A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
What if Aladdin had never found the magic lamp?
George: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell is a new series for Disney that takes a well-loved animated film and turns it on it’s ear. In this case, Braswell gets to imagine what would have happened if Jafar, from Aladdin, had gotten his hands on the magic lamp. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I read the book after hearing Jeff talk about it.
Jeff: I received an advanced release copy, and was enthralled by the concept alone. Anything that deals with alternate views on history (or in this case, a fictional narrative we know quite well) has always fascinated me. Being as how Aladdin is one of my top animated films, I was curious to see how it would shake out.
George: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale is geared towards teens and adults, especially because it does stray heavily from the film. The characters are all there and they have the same motivations, but different things happen along the way. We truly get to see everyone in a different light, including the Genie, the Magic Carpet, Iago and Abu. Magic plays a vastly different role in this book and that’s where some of the darker parts come in.
Jeff: I was (pleasantly) surprised by HOW dark it got at times. I mean, I had to double check to see what the suggested reading age was for it, because that’s how dark it got. That said, I wasn’t upset at any of those changes. I really, really liked how the story played out, and how differently all of the characters were from what we are used to.
George: This is one of those books that we can’t tell you much about it! (Spoilers, sweetie!) Besides setting up the basic idea that Jafar actually gets the lamp, everything else is and should be a surprise. That being said, Braswell did a great job of keeping the feel of Agrabah, the Street Rats, and all of the characters. The point in which the story diverges doesn’t change the characters, except magnifying their personalities. There are also a few times when a main character is about to step over the line, so to speak. It’s very compelling to see how the story is shaped and moved.
Jeff: Speaking of, the point at which the entire story changes is intriguing. I was slightly bored for the opening bit, because it was, beat by beat, the same as the film. Braswell does a good job keeping the familiar familiar, and then completely turning everything on its head. Like George said, the characters are still the people you watched a million times, but seeing their reactions to these new situations never seems out of place for what they are.
George: Fans of Aladdin and, as Jeff mentioned, fans of alternate histories are really going to enjoy the book. It did start off slow, but as the characters and situations were introduced, the book picked up quickly. There are some moments with different characters that weren’t expected and were rather sad. those moments still added to the rich tapestry of the narrative. Even thought the book is for the teen market, adults are going to enjoy the story, as well.
Jeff: Agreed. I definitely recommend A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale, and really feel like this whole new world that Braswell created will stand up to the original as well. Definitely give it a shot, and see for yourself!