Friday, November 27, 2015

[Review] A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

24397040A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Twisted Tales #1
Version: ARC
Release Date: April 28, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:

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.
This was perhaps one of the books I was most looking forward to getting at BEA a few months back, but after reading a bunch of negative reviews, I was slightly put off and didn't get around to finishing it until Thanksgiving break. A Whole New World is basically exactly what the synopsis says - a retelling of the classic Aladdin with a twist.

I think the main problem I had with this book was all the build up that didn't lead to anything big. The first couple of chapters is just like the actual Aladdin, and about a third of the way in is where we start seeing the plot twists, which were done well. However, after the initial major twist of Jafar getting hold of the lamp, it's basically all building up to the conclusion, which happened really fast and was a bit unbelievable. Even though it was evident that Aladdin, Jasmine, and the others faced a huge challenge, it didn't actually feel like it when the time actually came.

That said, I definitely did like some of the aspects of the last couple chapters - I thought Jafar's third and final wish was very interesting but I also would have liked to see more of that come into play - maybe less build up and more of the "aftermath".

Morgiana was perhaps the best character in the book, mainly because Braswell gave her a unique personality unseen in the original Aladdin, whereas the other characters (Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, etc) were all sort of "copy cats" from the original tale without a new personality. Actually, the side characters were all pretty great and all had different, unique personalities. I would definitely be interested in a Morgiana/Duban/Genie novella or the like. I also would have liked to see Braswell give these old, classic characters fresh personalities.We see that Jafar is evil and utterly insane, but have could have been multi-dimensional instead of flat and predictable.

Overall, while Braswell does give a classic tale a new twist, it was slow and too detailed at times, and it could have been done better in terms of giving old characters fresh makeovers. Despite its flaws, I am still looking forward to reading the other retellings in this series!

1 comment:

  1. I was really excited for this book, too! First of all, I LOVE Aladdin. Second of all, I love retellings - especially twisted retellings! But I, like you, had a lot of issues with this book. For me, the characters felt very flat and lacked development and growth. I was disappointed in the "copy cat" characters, as you mentioned. I read the book very quickly, but I agree it felt very slow at times. I was really upset with how it ended at first, but then I recognized the parallels to the Disney movie and calmed down a bit. But I agree, I'm still excited for more retellings in this series! I just hope they're more engaging! Great review :)