Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

First, thanks to Disney Book Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read an egalley of this title.  I have to admit that while I have "seen" the movie Aladdin, I've never really sat and watched it all the way through.  It came out when I was a teacher, so an adult, so the only time I ever watched it was when we showed it to a group of students as the end of a field trip day reward.  Nevertheless, I feel like this book was pretty darn close to the exact story. Enough so that instead of my usual summary of the story in my own words, I'm going to post the Goodreads summary, and then below that I will tell what I liked and didn't like about it.

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.


So, as I said, I've not for sure watched the movie that I could say I know it that well, but really so much of this book seemed to be basically what I remember from the movie.  As they said, the main difference is who summoned the genie first.   So while this definitely changed the story in ways, overall it basically seemed to be the same general idea.  It's not that it wasn't a good read, just that I wasn't blown away, and didn't feel anything was really that new or original based on what I remember of the story.  And for someone like me, who hadn't really ever known the story that well, that disappointed me.  It should have been pretty easy to make it seem different, I would think, as so many other retellings of stories I've never read, or stories I did know and remember well, have done in the past.  

Overall this is not a book that I would go out of my way to recommend, although I would be sure to list it with other retellings for people who wanted suggestions.  It just wouldn't be on my list of go-to books to suggest to my high school students, or other teen readers. 

19 comments:

  1. Yeah, I've noticed a few people feel similar a you about this book. I'm cool with retellings, but this seems ... not so much :D

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    1. Yeah, I love retellings, but this one just didn't do enough for me. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I haven't heard anything good about this book which is pretty sad. This sounds like it was a Disney project instead of an author project.

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    1. I have liked other Disney publishing books, this one just didn't work for me unfortunately. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. I too think it would be quite different considering this version is of Jafar being the first to summon the Genie.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. And maybe it was, but since I don't remember much about the original movie, I could be wrong. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Good review. I love retellings, but I can see that no one really liked this book.

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    1. It wasn't that great. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. I liked it but then I have only watched the movie like once..sure the first 25% is basic movie but then it twist and I thought it was interesting..but I have noticed it not being loved much...lol. I also think it was a bad try on Disney to make more money off their already loved movies.

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    1. Hmm, interesting, maybe it was a lot different and because I haven't ever really sat down and watched the whole movie I wouldn't know. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I was really curious about this book but after reading a few reviews... not so much. Maybe I'll just watch the movie again :) Thank you for the review!

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    1. I'm disappointed. Partly because I could have been reading something else. But I kept hoping it would get better. Oh well.

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  7. I am actually quite excited to read this book eventhough the review is not quite good. I guess I just love Disney for too much! 😁😁
    But thankyou for the review!

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    1. It wasn't bad at all. It just didn't seem like anything different really to me. I hope you read it and enjoy it!

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  8. I have been seeing a lot of mediocre reviews or less than impressed ones around which makes me think that this book is not really one for me. I love the cover and it IS beautiful, but if I am going to be reading a retelling I want it to be unique.

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    1. I need just that little bit of different in a story to really enjoy a retelling I think. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Thanks for the review--I love retellings, but won't check this book out based on your review.

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    1. I can think of many others you should read before you spend time on this one. Thanks for visiting!

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