13 August 2015

A Whole New World

Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales #1
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for an honest review.

I love the cover of this novel.  It drew me in almost immediately.  Add to it the fact that this is a retelling based on Aladdin, one of my favorite Disney movies, and I just had to read it.  Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

The first 1/4 of this novel is pretty much the same at the 90s Disney movie - sometimes borrowing the exact dialogue if I'm not mistaken - before Jafar gets the lamp and is able to chain the genie to his whim before Aladdin even has a chance at the lamp.  This leaves Jasmine out of sorts, as Jafar immediately puts himself into a position of power.  Instead, Jasmine and Aladdin's love story takes another form, in another location - with the Street Rats.

Basically, this books takes the tale I grew up on and craps all over it.  I thought I would like it because it's basically a fractured fairy tale, but instead it feels like someone started watching the movie and then proceeded to go off on a terrible tangent.  The plot and writing are both subpar, barely being what I would call professional writing.  Even the beginning part of the novel where the author didn't even have to drum up the plot isn't even that interesting or well written.  The entire time I was reading the novel, I felt like I could have been better off just watching the movie and saving myself some time.

I don't consider myself a purist, but I definitely didn't think this story lived up to being a part of the Aladdin story.  The characters are not developed, neither the original characters or the ones from the movie.  The dialogue is almost laughable at times, and the plot is taxing to get through.  Perhaps the story is better told through the screen or perhaps a better author with a better original idea is needed.  But either way, I would watch the movie instead of reading this alternate tale, which is an author's poor attempt to take a children's movie and turn it into a YA novel while still using most of the same characters.  It just isn't a formula that works in this case.

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