Recently, I finished reading a book by Miss Liz Braswell, an English-born American who began her career developing video games before becoming a young-adult fiction writer. While it’s not totally up-to-date you can find her at her website, The Messy Desk. She most famously known as her alter-ego Celia Thomson, author of “The Nine Lives of Chloe King” series.
Her most recent book is the one I happened to pick up. Published this past September 1st (2015) by Disney Press, “A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale” is a re-take on the Disney Classic version of the Aladdin tale.
Now, my last book review was on “A Frozen Heart” by Elizabeth Rudnick (and, although it was a short review, you can find it here in my “Back to Blogging (Finally)!” post) which was also published by Disney Press. While I am always skeptical about a corporation like Disney taking a new crack at expanding or expounding on their original telling of a story, books like these are interesting to pick up and read, regardless of any contradictions that may arise. (Unless of course you’re a die-hard fan determined to never see any of the Disney-verse movies changed from their original storylines).
Haha, see how I did that, with the Aladdin gif. Yeah, I’m clever.
Pulling back, this book asks a question of great importance, which Goodreads was clever enough to point out: “What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed?”
Liz Braswell’s version of the Disney Aladdin tale takes a much darker turn. When Aladdin retrieves the magic lamp for Jafar, the evil vizier actually GETS the lamp instead of Aladdin. The events that ensue create a new world of havoc for our heroes, with rebellion, death, and destruction becoming a daily piece of their lives. Jafar is proven to more than psychotic, Jasmine battles with herself concerning right and wrong, and Aladdin finds himself trying to keep her sane, along with every other character he interacts with.
I must admit, it is a much darker tale than I was expecting when I picked the book up. Death and violence is portrayed in a very un-Disney-like fashion of grotesque and avid imagery. For true-to-heart Disney fans who don’t want different perceptions of their favorite Classics, I would say this book may not be for you. However, for those who are of the more open-minded Disney fandom, I encourage you to definitely give this book a chance! For all its darkness and betrayal and evil deeds, it is well-written and a captivating read.
Look for my words again soon!