Tread lightly to the Lost Lagoon, holding treasures vast, untold.
The first part takes place one week after the ending of the film, Tangled, and the second part six months later, after Tangled: Before Ever After. The book starts with Rapunzel being introduced to Cassandra, her handmaiden (who plays an important role in Tangled: The Series). Rapunzel and Cassandra alternate being first-person narrators throughout the book.
The plot kicks off when Rapunzel finds an ancient book, "The Lost Lagoon", in the library. It speaks of an ancient, secret lagoon that might be filled with precious gems. With Cassandra's knowledge of the geography of Corona, Rapunzel and she soon find the lagoon and some blue gems in it, but can't figure out anything special about the gems or how they "work".
Time skip to six months later; in the meantime the events of Tangled Before Ever After happen, like Rapunzel getting back her long magical hair after touching the black rocks. Rapunzel and Cassandra now decide to ask the knowledgeable Xavier for information about Corona's history, before going back to the lagoon to further investigate.
In the meantime, Rapunzel is also very busy with her duties as a princess, especially with a big festival in Corona coming up soon, where she will meet many new people, including someone who is also interested in finding the lost lagoon.
This book provides examples of:
- Adaptational Jerkass: Half of the chapters give Cassandra a First-Person Perspective as a narrator, so we know her thoughts about everyone in the castle and Cassandra is not impressed by anyone there. The book shows that having Rapunzel as her First Friend is slowly but surely making Cassandra emotionally unstable, something that was way more subdued in the series. If you have read the book before seeing The Reveal at the end of "Destinies Collide", Cassandra's betrayal would have seemed less like a shocking Wham Episode and more like a logical conclusion to Cassandra's character development.
- Adult Child: Cassandra finds Rapunzel incredibly naive, and not acting her age, even before she meets her in person.Could the princess, who was no longer a little girl despite the way everyone was acting, really be so naive?
- Affectionate Nickname: Eugene nicknames Rapunzel "Sunshine" in this book. Fitting, as she literally has a sundrop in her.
- All There in the Manual:
Moments later, my father had embraced me with tears in his eyes. It was the first time I'd seen my father cry.
- Friedborg is revealed to be Queen Arianna's Lady-in-Waiting.
- The Stoic: Cassandra reveals that her father, the Captain of the Guard, rarely shows emotions.
Friends are stupid. That's why I never had any.
- Friendless Background: In Chapter 6, Eugene asks Cassandra if she has any friends in the castle, and she answers that she doesn't have any and she doesn't need them. In chapter 31, because Cassandra believes Rapunzel has given her frienship bracelet to Rapunzel's new friend Dahlia, Cassandra thinks:
- Queen Ariana is revealed to be able to see Beneath the Mask and to be a Secret Secret-Keeper: she has long known that Rapunzel is helping Cassandra to train to be a Royal Guard (Rapunzel's royal arrangements don't exactly look like the result of a careful study), but she didn't say anything to anyone else.
- Bad Liar: When Cassandra realises Rapunzel told Eugene of the black rocks, Eugene tries to deny this, but Cassandra sees he's lying. Downplayed in that Cassandra, as an aspiring guard, is trained in detecting lying.
- Beneath Notice: Cassandra continually tries invokes this trope to fail miserably:
- When Rapunzel discovers Cassandra training instead of doing her chores, Cassandra quickly retires, making Rapunzel curious about that Strong, Fast and Mysterious Girl. Also, Friedborg discovers Cassandra has not done her afternoon duties and denounces her to the Captain of the Guard.
- When Rapunzel insists Cassandra sits next to her during a dinner, Cassandra tries to resist until she realizes that any more resisting would draw attention to herself, so she concedes.
- At the dinner, Cassandra tries to slip into the dinning room unnoticed, only to be noticed by Queen Arianna.
- When Cassandra tries to be The Runaway, she expects that her absence will not be discovered until next day. She is discovered in just a few hours and everyone is very worried about her.
- Book Worm: Rapunzel really likes books and reading and goes all Squee! when Eugene shows her the library. She takes a big pile of books with her.
- Chekhov's Skill: Cassandra and Rapunzel are practicing to master a martial arts move called the Winged Monster, because Cassandra needs the skill to get into the royal guards. At the end however, they use the move to defeat the person who's threatening them in order to find the Lost Lagoon.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Ms. Tasha, the matchmaker that Rapunzel hires, uses some methods which are considered strange by the other characters, such as aura reading. Cassandra even outright calls her a "loon".
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Before meeting Rapunzel, Cassandra despises her because she thinks Rapunzel is an Adult Child Spanner in the Works, and she tries to evade her for a week. Rapunzel sees Cassandra as a mysterious girl and wants to know more about her. When they meet, Cassandra realizes the Princess is a Fish out of Water, a Stepford Smiler and Oblivious to Hints that Cassandra does NOT want to be her friend. When Cassandra is appointed the Princess' new Lady-in-Waiting, she realizes it's now her task to keep the naive princess out of trouble.
- Color Motifs: The chapter titles, page numbers and some small illustrations are in purple ink, standing out from the rest of the text which is just in black. Purple is strongly associated with Rapunzel, as her signature dress is that color, because Graceful Ladies Like Purple. Ms. Tasha even says Rapunzel's aura is purple.
- Continuity Nod: Some things that happened in the movie are mentioned:
- Rapunzel recalls that she hit Eugene on the head with a frying pan when she met him.
- Rapunzel again remarks that she only used to read three books: one about cooking, one about geology, one about botany.
- In the movie, Rapunzel and Flynn are trapped in a cave filling with water and only escape thanks to Rapunzel's magic hair lighting the cave. When Rapunzel tries to teach Cassandra how to swim in the book, Cassandra asks Rapunzel how she knows how to swim if she lived all her life in a tower as a prisoner; Rapunzel answers:
- In the movie, "Flynn Ryder" was revealed to be a name from a book that Eugene took on. Now, Rapunzel actually finds and reads this book.
- Cassandra notes that Eugene is trying to use "the smolder" on her to convince her to tell something, but like when he tried it on Rapunzel, it's a No-Sell.
- Demoted to Extra:
- Pascal plays a much smaller role than in the movie.
- Maximus is only mentioned in passing.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Like in the film and series, Rapunzel hates wearing shoes, and one of the first things she does in the story is to kick them off.
- First-Person Perspective: The book is written in the first person, with Rapunzel and Cassandra alternating as narrators.
- Fish out of Water: Rapunzel has a hard time adjusting to the court and learning "royal behavior".
- Malaproper: Being alone in a tower by 18 years have left Rapunzel without any exposure to common idioms, and she is overwhelmed when someone mentions idioms that everyone except her knows.
- Innocently Insensitive: Rapunzel fears she is this trope when she asks something to Friedborg and she doesn't answer her (At the series, Friedborg is The Voiceless).
- Foreshadowing: Intentional or not, some of the book ends up becoming symbolic foreshadowing for the events of the show's final arc; the events of the ending appear to parallel how Cassandra and Raps have a falling out, but then join forces again to defeat Zhan Tiri. The line "When opposites come together in the name of love and goodness despite their differences, they manifest the ultimate power", written by Herz der Sonne and discovered by the two in the book's ending, is just as applicable to the finale as it is to the events in the novel. The book might well be the most convincing evidence that the showrunners actually did plan that story arc from the very beginning (or at least Threw It In after the fact).
- Friend Versus Lover: Eugene (Rapunzel's boyfriend) and Cassandra (Rapunzel's best friend) are jealous of each other, and competitive, regarding who Rapunzel spends more time with, and who knows best what's best for Rapunzel.
- Hey, You!: Cassandra despises Rapunzel for being a Spanner in the Works, so she avoids her as long as she can and refers to her just as that girl even when Cassandra knows Rapunzel name very well.Captain of the guard, Cassandra's father: Well, "that girl" is the princess of Corona.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Having just gotten out of her tower for the first time in 18 years, Rapunzel longs for friends. She soon becomes friends with Cassandra. Later, when she's trying to become friends with Dahlia as well and this causes friction with Cassandra, she literally says to Cassandra "I just want to have friends".
- Lady-in-Waiting: The appointing of Cassandra as Rapunzel Lady-in-Waiting kicks off the plot, and this trope is discussed when Princess Rapunzel quotes a book about the duties of a Lady-in-Waiting to a reluctant Cassandra.
- Lessons in Sophistication: Rapunzel's parents make her take lessons in "acting royal" and having good manners; she needs this because she spent the first 18 years of her life locked up in a tower. Eugene is versed in the court's ways too, though in his case it isn't because of lack of life experience, but because he was a thief.
- Loyal Animal Companion:
- Pascal is always by Rapunzel's side, and much loved by her.
- Cassandra has a scouting Owl, which also is a beloved pet of hers.Cassandra: [About Owl] Here was a friend: steady, true, and loyal.
- No Social Skills: Deconstructed with the relationship with Cassandra and Rapunzel. Cassandra secretly despises Rapunzel for being a Spanner in the Works and openly despises Eugene for his past as a thief, so she drops certain clues to Rapunzel and Eugene that Cassandra isn't interested in being their friend, but given than Rapunzel had been an unwitting prisoner for 18 years, she is Oblivious to Hints and continues to be friendly with Cassandra, while Eugene really gets all the clues and begins to be confrontational to her.
- Reality Ensues: At the end of the movie, Rapunzel was reunited with her birth parents, accepted her role as princess, and got together with Eugene. All of that only sounds like a pure happy ending, but this book starts with her hating the "lessons in royal behaviour" she has to follow now, and feeling awkward towards her newfound parents even though she loves them, because she never knew them.
- A lot of the tension in the book comes from Rapunzel not understanding her role as a princess. She invites people to her room even though that is forbidden, just because after 18 years of being an unwitting prisoner in a Tower, she just wants to have friends.
- Cassandra skips her duties to train to become a Royal Guard. This is noticed immediately and Friedborg reports it to Cassandra's father.
- Scullery Maid: Invoked by Cassandra, who sees the work she does in the Castle as the equivalent of the modern Burger Fool. Its obvious to the reader that this job does not involve Cinderella Circumstances, but Cassandra being a Tomboy is only taking this job as Waiting for a Break to enter the Royal Guard.
- Spanner in the Works: Cassandra sees the return of long-lost princess Rapunzel as nothing but annoying, because it hinders her (Cassandra's) joining the royal guards. She also thinks Rapunzel's return is distracting the existing royal guards from doing more important work, like defending the borders.
- Spring Time For Hitler: Cassandra's dream is to be a Royal Guard, but as the daughter of the Captain of the Guard, a royal retainer, she is recruited as a maid in the castle. Then Cassandra plans to invoke Waiting for a Break: To work as a Scullery Maid maintaining a low profile, and trying her best to avoid meeting that girl Rapunzel, the long lost princess recently found. This way, Cassandra can use every free moment (and then take some free time avoiding her boring duties) training to become a Royal Guard. Ironically, when Cassandra misses her afternoon duties again to train for the guard, while she is practicing a shot, she captures Rapunzel attention. Cassandra promptly retires, only to spark Rapunzel's curiosity about the Strong, Fast and Mysterious Girl who was practicing a shot. Rapunzel asks Queen Arianna, who tells Rapunzel who Cassandra is. Seeing Rapunzel's curiosity, Queen Arianna appoints Cassandra as Princess Rapunzel's Lady-in-Waiting, exactly the thing Cassandra did not want to become.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Cassandra's actions to avoid becoming Princess Rapunzel's Lady-in-Waiting had resulted in Spring Time For Hitler, so she blames The Royal Family and her own father, and ironically, the only one who seems to realize Cassandra´s unhappiness is the person Cassandra despises the most:Everyone around the table was clapping. My father loudest of all. The only one who wasn't grinning like an idiot was Eugene
- Sweet Tooth: One of the first things Cassandra notes about Rapunzel is that this princess eats a lot of candy. Later, Rapunzel reads a cookbook, and all the recipes she lists are for cakes and other sweets. She also repeatedly stocks up on blueberry cake in a bakery whenever she goes into town.
- Switching P.O.V.: Rapunzel narrates half of the chapters so the reader experiences them from her P.O.V., while Cassandra takes turns for the other half.
- Tastes Like Purple: Rapunzel apparently has a tendency towards synaesthesia, as she remarks that something "was so white it practically had a sound".
- Tomboy: Even more than in the series, Cassandra makes it clear she does not like girly things, hates wearing dresses or high heels, and she much rather wants to fight in the royal guard than be Rapunzel's hand maiden.
- True Love: According to a matchmaker with psychic abilities, Rapunzel and Eugene have the best-matching aura's ever and are meant to be together.
- Upbringing Makes the Hero: It's implied that the Captain of the Guard is invoking this trope when he insists that his adoptive daughter Cassandra becomes Princess Rapunzel's Lady-in-Waiting, due to Cassandra unknowingly being the daughter of Mother Gothel, the kidnapper of Rapunzel.Cassandra's father: [To Cassandra] The return of the lost princess is the best thing that's happened to Corona. [Raising an eyebrow] Surely you share the happiness of this moment, Cassandra, I would expect no less.
- Waiting for a Break: Cassandra's dream job is to be a Royal Guard, and she considers her job as a retainer of the Castle as being a Scullery Maid in Cinderella Circumstances, an exaggeration of Cassandra's part. Cassandra's plan is to invoke this trope by mantaining a low profile in her job, avoid girly things (and into this category Cassandra considers meeting that girl Rapunzel) and train every free moment (and to take some free time) to be a Royal Guard. The only problem is that it precisely this attitude that creates Cassandra's Spring Time For Hitler.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Cassandra has had a terrifying fear of water since she was young, and never learned to swim. She points out the irony of this because of how many, many bodies of water Corona has. She goes out to find a lagoon, and when she finds it, she realises she'll have to dive in it to find the gems, but she's afraid to.