Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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.

Favorite Character: none

Suggested Age Range: 6th grade and up

Diversity Represented: They are all dark skinned (expect for the blue guy) and is expected being set in Arabia. 

Romance: Yes, Aladdin and Jasmine of course. 

I'm shipping: I was actually shipping Aladdin and the other girl (gah, I can't even remember her name, let that be a sign for how much this book resonated with me. 

The Good: So the first almost quarter of the book was a play-by-play of the movie. We have this long picture book version of the movie at the library and it read pretty much like this. If you loved the movie as a kid (ahem, or adult), this beginning is going to relive all the good bits. But then, what if one thing changed. What if Jafar got the lamp first. What if Aladdin got trapped in the cave. What if all the happy, Disney-eque story bits that everyone loves were thrown at the window for a dark, depressing story about how Jafar takes over the kingdom? If this fascinates you, then keep reading! I could barely trudge through it. 

The Bad: The problem with the beginning being a recreation of the movie is that it was boring. I'm not really interested in reading the screen play of a movie I've seen several dozen times. The problem with switching up the plot is that it read like bad fan-fiction. Everything was so depressing. There is no happy ending here folks. No smiles to be had. Parents die. Old people die. Children die. Run for your lives! 

The Bitter Truth: I'm so glad this wasn't based on a favorite Disney story and that this can be a warning to avoid whatever swill Disney Press tries to hand out next. I mean, they get an A for effort in trying to revive an old story and make some more money off of it, but this crap wasn't worth reading. I ONLY finished it because it worked for a Book Bingo spot. I should have trusted the hundreds of GoodReads reviews that said this was terrible. 

How much did I like it?  Can I give negative stars? No? I'll give it ** because I did finish it. 

Book Bingo: Book by Disney Press

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