Title: A Whole New World
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales
Date Started: September 15
Date Finished: September 17
Format: Hardcover from local library
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.
Why this book series hasn’t crossed my path sooner is a complete mystery to me. You would think something like this would have been on my radar years ago, but alas it wasn’t until I was browsing the book tag on Pinterest that I kept seeing these different book covers that looked like the classic Disney tales just reimagined. I read the summary of the first one and thought that I could at least try it to see if I liked it.
And when I first started A Whole New World it looked like I wasn’t going to. It was a carbon copy of the movie, sure a few small details were different, but it was pretty much the same tale. I was sitting there going is this really a twisted tale? It wasn’t until Aladdin gets the lamp for Jafar and falls back into the Cave of Wonders that things started to pick up. Abu never steals the lamp back from him, and Jafar goes back to Agrabah with it and causes all kinds of havoc. The way Braswell wrote Jafar was actually quite…well, wicked. You really got to see just how much the power goes to to the grand vizer’s head. There was a moment during the novel where I actually had to double check to make sure that this was a YA retelling, because there was a scene that got really graphic – my stomach really churned!
I also liked how it was a rebellion headed by Jasmine that caused Jafar to fall. Talk about bad ass. I mean, yes, Aladdin had a small roll in it, but it was mostly thanks to Jasmine and the other street rats that Jafar’s evil was put to an end. Although that ending was definitely something else. I think it was actually Braswell’s way of getting out of writing two additional sequels in the Aladdin world – not to mention saving a really bad plot line of Jafar becoming a genie.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I was really entertained with this twist of the Disney tale. Jasmine as a rebel leader. Jafar as a mad dictator. Aladdin who has friends other than a monkey. I just wish that the Genie had had a better ending. Also I’m a little miffed at the design team. The back cover and inside front flap both have the tag line “What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?” But Aladdin DID find the lamp he just didn’t keep it! Talk about misleading!
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