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Twisted Tales #1

A Whole New World

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What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

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.

376 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2015

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About the author

Liz Braswell

30 books4,879 followers
After the sort of introverted childhood you would expect from a writer, Liz earned a degree in Egyptology at Brown University and then promptly spent the next ten years producing video games. Finally she caved into fate and wrote Snow and Rx under the name Tracy Lynn, followed by The Nine Lives of Chloe King series under her real name, because by then the assassins hunting her were all dead. She also has short stories in Geektastic and Who Done It and a new series of reimagined fairy tales coming out, starting with A Whole New World—a retelling of Aladdin.
She lives in Brooklyn with a husband, two children, a cat, a part-time dog, three fish and five coffee trees she insists will start producing beans any day. You can email her at me@lizbraswell.com.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
July 17, 2015
A Whole New World, contrary to what I initially believed, is not really a retelling. Instead, it's more of a fan fiction that recreates the Disney film for the first approx. 25% - down to copying the exact dialogue in parts - but then changes a single element of the plot to spin the story in a new direction.

Being a fan of the Disney movie, I found myself saying some of the lines before the characters. And, the small prologue aside, we once again meet Aladdin in the market when he is stealing bread and being chased by the Sultan's guards - just like in the movie. He even says the same old line to Abu:
“All this for a loaf of bread?” Aladdin asked, exasperated.

It was actually painfully boring to read the parts that were an exact novelization of the film. Why bother when I can just watch the excellent Disney version instead?

But, yes, after about 25% the story changes when Jafar traps Aladdin underground (no magic lamp this time) and proceeds to take over and terrorize Agrabah with the genie. So, don't things get better after that? In one word: nope.

The novel is contradictory in that it's boring to read it having already watched the movie, but the story almost assumes the reader is familiar with the Disney characters. They are never developed beyond one-dimensional hero/villain/love interest archetypes. Jafar is nothing more than a pantomime antagonist. Aladdin has no personality beyond his desire to save everyone else.

Honestly, there is no reason to read this book. Haven't watched the Disney movie? Then go watch that instead. Have watched the Disney movie? Then go watch it again. I struggle to believe either fans OR newbies will find anything to love here. It moves from darkness and violence into cartoonish territory and back again, never quite becoming anything more than a mess.

And one more thing. Like most annoying, uncultured white people, my experience with Near East/former Ottoman Empire cuisine equates to basically... baklava. But if I was going to write a novel set in that area, I would at least do a bit of research. It's kind of cringy and embarrassing when a white person sets a book in the Near East and shows EVERYONE eating almost nothing but baklava. Just sayin'.

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Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
593 reviews3,542 followers
September 3, 2016
1.5 stars

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

I deleted my pre-review so you can't see, but I was super excited for A Whole New World. I put a gif with Aladdin throwing money and everything. I was ready to love it.

And it crushed that hope. Crushed it like Beyonce crushed at the VMAs.

Right up to 20%, practically one-fifth of the book, it was a near play-by-play replica of the Disney movie. Was this supposed to be an ad for the Disney movie? Because you don't need to sell me that shit. I watched it every day for an entire week when I borrowed the video cassette (90s, man) from the library. Aside from a few details like Aladdin's mom making a brief one-chapter appearance, it doesn't even attempt to differentiate itself from the source material. It shovels extra scenes in too, like Jafar throwing a very familiar parade after he becomes sultan.

The plot is nothing to write home about. It was juvenile and typical and foreshadows with the finesse of a hippo ballerina. For instance, it hints at an eventual betrayal by turning that character shifty and inspiring internal monologues: What's up with him? Why is he acting different? I'm sure it's nothing.

Fucking please. Give your readers some credit.

Juvenile is actually the best word to describe this book. The characters are sad two-dimensional paper dolls no different than their movie counterparts. Aladdin never experiences any hesitation in his goal to rescue Jasmine, even when normal human instinct is to run as damn far as you can in the opposite direction. He is a hero, dammit, and he must never not be heroic.

Genie is cheerfully snarky and uses references that shouldn't exist during that era, which really irritated me because a) it's a fantasy and modern slang should never appear and b) pay some respect to the culture that inspired it. Do some research. Aladdin was released when the public wasn't as conscious about this kind of thing. There's absolutely no excuse for it now.

And it never fails to remind us that Jafar is evil, yo. Every scene he's in, he's using an oily voice. The tower where he lives is encased in an "evil orange glow". When he laughs, "not evilly" has to be added because he obviously does it so often.

Jafar is the most squandered character in A Whole New World. So much more could have been done with him, to flesh him into a fully believable villain or even antihero. I would love if the whole thing was told from his point of view. We get glimpses of his backstory and thought process, which only proves that he's wasted potential. I still get a little shiver down my spine when I recall that scene where he's practicing dark magic in his evil lair and "talking" to Iago.

But the book decides to go the "crazy villain" route. He's evil because he's nuts. Thank you for fucking up Arabian culture and mental illness perceptions. An ambitious villain is someone I can understand. A crazy villain is cartoonish and cheap.

I mean, honestly. Just look at the stuff they say:

"And evil keeps going around," Aladdin swore angrily, storming out. "There's another way. You don't have to choose this life. You could be something more."

I can just hear an Alan Menken piece in the background. Most books abide by the same moral code, alright? I'm not mad at that. Prodigy or Champion, I don't remember which, has a similar scene where June is rebuking Thomas for being a dick and then compares him to Day, who suffered under pretty similar conditions, but "chose to walk in the light." Same sentiment, different words. (The writing is as nuanced as a crayon drawing, by the way)

But when you combine the good-and-right moral code with everything that's going on, it reinforces its lack of depth. So when Aladdin spits out a line like that, making sure there's an "angrily" there in case I'm too stupid to understand he's pissed, it's laughable. It's childish. It's cheesy.

We get a bit of grey morality with Rasoul, but that's it. The revolution goes off without a hitch and everyone who isn't Jafar lives happily ever after. The characters never struggled. It just felt like they were going through the motions. I never felt fear for them.

Extra 0.5 star goes to Jasmine gaining a bigger role as the revolution's leader, and the unexpectedly good twist on Jafar's final wish. Didn't see it coming and I give credit where it's due.

Everything else is blech. Just watch the Disney movie. It has catchy tunes and Robin Williams.

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,541 reviews9,837 followers
November 15, 2022

A Whole New World is the first book in the Twisted Tales series published by Disney Books.

I have always loved the Disney animated version of Aladdin's story, so was pretty hyped when I found out this book was an actual thing.

The first portion is a fairly strict novelization of the movie, but then...

...the twist!

Instead of Aladdin awakening the genie, Jaraf does. The consequences of this one change, as you can imagine, are not good.

The second half really picks up with Aladdin, Jasmine and friends teaming up to defeat Jafar and free Agrabah from his demonic rule, including an army of the walking dead.

That's right, zombies!

The writing felt a bit too simple for my tastes, but there was a lot of action and overall, it was a quick, fun read.

I would recommend if you love all things Aladdin and are looking for bonus content.
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,116 followers
August 1, 2015
What a disappointment this book turned out to be.

You know, when I requested for this book, I did it because I was really, really expecting a Disney movie retelling (wait, is that even allowed? Isn't there supposed to be some copyright thingy about modifying a well-known commercial masterpiece into something else? Can some lawyer clarify this for me, please?!) that would literally bring me a whole new world. You see, there is something that books can do better than movies - one of them is characterization. With a book, you can get into the deepest psyche of the characters and really get to know them in a more personal and intimate level; we'll be able to know more why they feel a certain why or how their feelings or other external factors weigh in their actions and decisions.

Unfortunately, there were none of that here. The book relied on the fact we already knew Aladdin and Jasmine and Rafah and Jafar and then left it as that, portraying them instead as very one-dimensional characters with no substantial character development. Believe what the others say - 25% of this book was a cut-and-paste of the original movie, 75% was fanfic material. If you're into that sort of thing, then this would be right up your alley. This book asked the question, "What if it was Jafar who got the lamp and the genie and the wishes?" Interesting question - I could come up with a thousand scenarios stemming from that, but the book just had to go towards the predictable, cliché route, with cardboard, uninspiring characters, to boot.

Like seriously, we don't even really get to know Jafar's story, or why he wished the things he wished, or why he was the way he was. This was about what if it were Jafar who got the lamp, and yet, there were no dedicated chapters about him? What the bloody heck?! We already know what Aladdin would have done if he got the lamp; since it's going to be Jafar this time, why not give him more of the spotlight? Why do we have to have a rehash of this romance between Aladdin and Jasmine, which we have already witnessed in the fricking original movie, which we all have watched a million times already?! WHERE IS THE BLOODY FUN IN THAT?! I just don't get it - here's the chance to get to know Jafar and all the spotlight is on Aladdin and Jasmine. What we get then was a boring-ass antagonist who was evil because he was evil. And when it was the time to give us a reason why he was doing the things he did, it wasn't from his perspective or anything, it was from the main characters themselves, talking amongst themselves why they thought he did what he did.
"Because that's what he wants," she explained. "More than anything, Jafar seems to want to be loved and admired - that's why he has those parades, and gives all the coins out, and make those speeches from the balcony. He wants everyone, including me, to love him."

What the heck?! Are you guys Dr. Phil now?!


I just found it incredibly lazy. It didn't show us this development or these info, it simply told us just like that. And not from the POV of the antagonist, to boot! Uuugh...

Even then, let us do say that it was never intended to show a more complex side of Jafar. It was all meant to be for Aladdin and Jasmine and how they went their way to start a rebellion to take back the Sultanate of Agrabah. I'd still say it was disappointing as hell because like I previously mentioned, there was absolutely zero character development. Aladdin sees Jasmine for the first time and he falls in love. I know he kinda does the same in the movie, but I kind of expected more from this book, that it would at least try to give us a more meaningful and fulfilling romance. Sure, it had ample action, but without the emotional connection to the characters, how would I ever feel the tension and the urgency? Not to mention, the twists were so, so uninspiring that it felt anti-climactic. Like, wow, the great plan was to do BIG ACTION A in order to disguise STEALTHY ACTION B?! Hah, I so didn't see THAT coming.

All in all, it was a disappointing book. As Emily May stated in her review, it feels like a fanfic, and I have to agree with her. You're better off with watching the movie instead, at least it has songs.
Profile Image for Francesca.
100 reviews101 followers
June 27, 2017
My actual rating is 3.5 stars but I rounded up to 4 for a few reasons.

1. Because of how much I enjoyed reading it. Is it a masterpiece of literature? No. But do you know what it is? FUN!


2. Because it has an insane amount of bad ratings and reviews. Seriously. Most of the other reviews seem to feel like this about the book:


which is fair enough. It's certainly not going to appeal to everyone. However, it is incredibly rare that I am on the side of liking something that everyone else seems to hate. I'm usually on the other side of this fence. I'm usually the one hating the books everyone loves and feeling bad about it. Not to mention the fact that this is the kind of book that I should dislike. It's not something I expected to like, certainly not as much as I do, and yet here we are.

3. Because the first part of the book is basically the entire first part of the Disney movie, nearly word for word, and that seems to have been part of the issue for some people but, for me personally, I actually loved that. It gave me a feeling of comfort and put a big cheesy grin on my face. I liked that it gave it the feeling of 'hey, I know this story' to then be contrasted with the 'whole new world' (not even sorry) once the 'sliding doors' type moment occurs and takes the rest of the story in a different direction. When the story changed, I was genuinely gripped. I wanted to see how things turned out, wanted to find out what would happen and it was such an enjoyable 'magic carpet' ride (no, I will not stop). My favourite street rat was still being his charming, cheeky, witty self and my badass princess who won't take anyone's crap and stands up for what she believes in was still stomping all over the patriarchy, kicking ass and taking names.


The other familiar characters were all there and there were new characters who I really enjoyed. I loved the development of the dictatorship and I liked how poverty was explored through Jasmine having her eyes opened to it and the fact that we spent more of the story with the street rats rather than among the royals. The progression of Jafar and how he ruled was interesting. Seeing the way he gained trust and tricked people into thinking he was on their side only to then take everything away (I mean, who does that remind you of?).

4. Because overall, it just all worked for me and I really liked it.


Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
September 1, 2015
Pre-read: Man, I want to read this so badly that it's not even funny.

"What if Jafar were the first one to summon the Genie", you say?

(note: this pre-review has no affiliation with Disney or this book, but I'm just entirely speculating)


Iago: Ooh, ooh, ooh! I know, lemme answer this one. PLEASE, I am BEGGING you.

Aladdin: (rubs the back of his neck) I don't think I wanna know the answer to this question...or Iago's answer either.

Iago: Come ON! I know this one! I'm raising my wing and getting wing cramps over here! CHOOSE ME to answer already!

Genie: Iago, you sound just a teensy bit too happy over there...

Iago: I'm just thinking that if Jafar had gotten the lamp before Mr. Goody-two-shoes prince over here, MAYBE I'd have my own palace, maybe I'd have my own entourage, maybe I'D have MY three wishes and get my own story. Is that too much to ask?

Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, and Abu: YES.

Iago: ...You guys kill my fun every single time.



Iago: 2-stars?!! Whadd'ya mean, 2 stars?! This was supposed to be EPIC, this was supposed to be EVIL! I expected explosions, blood, creepiness, take over the world kinda action!

Aladdin: Iago, calm down - 2 stars is not the end of the world, it just means that it wasn't...well, the best thing ever in the seven deserts. It had some good things...some bad, probably more bad than good, but it could've been worse? Maybe?

Jasmine: I'm not sure if any of this was as big as the original story/work it was based on. Besides, Iago, why would you even defend this book if you weren't even in the story most of the time? You were only there to show Jafar's manic moods anyway.

Iago: ...That's low. That's REALLY low.

Genie: Uh, kids, spoiler warning much?

Aladdin: Right, uh - I guess we'll have to talk about this later. See you guys in a little while.

(Reviewer's note: I'll think on this one a little bit and then decide how I'm going to write it, but overall - it didn't live up to it's potential really - mostly because the first 20% of the story was a rehash of the original movie with incorrect or awkwardly added details, then when the new material kicked in - the characters were underdeveloped and the conflict was conflated more than what the actual stakes in the story were. It had some cool moments and ideas, but they weren't organized enough to carry the story forward. Full review to come.)

Full review:

I'm going ahead and writing it because as much as I anticipated and was excited by the idea and promise of this title, the actual story I read left me feeling more neutral than anything else. There were some awesome ideas here and potential aims for the characters and conflict, but the delivery...not so much.

As you can probably tell by my pre-review comments, I really enjoy the Disney's Aladdin franchise - the movies, the characters, the TV series, the people who were a part of it, etc. - I grew up with it being one of my most watched and favorite Disney movies. The last time I watched the original movie was about a year ago - it brings back fond memories. So when I heard about Disney releasing a YA series with a series of "twisted" tales based on beloved Disney movies and stories, I was pretty much like "Bring it!!!" And to start the series with one of my favorite movies with the villain being the main player in the story - I was doing more mental fireworks than the Genie was in the movie when he realized he was free.

But the experience of reading "A Whole New World" wasn't really that new at all, unfortunately. The first problem was that 20-25% of the first part of the novel was something of a direct play-by-play of the movie with embellished (and often not funny or immersive) details leading up to when Jafar gets the lamp. You already know the story if you've watched the Disney movie, and I'd venture a guess the purpose of this series is not to introduce the story but appeal to people who already know the story of Aladdin (or the other twisted tales to follow). I don't think it needed the space of 20-25% of the novel doing that play-by-play because it made the story extremely tedious to slog through. I'll commend Braswell - at least - for the prologue because that was an all too brief eye into Aladdin's life as a boy (if you know the story of Howard Ashman and the writing of the song "Proud of Your Boy" for the original movie - you'll know that there were plans to go into Aladdin's boyhood, but they had to take it out for the sake of the story.)

But honestly, if you took out that 20-25% of the novel, there'd be nothing missing from it and readers would probably be thankful for it, because it was a slog even for me to get through (and I imagine a teen would probably be like "Pfft, I know this already; this is boring"). And it often got many of the details from the movie wrong if it were actually being included for the sake of consistency (i.e. Jasmine getting half an apple in the story, versus in the movie getting a whole one from Aladdin during their first meeting in his hiding place). So what was the purpose of the retracing?

When the story actually gets to the part of the premise that's advertised for the book, that's where the potential of the story took off, but at a cost. There were some dark moments, and I think the only original character from the movie that Braswell got right on the money was Jafar. Iago was barely a character (which - with as much personality as Iago has, that was kind of a waste), Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie had moments where they resembled their original characters, but their newer incarnations were much harder to follow because of a severe lack of development. And that's what made the following story feel so...empty for me. I loved the overarching concept and aim but the execution of the writing of the story and the dynamic between the characters felt either forced or lacking for the promise of the potential story. Even the character deaths felt empty in places (which I think some people are going to be surprised by how quick they happen and to whom it happens).

In the end, a read that I was aptly excited and enthused about ended up not being able to carry the imaginative promises it purported to have. That's not to say I won't follow this series though, because I think it has a ton of potential to work with. I just hope that the journey's more dynamic and immersive in future stories than this one was.

Overall score: 2/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Disney Book Group/Disney Press.
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
June 16, 2015
DNF at 49%

The first 25% was EXACTLY like the movie—frame by frame, line by line. It's like someone sat there watching the movie describing EVERY scene to me and regurgitating EVERY line of dialogue.

I get that this was an Aladdin retelling, but couldn't there have been some more variance? Yeesh.

At 25% things finally branch off into a totally new direction (that "what if" factor). But it didn't get any better...

* The characters were LITERALLY cardboard. Zero passion, zero development, zero everything. They just existed and that's it. They were not fleshed out at all.

* Javar was the villain, obviously, but he felt more like a background character. He seemed so hollow and not scary :/

* Everything about the book felt more middle grade than YA. There was no depth, no intensity, no epicness. It was more like a somewhat ridiculous case of, "Our band of teenagers will DEFEAT EVIL SAVE THE WORLD!" I love YA but I've outgrown middle grade and this felt very much like something that I'd outgrown.

* The romance was insta-lovey. Or at least insta-crushy. It's like that in Aladdin, I know, but for some reason it feels totally okay in the movie. But in a book, I expect more. With more pages and more room for development, I want to see a better, slower, more thought out romance.

I was curious to see how the story would turn out, but to be honest, I just wasn't enjoying it at all. I was dragging my feet and finally got tired of it.
Profile Image for Hannah McBride.
Author 13 books850 followers
April 24, 2015
This is the book 10YO Hannah has been begging for. If you were fans of Disney's Aladdin movie, you're going to LOVE this book.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
February 2, 2018
Actual rating 2.5/5 stars.

This is the first instalment in a series of Disney retellings, penned by Liz Braswell. A Whole New World is the story of what would have happened to Aladdin if he were not the one to lay his hands on the magical lamp and acquire the power of the genie.

This, true to its design, had a true Disney feel to it. I'm not sure if I could really appreciate the comical cheesiness, that Disney does so well, in the written format, however. I grew accustomed to this style of penmanship and liked how authentic to the Disney movie this still remained, despite the clear narrative differences, but am not sure if it was wholly to my tastes. The jovial tone made for a fun reading experience but one bereft of any deeper emotion, for me, as I found I could not feel much empathy or tension.

I really appreciated the ending of this, however, and the last 70 or so pages were my favourite of the whole book. The intensity I found lacking in earlier segments was finally included and the ending was the one I was hoping for. I still can not say I was super invested as many tense scenes were infused with jovial comments or sarcasm, which did not gel with the alternative emotions the characters should have been experiencing, but this did conclude on a more positive note, for me.
Profile Image for Selene.
596 reviews134 followers
February 7, 2017
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you NetGalley and Disney Press for the advanced reading copy of A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. I can't wait to start this book and hope that I enjoy it after all those low reviews!

The first book in A Twisted Tale trilogy is a dark rendition of Aladdin. This story is about Jafar who steals a genie lamp. He uses his first two wishes to become sultan of Agrabah and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. The citizens of Agrabah live in fear of Jafar's final wish. Aladdin and Jasmine team together in a fight for freedom to unite the people of Agrabah in a rebellion which leads to a civil war.... Stop right there... Why are we rehashing Jasmine and Aladdin?! Why not take this opportunity to get a better look at Jafar's character rather than retell me a love story I already know.

The tag line for this book was:
"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."

This book and that tag line are a true disappointment. It was sadly (like many before me said already) exactly like the movie Aladdin for the first 25%. If Disney didn't own the rights to this book it would be pure plagiarism. I don't know if I noticed this mostly because I rewatched the Aladdin movie in preparation for reading this book.

This was a really dull read with no depth or intensity which is unfortunate because the author had an opportunity to create something really wonderful. As some people have already pointed out this book felt like copyright and fanfiction, which just isn't my thing. I highly doubt I will continue with this series. This is nothing like the recreation of the Disney Classic I had in mind.
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews288 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 18, 2017
DNF at 37%

I will rant later ....

but just know ....

that I don't DNF lightly ... and yet here we are.
Profile Image for Tina ➹ Woman, Life, Freedom.
396 reviews399 followers
December 1, 2020
3 Silver Stars
With Golden Sparks

I always enjoy reading the written version of the stories I loved watching on the screen. I’d like to see my favourite characters on paper. Though they mostly are not as good as the original ones -either because of lack of the songs or the subtle changes in the plot- but they are enjoyable nonetheless.
So of course it cannot be compared to real Aladdin (my nostalgic Disney favourite cartoon) but this one was good, I guess I didn’t have high expectations (because of experience & reviews) might helped me enjoy more.
So I liked it.

A Fractured Retelling of the famous fairytale that happened in Agrabah long time ago.
same world, same society, same main characters with a lot of other characters.
With one change:
What if Aladdin couldn’t own the Lamp?

The society, the culture, the history were built well.

The characters were funny & believable. (& almost like the original ones); Jasmine was good in general, but sometimes annoyingly stubborn (so I felt betrayed in this matter, I love her in the cartoon, strong & wise), I liked Aladdin & of course Abu, I laughed at Genie’s sarcasm & he was sweet.

The writing style was good, sometimes fun.
The descriptions were beautiful.
But Slow pace was my actual problem, explaining some unnecessary meetings with too much talking & lack of any progress & the whole plot been dragged, which I found unusual for a standalone. & After a while, it wasn’t as interesting as the moment I started. The beginning was great, but then turned out to be Repetitive, without enough excitement.
The plan was kind of stupid, but ending was exciting.
I also didn’t like the chapter titles.

it’s an art to change an element (as big & spicy as that, can be considered a turning event, a climax) in such a famous story & able to turn it to another brilliant, memorable story.
So I will read the rest of the Twisted Tales, to know how it might turn out if those big factors had been changed. it's a new experience, I’m curious & as I said at the beginning of this review, I like to read these kinds of stories.

Plot: ★★★/5
(Pace: ★★/5- Excitements, actions: ★★(★)/5)
World Building: ★★★(★)/5
Characters: ★★★/5
Written style: ★★★/5
General idea: ★★★(★)/5
Profile Image for Stephanie (Bookfever).
984 reviews113 followers
September 10, 2015
I didn't like A Whole New World at all. I'll even go so far as to say that it's one of the worst books I have read this year so far. It really pains me to say so but this book was really a disappointment.

A huge part of this book was just like the movie. Maybe that isn't so bad but I was just so bored by it. Once the author started twisting the story it was less predictable but equally boring to me. The thing I disliked the most was the writing. It wasn't good at all. It was way too colorless and lacked some kind of depth.

The characters were colorless as well. Especially Aladdin and Jasmine. The conversations between them didn't feel natural and I felt myself not wanting to read about them at all. At this point I was more interested in reading about Jafar, to be honest. At least there was a little bit of excitement with him because he's so evil. Really, I didn't enjoy reading about any of the characters.

I guess it's a good concept, reimagining classic Disney stories but it could've been written better, I think, and without making the characters so flat and uninteresting. So yeah, this book wasn't the right one for me, per se. I do hope others will enjoy it more than I did but I wouldn't recommend it.
Profile Image for ☣Lynn☣.
743 reviews203 followers
October 22, 2015
After read:

This just proves that something is wrong with me. I really liked this one, a book that EVERYONE hates. And I do mean EVERYONE. I can't even find a four or even a three star review in the sea of one and two stars. I totally get why people hated this. Hell, I'd hate the fuck outa this if I read it last year. I'm trying not to be so picky and critical anymore. It's no fun picking out every fucking thing that bugs you while you read.

Anyway...I think what bugged most people was that for the first 25% of the book is basically play by play from the movie. I thought I'd hate it too, but honestly it worked for me. Could the author have gone in a different route? Sure. But she didn't and that's ok with me.

I did have some problems with the book.

1. The pacing towards the middle so soo slow. Towards the end it picks up a lot.

2. Insta love. I know in the movie Aladdin and Jasmine fall quickly but in the book it just irritated me. Insta love in books suck. Movies I'm ok with...some of the time..

3. Where the fuck was Iago?? I think he was in like one scene...

4. I don't think Jafar would have called someone "buddy"..

I think what I liked most was how evil Jafar was in this and how dark the book is. I mean Jafar and heads are cut off and things get very violent. Yumm

I will admit that I'm a tad bit disappointed that this didn't blow me away like I wanted it to. But I'm glad I didn't hate it like everyone else.

My tip to anyone who wants to give this a go: don't start this thinking you know you will hate this. Forget the negative reviews and go into this with a clear and positive mind. Who knows, you might just enjoy it.

Happy reading

Before read:

I fucking love Aladdin!!! Why is it that all the books I want to read don't come out till later in the year......
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
February 1, 2016
DNF at 55%.

Honestly? I hated the film. Absolutely hated Aladdin, the little thieving... Ahem. But I'll give this a chance. Twisting the story like the blurb promises? Sounds awesome.

Only it wasn't.

For a start, the first quarter of the story is exactly like that bloody film. EXACTLY LIKE IT. If I wanted to read fanfiction, I head on over to some fanfic site.

This book just grated on me.

I didn't like the tone, I didn't like the characters and I absolutely did not enjoy reading it.

Such a shame :(

But I will give the other Twisted Tales books a go in future. Just in case.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
Profile Image for Thibaut Nicodème.
579 reviews134 followers
Shelved as 'potential-snark'
November 6, 2015
Half of my interest is just jumping on the bandwagon.

The other half is because of the series title.

Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
981 reviews500 followers
May 3, 2020
I was so excited to start this book because I loved previous Disney novelisations I had read. This one was crap. Genuinely so disappointed.

It just didn’t have any oomph in it..does that make sense? It told a story that could have been amazing and twisted and shocking but instead it was just so incredibly lacklustre.

The characters were never really rounded out into believable people. The story was just this happened, then this, then this.

The beginning was the best part as it followed the movie.

This book had so much potential overall but it just ended up letting me down dramatically.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews839 followers
August 3, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Book One of the Twisted Tales series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

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.

What I Liked:

Yikes! This could have gone a lot better. If you've seen the movie Aladdin (1992), then you're set. This book isn't necessary at all, if you've watched the movie. And even if you haven't watched the movie... there are issues with this book that are issues that I have that have to do with the writing, the structure, the plot, the basic development. This wasn't a good story, and it wasn't a good book based off the movie. Whatever it was, it wasn't great.

Aladdin is a Street Rat, born and raised in the streets of Agrabah. One day, the princess decides to take a stroll in the market. Aladdin rescues her from getting her hands cut off. She tells him that she is running away from home, because her father is going to force her to marry someone. Then Aladdin is whisked away to Jafar, who has him get the lamp from the cave in the desert, by trickery. Aladdin survives, Jafar gets the lamp, and makes two wishes - to be the sultan, and to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Together, Aladdin and Jasmine must rally the Street Rats and people of Agrabah in order to defeat Jafar and take back the city.

Well. I did actually finish this book, which is a plus. I notice a slew of DNF reviews on Goodreads, so I thought I'd point out that at least I managed to finish the book! I'm not in the habit of DNF-ing, but still. This book wasn't so awful that even I couldn't finish it.

It's really similar to the movie, which I guess could be a good thing or a bad thing. I'm looking at it as a bad thing, but hey, another reader out there might be delighted that there is a new publication of Aladdin in book form, with a slightly different spin, too! Not me though. Read on.

What I Did Not Like:

The writing style was VERY trivial - juvenile, as a friend of mine said. And there was so much modern jargon, which was REALLY detracting from the feel of the story. Too many modern phrases (or attempts at modern phrases) for my taste. This is supposed to be a fantasy novel, with magic and sultans and sorcerers and genies. Nowhere is this supposed to have even a hint of modern-day contemporary world-building or aspects or anything. To my knowledge.

And back to the writing in general - poor, at best. I couldn't take the writing seriously, because it seemed choppy and almost conversational, but not a good kind of conversational. Like a conversational with someone that isn't telling the story well. It was like the author was trying too hard for this book to be fun and light and cute... but it just seemed silly and poorly written.

This book is so similar to the movie, I might as well have just popped the movie in and watched. But this book was way worse - the movie is amazing and cannot be touched, but this book doesn't come anywhere close to the movie.

And separate the book from the movie - this book would still be painful, with the choppy, childish writing style, the poorly development characters, the sloppy romance. I'll get to that in a minute.

I didn't feel like Jasmine or Aladdin grew very much, as characters. Jasmine, maybe, because she stopped being spoiled for about ten minutes so she could save the world. The thing is, Braswell does a lot of telling, and not showing. The same goes with Aladdin's character development.

Not to mention - I still don't understand how a group of Street Rats (CHILDREN) defeated the greatest sorcerer in the world. I'm struggling to understand this. This book is supposed to be a Young Adult book, right? It seemed so poorly constructed, maybe for young kids, ages seven to ten or something. How in the world did CHILDREN defeat Jafar?! Logically, it doesn't make sense. There were a lot of cartoon moments in this novel, where I thought to myself, a REAL "villain" wouldn't just STAND there, or wouldn't do THIS, or wouldn't not do THAT, etc.

The romance is so sloppy! So much insta-love going on! From the start, it's attraction at first sight, which is FINE. But the relationship does not develop at all. Braswell does a lot of telling us about the relationship, but not showing. I don't know how Aladdin and Jasmine grew to trust each other or even like each other. It was instantaneous? Not good enough for me.

Cookie cutter perfect ending! As one would probably expect. I feel like this book would have made a great Middle Grade novel. But not necessarily YA.

Would I Recommend It:

I wouldn't recommend this novel. Even if you love fantasy (like me). Even if you liked Aladdin (1992) the movie (like me). Or even if you have not seen the movie - just watch the movie, you don't need to read this book. This book is so unnecessary - it's not even a GOOD representation of movie. Or whatever it is supposed to be.


1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. I think it's generosity at this point, and the fact that I was mostly entertained while reading. Notice I never said anything about boredom. I may read the next book in the series, especially the books are companion novels. There may be hope yet!
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,336 reviews1,017 followers
January 12, 2019
I grew up watching the Aladdin cartoon, it’s still one of my favourite Disney movies and I absolutely adore Robin Williams as the genie. Then last year I went to see the Aladdin musical with friends and I walked out of the theatre in the mood for Aladdin in book form, I knew A Whole New World was a twisted version of the story and it sounded like it would hit the spot perfectly so I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The beginning of this book follows the movie pretty much word for word, apart from a little extra from Aladdin’s childhood fans of the cartoon will easily be able to picture events as they unfold so I can understand why some people have said the beginning is a little on the slow side. That didn’t stop my enjoyment at all because it was exactly what I’d picked up this book hoping for.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Twisted Tale if the story stayed exactly the same as the original though and it doesn’t take long for the story to go in a completely different direction. What would have happened if Jafar had stolen the lamp before Aladdin had discovered the genie and made his wishes? Well you’re going to have to read the book for yourself to find out that but it does involve a street rat and a princess who join together to lead a revolution.

I really enjoyed Liz Braswell’s take on such a familiar story and I’m looking forward to seeing how she twists other familiar fairytales on their head.


This has the potential to be absolutely EPIC if it's done right!

Please, please let it be done right. I LOVE Aladdin & will be gutted if it all goes horribly wrong!
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 39 books8,966 followers
February 11, 2016
The beginning starts off in a very similar fashion to the film. It was so close, it was like I was reading the screenplay, but then it veered sharply right after the Cave of Wonders. This is a much blacker, much more dangerous Jafar. If you thought he was creepy in the Disney movie you'd better prepare yourself. I liked seeing a more mature Aladdin and Jasmine but its also sad in a way. This book brings being a Street Rat into sharp focus and its not all singing and making buffoons of the soldiers. A very interesting adaptation.
Profile Image for ♡ F a n n y ♡.
187 reviews80 followers
January 23, 2023
No siento que sea malo pero tenia demasiado relleno y no siento que haya sido un “cambio en la historia” porque casi todo lo qué pasó sucede en la película o en la versión real
Sumándole que tenía mucho texto y muy pocos diálogos
A lo mejor porque no es mi historia favorita pero en definitiva no lo sentí necesario, tal vez me hubiese gustado ver mas protagonismo de Jasmine o un poco mas de lucha
Se centró en definitiva en algo mas de tipo “resistencia” solo no lo disfrute pero no digo que sean un mal libro.

No sugeriría comenzar esta serie de libros.
En general no tuve la esencia de Aladdin y paso desapercibida Jasmine, también me hubiese gustado conocer el pasado de Jafar y ninguna de esas cosas me lo dio este libro.
Profile Image for Cody.
204 reviews631 followers
July 17, 2015
“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…”

That is if you haven’t seen the Disney movie.

So we're given a character role reversal in which Jafar is the first to summon the genie however the whole scenario leading up to this moment is virtually the same; Aladdin is tricked into retrieving the lamp by Jafar (disguised as an old beggar) which is located in a stone tiger cave in the desert.

Jafar is pretty much still the evil power hungry villain so his first wish is to obviously become Sultan and rule all of Agrabah. In all of his madness he also wants to be loved willingly by his people and his soon to be wife Princess Jasmine.


We are still treated to some of Aladdins most loved characters such as Abu, the magic carpet and even Iago to some extent. The new twist novel promises more action but I was still waiting for the story to become darker than the original and although we do get this in some violent scenes, it still wasn’t enough for me. From a certain point onwards this book followed the film and then turned into a typical hero/heroine trying to defeat the villain and save the world.

I really did enjoy delving back into this world with magic carpets rides, magic wishes/genies and being able to relive some of my favourite parts of the Disney film but if you were looking something different then I wouldn’t recommend this. This book was fast paced, had lots of action which left little room for an actual romance (boo!) and a chance to relive some childhood memories of heroes and villains and of course a certain tiger... I think it was the promise of unique difference and just 'more' which didn't come across to me that forced my rating down but otherwise it was an entertaining read. I will be keeping an eye for future releases in the Twisted Tales series as I love Disney movies and books, who doesn't?

Literary-ly Obsessed, Twitter
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,633 followers
August 3, 2022
Starts out EXACTLY like the movie, but then . . . then it twists, and we see what Jafar planned to do with the lamp all along. A lot grittier than the film, really bringing to light the plight of the average people of Agrabah, while the Sultan and Jafar and Jasmine are inside their gilded palace. I feel like this one was less mystical and more logical of a "twist" than Once Upon A Dream, and I thought it was very interesting how she wrote the genie, since so much of the genie's dialogue was improvised by Robin Williams.
Profile Image for Evelin.
230 reviews20 followers
May 20, 2021
I’ve been really looking forward to the release of the newer series of Twisted Tales, just because this series has become a real love and it’s always a real experience to get caught up and lose between the lines. It was no different with Aladdin. Not only did the cover become beautiful, not to mention the purple edge painting, but the story was also incredibly exciting and eventful. For the first time in this volume, I felt that events took a darker, more sinister turn, and that’s why I loved it so much.

The first few chapters of the volume proceed in the usual course. We can get to know the characters, the world and the city of Agrabah, what life is like there and who Aladdin really is. Then, as we step out of the usual channel, we get a really overcast, imaginative plot full of more interesting turns than interesting, with a much darker worldview than we could get used to, while at the same time the already familiar and popular mood remains. Where you need it, you are completely impressed by the volume, but where you need it, it makes you think. I was also very much looking forward to this part because I have always been very interested in what would have happened if the lamp had not stayed with Aladdin but ended up in the hands of Jafar. I was terribly glad that this thread was snatched out by the writer and outlined for us. Not only because an evildoer is the driving force behind the volume, but also because there are so many possibilities in it, and Liz Braswell has undoubtedly exploited them. Those who love the original story like me may find this volume weird at first, but I personally loved it. Not only does it read itself, but it is also light, and you swallow it in almost no time. It was a long time ago that I last read 350 pages in one day, but during One New Experience it worked.

It is very addictive and your brain clicks all the way to what the end of the story will be, what new twists and turns will cross your path and the inability to pay attention to what is going on for even a minute, as the volume of the volume is very fast, does not take much time to think, but in return is beautifully crafted and increasingly exciting from chapter to chapter. There’s no part I can’t attach to the captivating label because for me, this volume embodied all the thoughts I had already thought of when I first saw the tale or just the movie, but it didn’t shock me in one or two places.

Without any spoilers, I can say that in addition to the genie, other "creatures" appear, and even if it was weird at first, then you get used to it and all its weirdness disappears. In addition, as we move more and more towards the end of the volume, we also get an explanation of Jafar’s behavior and see not only his power-hungry side, but also that he is also a man and has already suffered a loss. But going back to the story: I really liked the fact that the writer solved the task creatively and I even believed that the events could have happened that way.

I’m a visual type, and while reading, the plot spun before my eyes, and it was completely like I was re-watching the tale, only this time the events turned out differently and I got a completely different story with it. I also liked that where I had to, the volume was cruel, not afraid of either blood or death, and that’s why I only recommend this part to those over 16 years old. It forms a completely different line than the previous published volumes, however, looking at it with an adult head, this is exactly what I expected of him to be different from the others, not to be afraid to say things and not to be cruel.

In addition to all this, unfortunately, the thread of love dwarfed and the love of Jasmine and Aladdin did not come through, it became too fast, uncollected and unfounded. I didn’t feel the vibration between them and yes, it can be felt at first, but then it completely disappears and this instant love line didn’t come through. However, the character of the characters remained the same and was not drastically changed by the writer so that I would not have known them. The volume is especially good for Jasmine, as she becomes a real badass heroine who takes her fate into her own hands and doesn’t let others tell her what to do, who to spend her time with and who to fall in love with.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,652 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 19, 2015
Pages read: 25

Yeah, no. I'm going to spend my time on better stuff than this.

A Whole New World is basically a novelization of the animated Aladdin. If I want to watch Aladdin, I'll just watch Aladdin. I come to retellings for something new. I know, I know, Jafar's going to get the lamp first, and maybe something original will happen that. I can't vouch for that obviously.

What I can say is that, in the chapters I read, the characters are flatter than the animated characters on my tv. I get the feeling the reader's just supposed to fill in the personalities from the movie, which again why would I bother with the book then? All that's been added so far is that Aladdin had a sweet mom who died.

Also, what's really killing me is that it's written in oddly overblown language, contrasting with the flatness. Chapters open with sentences like this:

Perhaps there was a moon in the sky somewhere, but her brother the sun ruled now, and everything faded into the whiteness of the hot day—which was even hotter on a glaringly bright sun-bleached roof.

Or this:

Evening came: the sun began its downward journey, the moon prepared to rise, and Aladdin woke from his afternoon nap.

Listen, I think teenagers know about times of day and where the sun and moon might be. These pretensions to fanciness are frustrating when they really don't fit with anything going on.

Go rewatch Aladdin instead.
Profile Image for Sophia Sardothien.
155 reviews519 followers
May 4, 2015
Thank you Netgalley and Disney press for sending me this book in exchange of an honest review

Personally I can't really get through this book... The narration was a bit immature for me.

Star Rating System:
5 stars: LOVE LOVE LOVE The book is perfect
4 stars: LIKE LOVE LIKE The book is amazing but has it's flaws
3 stars: OKAY LIKE OKAY The book is interesting enough to read but did not love it
2 stars: NAH OKAY NAH The book is boring but manage to read it
1 stars: NAH NAH NAH The book is poor did not like it a bit
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