Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell


A Whole New World
Twisted Tale #1

Liz Braswell

YA Fairy Tale Retelling
Disney Press
Expected Publication: September 1, 2015

Summary from Goodreads

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 ofAladdin 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.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

As a huge Disney and fairy tale fan, I was so excited to get an ARC for A Whole New World. I just love retellings, especially if they have a darker edge to them. It started out like the movie, including lines directly from the script. There was a bit more background on Aladdin, along with a brief section about his childhood. About 20% through, Jafar obtained the lamp instead of Aladdin and everything changed. This was definitely a darker version of the Disney tale.

The plot was fast-paced, great for a YA audience-- I also love that it will appeal to those who might not ordinarily pick up a book since it's based on a movie. Anything to get the younger generation reading. The story was quite interesting-- I enjoyed the rebellion and the band of thieves organized by Aladdin to fight Jafar. The ending was predictable, but that didn't keep me from enjoying it.

I thought Ms. Braswell did a nice job bringing the city of Agrabah to life. The imagery was quite vivid. On the other hand, the characterization was a tad flat. Sometimes the characters came off  two dimensional. It was disappointing because I never really felt attached to any of the characters. The story was more plot-oriented than character-oriented.

Though I have to say that I really liked what the author did with Jasmine's character. She was a much stronger character in this retelling than in the movie. I also liked Aladdin-- but he wasn't as carefree as his character in the movie. He was a bit more serious and more thoughtful. If you are expecting the characters to be like they were in the movie-- well, they aren't. But, I wouldn't really expect them to be. Circumstances can change people. Jafar-- well he was every bit as insanely nefarious as he was in the movie, but we got to see more of it. Iago wasn't present as much nor was Genie. Genie was also more serious. sometimes downtrodden. The comedy was still there at times, but I always heard Robin Williams's voice in my head whenever Genie spoke-- some of the lines in this novel just didn't fit with that crazy voice.

Overall, I enjoyed this retelling. If you liked Aladdin, then I think you'll like this retelling. Nothing extraordinary, but a nice diversion while stuck in an empty house waiting for the carpet to be installed.

8 comments:

  1. So glad you enjoyed this one! I can’t WAIT to read this one, even though I’m a bit skeptical about it being based on the Disney film rather than the actual story :P Great review!!

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    1. Thanks! It was definitely and interesting twist on the Disney version. Check out the other Goodreads reviews--they're all over the board from loving to loathing.

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  2. I have been dying to read this. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. This is the first review I have seen of this book, and I am happy to see it was a positive one.

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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    1. I really enjoyed this book. Based on other reviews, I think maybe some readers were expecting something groundbreaking or breathtaking. It was a nice, fast-paced diversion.

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  3. This seems like it was another retelling which you could enjoy. I haven't read a retelling of Aladdin before so that sounds really cool and unique. What appeals to me most though is what they did with Jasmine's character!

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    1. It was definitely refreshing to read a retelling for Aladdin. I was getting a tad tired of Snow White and Cinderella retellings.

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