Monday 31 August 2015

Book Review (ARC): A Whole New World; Liz Braswell.

This is going to be my final read of August and I'm afraid to say, it's another disappointment. I had high hopes for an Aladdin retelling: I've never actually read one before! Unfortunately, I should probably have listened to the bad reviews that Goodreads was firing at me from all directions.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: A Whole New World
AUTHOR: Liz Braswell
SERIES: Twisted Tales (#1)
PUBLISHER: Disney Press
PAGES: 384
GENRE: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy

RATING: 1/5 Stars

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney's Aladdin. 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.

What I Liked:

  • I liked how readable it was. In fact, it flowed so well that I got it finished in just a few short hours. For me, the plot never got boring or frustrating in any way, nor did it ever really confuse me, so that can only be a good thing. I was at least keen to see what would happen next. I never thought that Braswell's writing style was very bad either, though at the same time it didn't strike me as overwhelmingly good.
What I Disliked:
  • I think I am going to highlight what most people already have in their reviews. A quarter of this book is a direct cut and paste from the Disney film. The dialogue is the same, the actions of every character are also the same too. The other 75% had a very fan fiction feel to it. It didn't feel wholly original and managed, despite being a new story thread, to feel 'borrowed'. The slapstick style of speech used during dialogue and certain moments of the story, put together with some very dark, twisted story directions in order to illustrate Jafar's madness made for a strange combination that didn't sit well with me. Braswell basically killed off a few of my childhood favourites in front of my very eyes and it was an unsettling experience to say the least.
  • The character's, as a result of them being based upon the Disney original, felt very one-dimensional. I got to see a bit more of a serious side to Aladdin I suppose, and I liked the added back-story that Braswell gave him. But where was the badass Jasmine I was promised? Or a back-story for Jafar so that he was no longer just evil for the sake of it. Also, what on earth was going on with Iago? He was mentioned frequently but never seen. I got the feeling he was meant to be some aspect of Jafar's madness but it didn't make a whole lot of sense.
Overall Conclusion:
I wanted to enjoy this book, and I so wish that Braswell had drawn from the source material of Aladdin rather than the Disney version. I think that she could have had a whole lot more fun with it, rather than feeling like she has to copy everything from the movie. There was little to no development which gave it the bad rating. However, the story was still enjoyable to an extent. If you're a huge fan of fan fiction (which is mostly what this is) then you might like this! It didn't bring anything new to the table though so it wasn't really for me.

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