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A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—The first quarter of this work functions as a novelization of the Disney movie that inspired it, detailing the escapades of young street urchin Aladdin as he steals to survive. After Aladdin encounters the princess Jasmine at the city market, the villainous Jafar, the childlike sultan's grand vizier, uses Aladdin to retrieve a magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders. It is here that the story deviates from Disney, as this time around it is Jafar who claims possession of the lamp and uses the genie inside to murder the sultan and take his throne. Upon escaping from the Cave of Wonders, Aladdin teams up with Jasmine and a band of thieving street rats to stop the evil sorcerer and reclaim the city of Agrabah. The action-packed story maintains a brisk pace, but the characters lack depth and complexity, and though Braswell succeeds in creating a darker tone, she is less successful in her efforts to ground Jasmine and Aladdin's revolution in Agrabah's economic inequities. Furthermore, the novel is a bit heavy-handed thematically, and anachronistic word choices and dialogue have a tendency to pull readers from what is otherwise an interesting, if simplistic, setting. VERDICT An additional purchase where there is an enthusiastic audience for retellings.—Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Abington School District, PA
"A magic carpet ride of a book! A fun and unpredictable retelling of the classic Aladdin story, a must-read for all of us Disney fans!"―Melissa de la Cruz --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I will say that the reader needs to go into this book with an open mind about Aladdin. The book quite clearly states it is a twisted fairytale and you do get that. The majority of reviewers on Amazon complained that it doesn't resemble Disney's Aladdin at all. Yes, the first 23% of the book did follow the movie pretty well with some added background but then it goes off into this glorious tangent of a tale that anybody who enjoys a good variation of a classic story would enjoy. I believe my favorite part of the book was when Aladdin thinks he's hallucinating Abu and the magic carpet in the Cave of Wonders. If you give this book a chance you get immersed in the world of an Agrabah in the midst of a civil war. There are new characters that add to the story and old characters that get character development that they didn't get in the movie.
I did not want to put this book down once I started to read it. Unfortunately I had to sleep and go to work. This book is a wonderful addition to any library and I will be picking up book two of this series once it's released.
Rating: 4½ stars out of 5
Given how huge a fan of Disney, and Aladdin in particular, that I am, I was hopeful but wary going into this. Depending on the author, this was either going to be amazing or terrible. And I’m surprised to find that I’m in the minority here, thinking it wasn’t that bad.
Granted, the first twenty percent is pretty much word for word like the movie, only with a little more detail and depth added. But I didn’t mind that, actually quite enjoyed seeing it again and being more in Aladdin’s head for it. Plus, the small details that were changed made sense to me, though I might have liked some more changes. And, really, this is published by Disney and specifically references Aladdin—what were you expecting?
But after the twist in the plot, everything changes. And I liked the thought put into each change. It’s made more realistic—Jafar, taking power like he wanted, is turned really evil. He kills people, including important characters in the movie who I won’t spoil. Jasmine is taken captive, unable to do anything. And that means she has to get smart and tactical really fast. Aladdin, on the other hand, is stuck inside the cave and has to figure out how to get out. Then he has to find a way to undo what Jafar did.
The biggest change to me was Jasmine’s character. And by the end, I do feel like I lost a sense of who she was, and who Aladdin was as well. I don’t know if that was purposeful, because of everything that happened, but I didn’t like that.
But there were also the little things. Like that Jasmine meets the Genie before Aladdin does. And I appreciated that the Genie stayed true to who he was in the movies. There was also the realistic look at what was happening. The Sultan was given a new perspective, as a ruler; Jasmine got to see what was happening in her city, what kind of ruler her father really was, and what to do about all the poverty. And from that, she had to stand up and rule her city like she needed to. We also saw realistically what the Genie’s-made guards and dancers were really like—identical and fake. There was also more insight to Aladdin’s childhood with a prologue, and we met other street rat friends of his. We got reference of where Genies/Djinn's come from.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the new take on the story, with the twist and the new look at things. Some things could have been better, like the characterization, but I didn’t think it was too bad.
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]
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