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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

[ARC MINI-REVIEW] A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

A Whole New World

Author: Liz Braswell
Genre: YA Fantasy
Expected Publication: September 1st 2015 by Disney Press
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
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.


My thoughts

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Disney and Netgalley.*

What I liked:

  • It's dark and twisted. You know me; I'm all for gritty stories as much as I love the fluffy, happy, rainbow-filled reads. A Whole New World is a fairy tale not suited for kids. This book has blood and torture and death and ghouls. 
  • Jafar. The villain Jafar is oh so deliciously evil and insane! This is one character I love to hate. He's potentially more interesting than Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Sadly though, he's kinda shoved in the backseat.
  • Of course, the genie. The humor and kindness we are familiar with from the Aladdin movie are still there along with a certain sadness that only ten thousand years of being imprisoned in a lamp can do.

What I did not like:

  • First off, that cover! I am not impressed. I wouldn't even pick this book by that cover alone. It actually looks like a cover to a non-fiction book. Maybe a travel guide book.
  • The first part is almost taken directly from Aladdin. It was like I was reading a book version of the Disney movie. And no, I did not appreciate that. It was only when Jafar got the lamp that a semblance of originality appeared.
  • What happened to the carpet. It's just sick and cruel. That's low even for you, Jafar.
  • It just bored the heck out of me. There, I said it. The pacing was slow, I wasn't a fan of the writing and the characters just felt one-dimensional for me. A Whole New World was supposed to be exciting because of the 'what if' twist and the rebellion thing, but everything was anticlimactic. There were no yay! moments. I couldn't root for the characters. I couldn't even care less what happened.

Bottom line:

A Whole New World was, to put it bluntly, disappointing. I was expecting some fresh and unique retelling, but it really fell short. I was actually excited to read this because I loved Aladdin and I couldn't wait to read a retelling of it. But alas, this book failed to keep me interested. Yes, I did like a few parts but my disinterest and disappointment clearly outweighed the few points this book gained.
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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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