Novel: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell
Release date: September 1st, 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Retelling -young adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
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I received this book from the publisher -via Netgalley- in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are completely my own.
Synopsis: 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.
“Don’t let life’s unfairness, don’t let how poor you are decide who you are. You choose who you will be, Aladdin.”
“It was the right thing to do, of course. Save the pretty girl, take the pretty girl home. Refuse the reward. All right, maybe take the reward. If there was a reward. Wasn’t there usually a reward?”
Last week, I got approved for this book on Netgalley. I was so excited, I started reading almost immediately! An Aladdin retelling? Yes please. And while I did enjoy this read, it wasn’t as mind-blowing as I’d hoped it to be.
Obviously, when the book starts out it follows the plot of the Aladdin tale we all know so well -I think we all do at least. I was a bit surprised though to see for how long it closely followed the original tale. I was reading it on the Kindle app, and only at around the 20% mark, the tale started to twist.
I have to say that I really enjoyed the complete turn-around of the story! It was so interesting to see how one little change in the tale could bring on an entirely different Agrabah. Everything was quite well thought out. How Jafar takes the lamp, and everything he does onwards seemed really in character for him -both for the Jafar in this story and the one in the Disney movie. He had his whole rule thought out -even though they were the thoughts of an utterly crazy person.
And of course, Aladdin can’t just let Agrabah be taken over. The rebellion they start was so much fun! I really enjoyed reading about the well-organized band of thieves. From the 70% mark, I was glued to my screen. I mean, I enjoyed the book before that mark as well but after that, it just got so suspenseful and exciting.
I do have to admit that I predicted the ending. It’s definitely not an unpredictable story, but no less enjoyable because of it I’d say.
Let’s start with the characters we all know: Aladdin, Abu, Jasmine, Jafar, the genie and Iago.
First of all, let me just say that I was highly disappointed by the lack of Iago in this story. He was my FAVORITE character in the movie -let’s be honest, I laughed so hard every time he said something. I do have much more respect for the Jasmine in this story than in the original movie. Why, you ask? Well, here she is not just a helpless princess who needs Aladdin to save her. She wants her throne back, and she’ll take it! Yes, she still had some character flaws -but who doesn’t? I liked Aladdin just as much as in the movie -I don’t think his character is all that different- and despised Jafar even more here -SO EVIL. And I still felt bad for the genie, even more so than in the movie. He’s also far less present.
But what I loved most about this retelling is that addition of so many intriguing side characters. You can’t start a rebellion on your own after all. I don’t really want to say much more about them, because I feel like that would spoil the story a bit. But there are much more family dynamics in this story -whether it is family by blood or by choice.
I’d definitely recommend this book, especially to fans of the original Aladdin story. While it is quite predictable -and not as mind-blowing as I had expected because of that- I really did enjoy it. I do think I will check out the next Twisted Tale when that one gets released.