I can’t go back ~ ‘A Whole New World’ by Liz Braswell #BookBirthday #ReleaseDay #Review #COYER

A Whole New World by Liz BraswellYou know the story – Aladdin is a street rat, Jasmine is a princess. There’s a sultan who only wants to play with his toys all day while he basically lets his Grand Vizier, Jafar, make all of the decisions. Slightly dotty, the sultan never notices that Jafar intends to rule Agrabah. Jafar tricks Aladdin into finding the magic lamp so Jafar can make three important wishes. In this version, when it’s discovered that the genie in the lamp can’t do everything that Jafar wants, Jafar scours the earth for any and all magical items and books that will help him with his quest. The city and its people are at his mercy. Together, Aladdin, Jasmin, the street rats and other citizens will have to work together to try and overcome Jafar and his troops. But how can you fight against evil magic?

It’s a clever idea to turn some of Disney’s classic movies into modern, written fables. After all, they do have a publishing arm, and many of these fables were originally from books. Fairy tales were invented for children, as stories of hope or lessons to be learned. They don’t mind the ages of the main characters; kids look up to older teens and want to be just like them. So these legends have been given, basically, to the very young. So here’s something I’ve never considered before: the characters in these stories, well, they’re most likely the right age to be starring in a Young Adult tale. So it’s very clever, and long overdue, that these stories are written for a slightly older audience.

Now here’s the conundrum. How do you fatten up a story while keeping it true (ish) to the movie? That’s what is attempted here, and in all honesty, the mark is missed. Automatically, there are several road bumps that have to be navigated; from keeping the feeling of the “original” to being aware of any constraints of the time period/culture to making the story go deeper. There’s a lot on the sultan’s plate. At first, everything seems to be laid out just like the movie. It was like a novelization as opposed to its own thing. As it went along, it did get away from that completely, but I still felt like it lacked something. There are plenty of new elements and characters introduced, lots of action (and some violence), but it all still seemed a bit cartoon-y.

For me, when I read, I want to care about what happens to the characters. I want to have some kind of feelings about them, and though those feelings don’t have to be good feelings, they have to exist. These characters were mostly flat, and, instead of drawing a picture of them in my head like I usually do, all I could see was the animated images while I read. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I wish that there had been a little more 3D in the story. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded at all (hint) if the book had strayed a bit more at the beginning, but maybe that was the point of it. There are definitely popular YA trimmings, from dystopia to zombies, but they didn’t help this from being lackluster.

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell was published September 1, 2015 by Disney Hyperion. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher, the Author and NetGalley.

Rating: 2

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Historical Paranormal Romance Series
Ages: 13 and up

COYER Scavenger Hunt #10: Read a book that retells a fairy tale. (1 point1)

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