September 1, 2015
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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.
If you have seen the Aladdin movie, there are probably a few things the story brings to mind. Though A Whole New World really is a whole new world from the Aladdin we know, there are definitely some overlaps.
Aladdin is still a street rat, he still has his (cute, funny) monkey and he still steals food - and he still shares it with/gives it to starving children.
There's also still Jasmine in disguise, meeting (or, rather, being rescued by) Aladdin in the marketplace. This time between Aladdin and Jasmine that really sets everything up - introduces them to each other and readers - was where there was a nice sense of romance, of the draw between the two of them.
Then things get a bit twisted.
There is still the magic carpet, the lamp and the genie. Only, it's not Aladdin who gets the wishes, it's Jafar. Just as crazy as you probably remember, only now with more power.
While, once we got into the story, I did not feel much of the love/attraction/romance/chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine - at least in anything beyond friendship - everything else works. Evil Jafar gets nearly full reign to be his evil, creepy, power hungry self and it makes for a brand new tale.
Aladdin and Jasmine have to join together with the people of Agrabah to not only defeat Jafar, but save themselves. In A Whole New World we get the characters that we already love from the movie, but we get to see them in (mostly) new roles and to learn more about them. At the beginning, I definitely was imagining them as animated characters, but as things progress, they seemed more real, more flesh-and-blood. Jasmine especially seemed more developed, more fleshed out from what I remember from the movie.
The genie was still that crazy, funny, off-the-wall jinn, only now taking place in a less lighthearted tale. With Jafar as his master, life outside the bottle isn't as enjoyable for him. I actually pictured his as the movie genie, with a bit of Doctor Who mixed in. (Odd, I know, but it fit.) He was still funny but with a bit of a melancholic edge.
I loved that the story started out the same before going such a different route. The familiarity of that, along with the characters, pulled me right into the story. The author took a 'known' beginning but continued it into a well done, original tale. I was not feeling the romance (as in the presence of it), but didn't especially miss it. I am looking forward to both more from the author and more in this series.
digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley