Book Review: A Whole New World By Liz Braswell

A whole new world cover

A Whole New World
By Liz Braswell
Goodreads |  Amazon 
Series: Twisted Tales #1
Release date: September 1st 2015
Rating: Just, No

Text to a friend when I found A Whole New World on Goodreads: “FYI: I found a novel called A Whole New World based on Aladdin and approved by Disney.  It is almost 100% guaranteed to be terrible and I MUST read it."

I just counted.  I brought up reading this book six times in ransom conversation in the last weekjust so I could complain about how bad this book was. Honestly, it would have been a lot more but I live in China and my linguistic skills are not up to literary criticism. 

Let’s set aside the weak prose for a moment.  Because… I just can’t. 

It felt lazy. Character development was nonexistent.  There seemed to be this assumption that all of the readers had seen the movies and already knew the characters.  Probably not an incorrect assumption but it is still necessary.  The lost opportunity here is staggering.  Seriously.  Jasmine had the potential to be a badass Warrior Princess/ Political Savior and instead I was mentally planning her overthrow.

Why is there no imagery?  Braswell had an entire imaginary Middle East Kingdom that has an animated movie that she could have gone to for reference and I felt as if every scene took place in a bare dark room

Brace yourself.  I did not ship Jasmine and Aladdin in the book.  I wanted Jasmine to die alone possibly as a result of a revolution on the part of the “Street Rats”.  Aladdin, who I hated less, I vaguely wanted to end up with a random unknown character that was dropped into the story.

This is a book based on Aladdin without a sense of humor.  I have no words for the combination of bafflement and anger that I am feeling about that.

Braswell made a choice to try to make the story grittier.  Which shouldn’t be a problem in theory.  I can handle stuff!  But the blood and death never seemed real.  When familiar character were in peril I was more irritated than concerned. 

I finished the book only because I was rage reading.

The plan for this weekend it to watch the movie again to cleanse my palate.  Also, I have Once Upon a Dream and it is taunting me with the whole, “it could not possibly be worse” thing.  I may give in a read it.  This is a sickness.

From Goodreads:
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.