Lately I have been reading a great book series called A Twisted Tale. This series takes Disney animated movies and makes them darker. The first book in the series is called A Whole New World, this is based on the movie Aladin and uses the title of the main song from the movie as the title of the book. The premise of the book is: what if Aladin never found the lamp? While the premise of the book is right on the back cover of the book it feels like it is half lying to you. Aladin does find the lamp but Jafar immediately takes the lamp from him.
The best thing about this novel is it is age appropriate about war. This novel is considered to have young adults as its audience. Whenever the author, Liz Braswell, discusses war she always picks the phrasing for the audience. Additionally she doesn’t say it directly in the book. You get a sense that Braswell knows that every war is different and should be approached differently. The whole book is about the people of Agrabah rising up against a tyrant. As I read this, I felt like this could be the way a real rebellion would feel.
While I really enjoyed this book, there are two minor complaints that I have. The first complaint is Aladin feels too heroic. In the movie, you see him take advantage of the genie’s good nature and for a while he becomes a jerk because of it. In this book there is no indication that Aladin would do this to anyone, I would have liked just a hint of this trait. The second complaint I have is the use of zombies. Jafar decides to bring dead soldiers back from the grave. To me this should have been mind control. We have seen Jafar use mind control in the Aladin movies and with the topic of war being discussed I believe mind control would have been a better option.
While these two complaints bothered me, A Whole New World is still a fantastic book. I highly encourage any Disney fan to give this book a chance.
Matthew J. Croutch