A Whole New World
by Liz Braswell
Series: A Twisted Tale #1
Published: September 1st 2015
Genres: Fairy Tale, Retelling, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover (384 pages)
Source: For Review
Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?
When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.
What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.
The first 82 pages of A Whole New World are extremely similar to the Disney movie, Aladdin. Even for a novelization of a movie, that’s pretty unusual. We get a tiny bit more of Aladdin’s backstory but almost all of the dialogue stays the same. On page 82 Jasmine actually goes looking for Aladdin after he’s sent to prison. That’s new. Took long enough.
When I first saw the tagline “What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?” I thought that Aladdin was going to try and win Jasmine’s love with no magic and I was so excited! Since Jafar gets the lamp instead of Aladdin, it takes an oddly dystopian turn with no romance (not excited anymore). The romance was instant and not very developed. The romance had about as much spark as wet fireworks.
The dystopian story line is full of black and white politics. I thought Jafar had interesting motives. He’s interested in breaking the Genie’s three laws of magic to make everyone love him. Jafar gives out free money to everyone and I’m thinking, “That will cause inflation. Duh.” I appreciated when the author showed all the problems that caused. But when Jafar had an army of guards called “Peacekeeping Patrols” that’s when I knew that this was Dystopian. (Katniss is coming to stop the Hunger Games any minute Jafar you watch yourself)
The characterization was inconsistent. Aladdin says to Jasmine, “Our upward mobility is strictly limited. (pg 48).” That sounds oddly modern and extremely educated for a street rat. The motives for Aladdin and Jasmine were not explained sometimes. The worst case was when they left the magic carpet behind. They felt bad so I couldn’t help wondering, “Then why did they do it?” I have no idea.
The genie is sadly no longer funny. He takes the depressed personality that he has at the end of the original Aladdin movie for the entire book. The genie mentions once that he would maybe like to be freed and it suddenly becomes a huge motivation for Aladdin and Jasmine. I wasn’t totally convinced that the Genie even wanted to be free.
The writing had a lot of italics going on. It was a little too much for me and I didn’t enjoy it.
Book Review of A Whole New World on a Post-it
I received this book for review from the publisher, Disney Books in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own.