. Mal speculates that they were hiding in the dwarf mine and were sent back to the Isle of the Lost by Merlin's magic. However, when they see Jafar, things are looking grim, as a goblin found the remote to the barrier and is having Jafar inspect it. Luckily, the device is broken thanks to the crash; however, it's only a matter of time till it gets repaired. Mal tells her friends not worry as they are "the villains you route for in the story".
- The council meeting about the dragon in Camelot that Ben attends only has Doc, Genie, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather in attendance. The rest of the councilors are busy.
- It's likely some kind of allowance system was established for the VK integration program, as in the first chapter Carlos is mentioned in, it's stated that he ordered a game.
- The game Carlos orders is called Crown of Duty, a pun on the real life game Call of Duty.
- With the exception of Jay and Freddie, the VKs are confirmed to be in relationships. Mal is still with Ben; Evie is confirmed to be Doug's girlfriend; Carlos is revealed to like Jane.
- As Freddie Facilier, Ally, and Jordan appear in the story, this takes place during Wicked World.
- Ben has two crowns, one for important business and one for everyday use. He keeps them in his locker, which is safe to do as there isn't even petty theft in Auradon.
- Wicked World implies that at school, Ben sometimes goes without it.
- Aside from the Auradon Knights and Sherwood Falcons, the Lost Boys and demi-gods are confirmed Tourney teams for Neverland and Mount Olympus. It's also mentioned that Tiger Lily coaches the Lost Boys, while Imperial Academy has a team coached by Li Shang, and is quite hard to beat.
- Yen Sid implies tourney is not broadcasted on the Auradon News Network; he had to ask what team was winning from Carlos.
- It's possible the anti-aging magic of Neverland was also canceled.
- After the defeat of Maleficent, many other VKs saw good wins over evil. Yen Sid founded the Anti-Heroes Club, which consists of Yzla, Hadie, Diego de Vil, Claudine Frollo, Harry, Jace, Big Murph, Eddie Balthazar, Hermie Bing, and Mad Maddy.
- However, Maddy was a double agent, with her own group of pro-evildoers consisting of Anthony Tremaine, Ginny Gothel, Gaston Jr., and Gaston III.
- Disney sequels are confirmed to not be counted in the Descendants universe.
- The proof is that Anastasia Tremaine is on the island, despite reforming in the sequels. She is also confirmed to be Anthony's mother.
- Many readers believed Iago being on the Isle of the Lost was an oversight in the previous book, due to the Aladdin trilogy, which had him switch sides from evil to good/neutral.
- Given this fact, it's possible the protagonist's children shown in those sequels (such as Melody and Kiara) may not exist in the Descendants universe and possibly replaced with other children.
- However, it's possible that they may still exist, but never had their adventures.
- As a result of the barrier breaking briefly, a cavern has appeared on the island, which leads back to Auradon. It also generates talismans to replace the ones confiscated from the four villains.
- The Fruit of Venom, the Golden Cobra, the Ring of Envy and the Dragon's Egg, all of which are recovered by Evie, Jay, Carlos, and Mal before the Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella.
- The talismans can be rendered harmless if the one who takes it comes from the original owner's bloodline and has the opposite trait (Evie had faith in friendship; Jay was satisfied with small comforts; Carlos did not wish harm on anyone; Mal had Ben and her friends)
- There is a second school on the island for witches (which Carlos thought was dumb as there's no magic).
- The Queen of Hearts runs a salon on the island. Cruella is known to have frequented it.
- Carlos knows how to drive. Also, his middle name is Oscar.
- How Mal, Carlos, and Evie react to the Isle of the Lost's food after experiencing Auradon's varies. Carlos and Evie find it disgusting, while Mal still enjoys stale pudding.
- After living in Auradon for so long, Evie and Carlos find their old homes too dirty to live in.
- It's revealed that the VKs left some of their belongings on the Isle of the Lost as they originally didn't plan on staying in Auradon. Mal and Jay were confirmed to still have some clothes in their respective homes, which were lent to Evie and Carlos for sleepwear.
- Yen Sid bribed some mice and goblins to get a cake out of Auradon to celebrate the return of Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos.
- Mal learns that everyone on the island fears her now, as she defeated her mother.
- Camelot refuses to accept many modern conveniences.
- New characters are introduced:
- Artie, King Arthur's son.
- Eddie Balthazar, Edgar Balthazar's son.
- Gordon, Grumpy's son.
- Hadie, Hades' son.
- Herkie, Hercules' son.
- Hermie Bing, Ringmaster's daughter.
- Faylinn Chime, a fairy of Neverland.
- Mad Maddy, Madam Mim's granddaughter.
- Offspring of Tick-Tock the Crocodile
- Pin, Pinocchio's son.
- Tiger Peony, Tiger Lily's daughter.