A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Braswell, Liz. A Whole New World. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1484707296.
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $9.59.
Releases September 1, 2015
A Disney’s Aladdin Twisted Tale.
What would happen if one key element to your favorite Disney story went wrong, irreparably changing the tale? A Whole New World starts out basically just as Disney’s Aladdin film does, up until the point where Aladdin hands Jafar the lamp. In the film, Abu takes the lamp back off Jafar. But in this story, Jafar gets the lamp, and uses it to take over Agrabah, while Aladdin gets stuck in the cave of wonders. So what would happen if Jafar actually got the lamp and became Sultan? Jasmine and Aladdin, along with his gang of Street Rats, must band together to build a resistance to Jafar’s insane tyranny.
This story had great promise. A re-telling of Aladdin where Jafar initially wins, and Jasmine becomes a Freedom Fighter to take back her Crown? Such a great idea. This re-telling, however, never seems to go quite far enough and lacks some commitment. It’s marketed as a dark re-telling, and there certainly are darker aspects (some characters die who you might not expect to, and in interesting ways), but other than that, and Jafar’s creepy insanity, the story just lacks depth. This story is ultimately plot driven, with the focus on the action of the moment, rather than the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Additionally, we mostly only get the story from Aladdin’s point of view. Because of this the characters feel somewhat under-developed, and we don’t get a true sense of who they are. The story careens along, giving plenty of attention to what the characters are doing, but we don’t often get to see what they are really thinking or feeling. One big disappointment for me was the almost complete lack of romance in between Aladdin and Jasmine. The beginning of the story shows great promise, when they first meet we see them nervous and silly with each other, very believable for two teenagers who find themselves attracted to the other, but after that almost no attention is given to the budding romance. Since the romance in the film version is so beautiful and important to the story, I was a bit surprised by this. It felt like the author was told to keep the story appropriate for younger readers, while also trying to capitalize on the huge market for dystopian and fairy-tale re-tellings in YA fiction right now. So we get some fighting and death, but not a lot of emotions or romance. Die-hard Disney fans, and lovers of re-tellings, however, may enjoy this sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, Aladdin re-telling. It showed great promise, but missed something on the follow through, for me.
Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
This is the first entry into Disney’s projected Twisted Tales series, so there should be more to come.
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Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.