Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review (Arc) ~ A Whole New World

A Whole New World

by Liz Braswell
published by Disney Press
expected release date: September 1, 2015
genre: YA, Fairy Tales, Re-Tellings, Fantasy,

*E-galley received from netGalley and publisher in exchange for honest review.

Summary (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 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.

My Thoughts: This had all the elements to be a really great story for me. I love retellings, fairy tales, and Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out for me. I didn't quite DNF but I skimmed most of the second half, hoping that something would happen to re-grab my attention.
It starts off well with the prologue taking us back to when Aladdin was little and his mother was still living. It was a nice look at his younger years and seeing how his mother influenced him as he grew. We also meet some street rats that are already friends and a Palace guard that plays a big part in the story.
Chapter 1 is where it starts to go downhill for me. It was line for line if not word for word the dialogue from the movie. From the moment it starts until Aladdin is in the cave of wonders and is handing the lamp to the old guy (Jafar). There was no deviation. Nothing that made this the re-telling it is supposed to be or the author's own version of Aladdin.
As we know Jafar gets the lamp and wishes to be Sultan. It pretty much matches the summary from there. Aladdin helps rescue Jasmine from the palace where Jafar is holding her until he can force her to wed him. They join up with the street rats, that we met when Aladdin was little, and build up the group that will assist them in getting rid of Jafar.
For me what this really needed was more Jafar. Because we see very little of him throughout I never felt he was as truly evil as the rebellion kept telling us. The story would have benefited more if we would have gotten some back and forth POVs from Jafar and then Jasmine/Aladdin.
Another thing that was missing were the side characters that I loved. What made the movie for me was Genie and he is barely around. We get little glimpses and meetings and while his character is different based on who is in charge of his lamp, I still wanted more.
I'll try to end this on a positive. I did like how Jasmine was more of a character. She was very pro active in trying to get back her city and seemed to be a bit more fleshed out as a character.
Some will like this more than I did. I just couldn't get fully back into it after the first part that was too exact to the movie. Even knowing this is from Disney I still would have preferred for the author to change it up in some way.

Rating: 3

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