Tuesday, 2 July 2019

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell: A Review

Summer is well and truly underway as is my summer reading challenge!

The third book I finished was...


A Whole New World book review header

As is the case with 99% of the books I own, I actually bought this years ago and have let it lay dormant ever since. But no longer because I have finally finished reading it and with that, I present to you: my book review of A Whole New World.


A Whole New World



A Whole New World by Liz Braswell book cover


Rating: ★★
Author: Liz Braswell
Publisher: Parragon Books
​First Published: 2016
Genre: Children's Fiction
Series: Twisted Tales #1
Format: Paperback (376 pages)


Synopsis



This isn't the story you already know. This is a story about power. About revolutionaries. About love. And about one moment changing everything...

Experience the first title in a thrilling series that puts a twist in much-loved tales, exploring what would happen if key turning points did not work out as planned.

With Jafar in possession of the lamp and determined to break the laws of magic and gain control over love and death, the deposed Princess Jasmine and Aladdin must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion to stop the new power-mad ruler. But their fight for freedom soon grows costly, threatening to tear the kingdom apart.



My Review



Is it just me or is children's fiction getting quite dark nowadays? Personally, I felt like the content was too deeply disturbing to be marketed as a children's book but then again when you consider The Hunger Games series, I suppose it's in line with that.

I actually found this reimagining of Aladdin to be a bit more disturbing than I would have liked so I'm not sure that I want to read any of the other titles within the Twisted Tales collection. That's just my gut reaction based on this one book.

On the front cover, there's a tagline that reads: "What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?"

This comes across as a bit misleading because technically Aladdin does find the lamp - he just hands it over to Jafar. (What a terrible mistake that was but more on that in a minute.)

As far as the plot goes, A Whole New World essentially reimagines the classic story of Aladdin that we all know and love and twists it into one where Jafar has control over the genie's powers and immediately proceeds to take over Agrabah.

If I'm honest, I really struggled to get into the story at first. I think a large part of that was because the first few chapters were more or less the beginning of the animated movie Aladdin - just without the singing and with a bit more contextual background thrown into the mix.

But as soon as Jafar seized control of Agrabah, the pace did pick up and so did my interest levels.

Even though the story is presented as being about Aladdin, I felt like the villainous Jafar stole the show (literally) from him. There's just so much Jafar.

Now hear me out, that's not a bad thing. I actually felt like the character development of Jafar was incredible, truly presenting him as this larger-than-life bad guy. 

I've picked a quote to share with you all just to reiterate how dark and disturbing his character actually is in this book:

"The sorcerer had gone from being an almost humorous villain to a madman of truly demonic proportions."

He is later described as "an insane, power hungry, evil... dictator with delusions of godhood." 

If you really take the time to think about it, he's not that unlike some of the dictators the world has seen over the last few centuries. The only real difference is that he's fictional and he's got his hands on some very powerful dark magic.

You can still find all of the things you love about Aladdin in A Whole New World; the genie's sense of humour, the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine against all the odds, the protective nature of Rajah and of course, the snarky Abu. But you will also find murder, torture, several decapitations, dark magic... oh and an army of zombies.

So...yeah.

Ultimately, I did enjoy reading this book but would have enjoyed it a lot more if certain things were a teeny bit more implicit such as the murder and torture scenes. I'm fairly sensitive to those kind of things and wasn't expecting a children's book to be quite so... graphic.

As a parent, I don't think I'd buy this for my child without first considering their sensitivity to those kinds of things. There's no indication that the content would be anything other than suitable for kids which I think makes it even more disturbing. Again, I wasn't expecting it and I doubt a child would be either.

So that's my review of A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. If you've enjoyed this review, you can find others just like it right here.

Have you read any of the Twisted Tales books? Let me know what you think of them in the comments below!
4 comments on "A Whole New World by Liz Braswell: A Review"
  1. I absolutely love Disney, but I have never read or heard of this book before. It was really refreshing to read such an honest review - seriously, thank you for being so honest. I'm similar to you when it comes to books. I'm not a fan of disturbing (torture/murder) scenes either! Although I wouldn't read this particular book, I enjoyed reading YOUR review on it. I hope you enjoy your next book :)

    Much love always,
    GABBY | www.gabbyabigaill.com

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    1. Thank you so much Gabby! That really means a lot.

      Definitely give this one a miss if you don't like those kinds of things.

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  2. I usually really enjoy fairytale re-tellings. And I'm a huge fan of dark books. I agree, this book does sound a *bit* dark for a children's read... But I'd definitely like to pick this up!

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    1. Thanks so much Jenny!

      I believe most of the Twisted Tales range is currently on offer in both Aldi and Asda so maybe you'll be able to pick it up sooner than you think!

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