Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

Ages 12 and up
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.

I love re-imagined classics, so when I saw this book, I just had to read it.

In A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale, Abu was not able to steal the lamp from Jafar so he ends up being the one who summons Genie. This leads to trouble not only for Aladdin and Jasmine, but for the rest of Agrabah as well.

The summary mentions that this was a "dark and daring version" of Aladdin. That's certainly accurate. If you remember the movie, it had some dark moments, but overall, it was quite light-hearted, like most of the early Disney movies. This book, however, is more of on the How to Train Your Dragon 2-end of the darkness spectrum. It was a little heavier than I had expected, but I don't think it would have worked well any other way.

The first four chapters of the book match the movie, but the book veers away from the movie plot in the fifth chapter. The plot reads much like most dystopian novels these days, except you know and love the main characters, and you'll recognize some of the scenes, as well as some key elements of the movie used in a slightly different way in other parts of the book.

The main and most of the secondary characters from the movie are almost all here, and what's great is that they all act pretty much the same way here as they did in the movie. It really does add to the feeling that this was how the movie could have gone had Jafar gotten the lamp first. Bonus: I loved how the economics in the new Agrabah is consistent with what actually happens in the real world.

Aladdin isn't really high up on my list of Disney princes, but I liked him in this book. It was nice reading about his back story because it gave his character more depth and helped me sympathize with him more. I had forgotten until I started reading, though, that I didn't really like Jasmine that much, as I felt she was a bit spoiled. Here, Jasmine still frustrated me, but it was more of due to her naivete, which ended up being part of the reason why my favorite character from the movie gets hurt.

Overall, I was quite pleased with this book. Can Mulan's story be the next in the series, please?

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Press for the e-ARC.


  1. It's a more mature (read: darker and heavier) version of the movie.
  2. The characters' personalities are consistent with what we see in the movie.
  3. It's a very believable alternative story.


  1. If your favorite character was a secondary character in the movie, you may want to steel your heart before reading. 


  1. You loved the movie.
  2. You love reading re-imagined versions of stories.
  3. You like dystopian novels.



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