Thumbs up for A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. Young adult fantasy.
I am among the minority of people who thought this book was great. Aladdin is one of my favorite movies (and I’m not a Disney buff in general) so I was curious to see how it could be twisted. This retelling begins at the same place, but skews into alternate-universe ground a few chapters in when Jafar, not Aladdin, is the one who summons the genie. Jafar quickly takes over, enslaving the poor genie, doing terrible things to the carpet (seriously, I was Not Okay with that: and that’s why it was great), and generally making Agrabah a terrible place to be. Jasmine and Aladdin are left to run an insurrection with the help of Aladdin’s thief friends. I enjoyed this because, to be honest, it was exactly what I would have done if I’d been given the job. The content stays in tween-appropriate territory, as one would expect from Disney, but the author worked out the realistic ramifications of what was implied in the movie (if some people have to steal to eat, it’s because they’re starving) and didn’t skimp on the, well, logistics of insurrecting. My kind of thing, in other words. And the genie gets in some great lines. Very nicely done.
“Of course I care. You think I don’t care? For a snippy little princess you don’t actually seem so bad and yeah, I’d say your city is two shakes away from being a fascist dystopian nightmare. But—and pay close attention now—I have to do what [Jafar] says.”
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