A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

24397040A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Series: A Twisted Tale #1 (1/?)
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 1, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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1.5 Stars, Completed August 30, 2015

– SPOILERS ahead –

A Whole New World is an Aladdin retelling where the events are slightly distorted from the original Disney film. Instead of Aladdin meeting the genie first and having to struggle with facing the truth and his identity, before Aladdin even catches on that the tales of djinns and genies are real, the grand vizier, Jafar, possesses the lamp and transforms Agrabah into an apocalyptic setting by using dark magic.

After reading, it got me thinking that beloved Disney films though they have their own merits (good morals, beautiful illustrations, funny moments, and encouragement of imaginations to name a few) still are full of instalove romances, love triangles, development of somewhat bland characters, and other unwanted characteristics most readers probably don’t enjoy reading usually. However, for a movie, that’s okay. I can completely sympathize that there’s so much you can squish into a 2 hour movie; these inadequacies can easily be brushed off. On the other hand for a book, so much more of the story can be elaborated on and there’s plenty of room for the author to unleash creativity. So for this Aladdin retelling I was anticipating many things that weren’t addressed in the film. I was hoping this book would bridge the gaps and clarify the grey areas in the movie, and still make references from the original film all the while being unique as a novel on its own.

Unfortunately, I was vastly disappointed.

Very little of the book was original. In fact, the first 25% of the book was exactly like the film, from the description of the clothes and setting to the dialogue. I’m not sure how the copyrights work since this was published by Disney Press, but the first quarter seemed like straight plagiarism. And it goes without saying, being a huge Disney fan (who isn’t though?) and someone that has seen the movie too many times to count, this entire quarter of the book was incredibly boring and predictable.

Since the book followed so closely to the film, the character development I was hoping to see never appeared. The characters were often going through the motions and the actions weren’t anything new if you’ve seen the movie. Instead of feeling immersed in the story it felt like reading a script with stage directions and dialogue. Because of this, there wasn’t a chance to connect with Aladdin, Jasmine, or the other characters.

Actually I even felt frustrated with some of the characters, especially with Jasmine. I noticed that there were some inconsistencies in her character and thought her newfound discovery of the outside world unrealistic. At times she was in wonder by the poverty, gender inequality, and women oppression in Agrabah and profoundly surprised by the death and illness that plagued the others around her, which kind of reminded me of Siddhartha Guatama and his first time in the world (but let’s not veer off topic on that). Other times, she was viewed as a revolutionary and symbol for The Mark of Rajah movement against Jafar. In theory, the revolutionary Jasmine would have had more depth than the movie Jasmine, but the switching between the naive and rebel Jasmine made it difficult for the reader to grasp which type of heroine to focus on. Also, the Mark of Rajah and the Street Rats didn’t leave an impact as District 12 or the Mockingjay did if compared to The Hunger Games-sorry, it also makes me cringe to make that comparison.  Overall, I found the extremely naive but “rebellious” Jasmine to be pretty unrealistic and not work in favor for this story.

As for the romance it’s probably best to just watch and sing along to “A Whole New World” on youtube-because I don’t even recall getting an Aladdin/Jasmine fluff scene and if we did, it wasn’t as fulfilling as the movie’s. Throughout the entire book, Aladdin and Jasmine remained an instalove couple with no relationship growth.

Along with the lack of romance development and romance scenes, the narrative wasn’t as mature as I was expecting for a young adult audience. The writing, as I mentioned earlier, wasn’t really special as well. In the beginning, the story was told in a very descriptive, vivid manner (however that was only for the first 25% where there was no variance from the movie) but as the story continued and took it’s own creative spin the descriptive writing soon dwindled into streams of purple prose. By the 70% mark for A Whole New World I was doing some major skimming.

And lastly, what probably bothered me the most was how ridiculous some moments were. To elaborate on that, there would be some serious spoilers so I think I’ll leave it with this gif.

make-it-fucking-rain-aladdin1

I lost it when the money started to pour from the sky. As ideal as the thought sounds, it was too ludicrous in my opinion. (Haha, some of you guys may be surprised by this. Yeah, I don’t like using profanity but I thought this gif was too appropriate not to include.) Source.

So the twist with Jafar and the smaller events that follow in consequence to Jafar’s reign were literally the only differences between the book and movie. This story probably would have been a good one if the Disney movie wasn’t so popular. Sadly, I wasn’t very fond of A Whole New World, but I’m still giving it 0.5 star more than I originally planned for the attempt and good intentions of bringing one of my favorite Disney movies to the pages-even though the execution wasn’t great.


Thank you Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this! In no way did this affect my reading experience and honest review.

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This was perfect for the #bookishdisney tag! 😉

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42 thoughts on “A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

  1. MyTinyObsessions says:

    YES! you rated exactly like I did. lol. I was expecting so much more. The day after I finished it, I actually had to watch Aladdin to clear my head of this book. Even the different events had a lot of similarities to when Jafar gets the lamp in Aladdin… such a wasted opportunity here 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thanks, Raven. Ahh, I totally relate to that sentiment. And yes! Aladdin is bliss. I once stood in line with some friends at Disney for two hours just to take pictures with the pretend Aladdin/Jasmine actor(resses), hehe.

      Like

  2. Krista says:

    The publisher rejected my request for an ARC, and I was actually quite excited to see what this book was all about! I, too, thought it would elaborate on the original movie. I definitely wanted to add Aladdin to my legion of book boyfriends. Alas, it looks like I’m skipping out on this one. Thanks for the review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      I’ve had that happen to me before too, but to actually well received books. I can safely say you’re not missing much with this one. And I think the original movie is perfect as it is, so Aladdin is still a great fictional boyfriend if not a book one. 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting, Krista!

      Like

  3. Anette says:

    Great review! I haven’t read this book but after reading countless reviews that say the same things as yours I’m staying far far away. It seems like a more appropriate title for this book would be THE SAME OLD WORLD because of its similarities to the Disney movie. Hah.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Giselle @ Hardwork Boulevard says:

    Great review Summer! I had an arc copy of this one and I tried to read quite a few pages but some other book caught my attention. I read quite a lot of negative reviews on this one, and I have bad feeling I’ll hate this book so I keep putting it off. I hope I’ll be able to finish this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thank you, Giselle! I’m having this problem with Hunter by Mercedes Lackey at the moment. I’m avoiding that one because I’m unable to get into it, unfortunately. Anyway, I’m sorry that a majority of people didn’t like A Whole New World, including me. The premise sounded so promising! And I hope that you’re able to get through this. I look forward to reading your review if you do!

      Like

  5. Carolyn says:

    Sigh Aladdin is one of my favorite movies and this book’s premise sounded amazing but alas..I read an excerpt of it and the dialogue was used word for word from the movie like you said..like I could have just watched the movie.
    Great review as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thanks, Carolyn (as always)! And wow, you’re so smart. I need to start reading excerpts before I request books, especially since I don’t read the premise all that often. I just judge books by their covers and what genres they’re under, bad habit I know. But yes, if you’re feeling an Arabian Nights mood I’d say youtube some singalong videos or maybe rewatch the Disney classic. Reading this so isn’t worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    Aladdin is one of my favourite books ever, so I am so sad that the reviews for this book has been consistent in agreeing how much it sucks. I completely agree with you that with all the hundreds pages you have in a book, I like seeing the author exploring ideas instead of regurgitating the old material. Plus the book turned the awesome Jasmine annoying?! No thanks, not ever!
    Also why does WP keep saying I’m not following you?! This is stressing me out!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Aentee, since you love fantasy and retellings so much, I certainly approve of your decision on skipping this one. Especially if you really enjoyed the original Aladdin!

      That’s bizarre! It’s been happening to a lot of bloggers actually. I’ve even noticed that my “Blogs I Follow” is getting more sparse… I may need to check that out myself. WP, why you be so weird??

      Like

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Unfortunately, all the reviews-well at least the ones I’ve read-are true. Haha, so true! The movie is a good alternative (and the better one) to this, for sure. But I’m not giving up, it’s likely I’ll pick up the next Aladdin retelling that comes out if there is another one. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Precious @ Clockwork Desires says:

    Everyone seems to hate this book, so I think I’ll give it a pass. It sucks, though. There aren’t nearly enough Aladdin retellings out there (in fact, this is the only one I know of).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thuong Le says:

    I’ve heard about this book from Emily from the Book Geek on Youtube, but like you said, it just sounds like plagiarism and unoriginal. I guess Disney Press was okay with it. What’s the point? You could just watch the film. I think the author could at least change the names, esp. in a retelling. Anyway, great in-depth review! I’ll give this one a miss. I haven’t seen Aladdin in ages!! Probably one of Robin Williams’ best films, but I don’t even remember how the story went…lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Oh! I had no idea Emily had a youtube channel. I don’t follow booktube too much actually. I know of some booktubers, like Christine, but I only watch Paige at Enchantology and Chris from The Reading Rhodes honestly.

      Thanks, Thuong! When I originally requested this on NG I don’t think anyone put a review up yet, so I had no idea how badly received it’d be. The evident plagiarism-even if it is okay legally being published under Disney-and unoriginality was really disappointing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thuong Le says:

        She’s funny. You should check out her funny romance quotes vid! – https://youtu.be/_Jcu-fGD61Y Christine’s the most well known booktuber because I think she started it very early on. Sometimes I watch Sam from Thoughts of Tomes and Katytastic.
        Yes, absolutely agreed. Since its badly received by readers, hopefully there will be no sequel! Plagiarism is not okay, I don’t think the writer and Disney realised that, but they really should have known better.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Summer @ Xingsings says:

          Haha, that video was too funny. That is precisely why I don’t read romance or new adult novels, haha. When people say “love makes you stupid sometimes” I kind of feel it from the quotes Emily was sharing. LOL. I have 3 Colleen Hoover books though, so it’s disappointing that Hopeless was one of her examples. In my defense when I bought that Hoover books I had no idea it was NA.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thuong Le says:

            Agreed! Some of the romance books I read in the past, I didn’t know they were NA either! I haven’t read one in a while but the last one I read, I really hated :/ Yes, aha, love is blind. I was going to read Slammed but sort of lost interest. Good luck with reading Colleen Hoover! Hopeless might surprise you though 😉 its just different readers’ opinions.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Analee @ Book Snacks says:

    I’m so sorry you didn’t like this, Summer! I had been wanting to read this for a while, but after reading your review (and so many countless others stating the same opinion) I think I’m probably not going to be reading this one anytime soon. Such a wasted opportunity, it seems! Aladdin could’ve used a quality YA retelling. Great review nonetheless! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Honestly, this book would have been awesome if the movie hadn’t existed first. It had a lot to live up to so a lot of readers were disappointed. I don’t often have luck with retellings anyway though, so unfortunately, I probably won’t be reading the rest of this series. Thank you, Analee! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Oh gosh, I’m not sure why I never replied to this… But anyway, it makes me feel bad to say this when I got this as an ARC, but I’m so glad you never bought this book. Overall, it was such a waste a time. I basically was just skimming by the second half of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dreamingthroughliterature says:

        It’s so easy to overlook or miss comments sometimes. I totally understand. It’s happened to me before where I’ll just happen to be looking at an old post and notice some new comments.
        At least you didn’t spend money on this one since it was so disappointing. (Even though it sucks when books you’re excited for are disappointing.)

        Liked by 1 person

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