This is a series of books that explores the Disney-verse. Since it has the brand name stamped all over it, it seems likely to be considered a proper part of canon too. If you want more time with your childhood favorites, this is just about the only game in town.
Plot: Hercules is a god now! Horray! Only this means that he and Meg now live on two different planes, but Hera wants nothing but the best for Herc, so she challenges Meg to complete a series of tasks to prove herself worthy of becoming a god too. For Meg, the cherry on that cake is spending time with Hercules, but the real motivator is never having to suffer the poverty of her youth. Determined to prove herself worthy, she sets out to solve each of these tasks herself, only to realize that even gods need help. Shenanigans ensue.
This book tries really, really hard to capture the magic of the movie. A movie which makes little sense if you think about it for even a second but that is so overwhelmingly charming that you can’t help but love it anyway. This has a lot to do with the performances of the voice actors and the talent of the animators. Calonita does not have either advantage and it shows. This is not to say that she isn’t a capable writer – she matches the tone and pace of the movie well and is generally true to the characters. Yes, nearly insurmountable obstacles are often solved very quickly or through unimaginable luck, but frankly that’s not far from how issues are typically resolved in Disney movies, so it seems unfair to critique Calonita for remaining consistent. Especiall since Disney put their stamp on her books, that no doubt means they got to vet it, which also no doubt means that she did not have full creative freedom by a long shot.
Still, it was a fun enough read and a nice extension of the Hercules story. We got much more texture to Meg as a character, and a lot of favourites come back too, including Phil and Hades. Hercules spends little time in this book because for once the story isn’t really about the romance, but rather that being happier with another person requires addressing certain personal mental blocks that make one a happier person more generally. Not bad for what is ostensibly a straight to VHS sequel. To that end, I strongly recommend the audiobook if you’re going to do it. The dialogue might get a touch grating otherwise (this is the sense I get from goodreads reviews).