Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Title: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale (Twisted Tales #1) 

Author: Liz Braswell
Publisher: 1 September 2015 by Disney Group Books
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: fantasy, young adult, fairytale retellings, Disney
My Rating: 1 cup
What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney's Aladdin. When Jafar steals the Genie's lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.
My Thoughts
Sitting down to write this review, it's difficult to come up with some positives to start with. Admittedly, there is a lot of action throughout and the plot moves along at a good pace. It's comforting, in some respects, to revisit familiar characters ... and that's about where it ends. 
The first quarter of this book is the movie, literally - just about word for word. That in itself is predictable and disappointing, unless of course, you would love a written version of the movie. I, however, found it rather boring. The problem then is, even when you get past that first 25% there really is no improvement - it's not engaging and really rather juvenile. Yes, it is 'young adult' but this really is just 'young' .... very young. For example, one interaction between Aladdin and Jasmine went along the lines of:
"We were catching up. Jealous?"
Maybe it is geared to a young audience, however this supposed 'twisted', 'dark' tale would not fit - even if I found it to be more 'off white' than dark. Instead it's filled with 'goofy' terminology where the plot is stated as:
"how about we not give Mr. Revengey-pants here ideas"
Were Disney prescriptive in how this was to be written? Was this meant to be a simple fan fiction retelling for Disney fans? Or did the author just fail to deliver? For apart from its immaturity, Braswell's characters were lacking depth, were very much one dimensional and stereotypical heroes and villains. 
"From naive, lonely princess to winner of hearts and minds in less than a month."
When the story was no longer just the movie - verbatim - it still wasn't engaging, with juvenile writing and the characters leaving a lot to be desired, overall, it was just plain yawn worthy. This is very disappointing as the whole concept of twisting it, making it darker was enticing but sadly fell flat - very, very flat. 
"Jasmine surveyed the scene around the room and found that she didn't even have the energy to cry. Death, mess, sadness, confusion all around. Not a good place to start."

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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