8/24/2015- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
8/25/2015-Book Briefs- Review
8/26/2015-Fiktshun- Guest Post
8/27/2015- Addicted Readers- Review
8/28/2015-Me, My Shelf and I- Interview
8/31/2015- Bumbles and Fairy-Tales- Review
9/1/2015- Nerdophiles- Guest Post
9/2/2015- Pandora's Books- Review
9/3/2015- Novel Novice- Interview
9/4/2015- A Backwards Story- Review
"Don't let life's unfairness, don't let how poor you are decide who you are. You choose who you will be, Aladdin. Will you be a hero who looks after the weak and powerless? Will you be a thief? Will you be a begger--or worse? It's up to you, not the things--or peope--around you. You can choose to be something more."
~Aladdin's Mother, A WHOLE NEW WORLD
If you grew up watching Disney, you already know the story of Aladdin. Except, in this case...YOU DON'T. What would happen if, after getting the lamp, Aladdin actually HANDED IT to Jafar? What if Jafar got all of his wishes early on. How would Agrabah change? How would the story change? A WHOLE NEW WORLD explores a world where Jafar is Sultan. He wants the people to love him, and he wants Princess Jasmine's love, too. Her hand in marriage to cement his claim to the throne isn't enough. Jafar's magic allows him to give bread and coin to a starving nation in order to claim his love, but he's also becoming a mad, crazy dictator. Can a fleeing royal princess and a cunning street rat save Agrabah, or will they be collateral in the battle to come?
If you love Disney and/or Aladdin, you're really going to enjoy A WHOLE NEW WORLD!
You're either going to love or hate the first 50-100 pages of the book. With the exception of the beginning, which introduces us to Aladdin's mother and his childhood, readers are treated to a reproduction of the movie up through that pivotal Cave of Wonder moment with the lamp. LITERALLY. Direct movie quotes and all. The "sameness" of it bothered me a bit, but I can see super fans loving this addition. Heck, I would have if I was younger. I used to buy all those junior movie novelizations and read my favorite parts over and over again until the movie was out to own! But it bored me a bit now. Luckily, once Jafar gets the lamp and Aladdin gets stuck in the Cave of Wonders and left to die, things change drastically.
This is NOT your traditional retelling of Aladdin. It's darker and grittier. It delves into the culture of Street Rats and the starving bellies of Agrabah. The Sultan is flung to his death, the magic carpet is tortured, and even the citizens of Agrabah don't escape bodily harm. There's nothing overly graphic, but I might not recommend this to the youngest of readers. The book had more of a "teen" feel than it did "juvenile young reader" to me, but I feel it would appeal to juvenile readers the most, so it will be interesting to see where bookstores market it.
There are a lot of interesting new characters in A WHOLE NEW WORLD, but there isn't a lot of dimension to anyone, not even Aladdin or Jasmine. Then again, we know those characters well already, so that's an assumption and adds layers to their characters in other ways. Jasmine is actually fierce and amazing when you factor in these elements, and you really get a feel for Aladdin's upbringing and his moral character. I really liked those character elements and they added nuance to my beloved movie characters, though I wish there was more depth in the book as well. But those new layers still brought out something that added to the story.
The new A Twisted Tale series is definitely for Disney fans. It's less of a fairy tale retelling and more of a new take on a Disney Classic. (Take Cinderella 3 if you've seen it, where the Evil Queen wins. It's like that!) Disney fans will eat this book up!
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