Book Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

July 2, 2019 in Young Adult

Aladdin is one of my favourite Disney movies so I was super excited to read this dark retelling story. But did A Whole New World by Liz Braswell live up to my expectations? Not really. Read on to discover what I really thought about the first instalment of the Disney’s Twisted Tales book series!


A Whole New World
by Liz Braswell

Publisher: Parragon Books
Year of Publication: 2016
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Series: Twisted Tales #1
Format: Paperback (376 pages)
Rating: ★★★



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.


My Review

Let me start by saying that this is not a book for children. When I bought this book, it was on a shelf next to the other Disney books and the thought of this ending up in the hands of a sensitive child makes me feel a little bit ill.

I was expecting some darker elements than the story we know but it’s actually deeply disturbing. There are very graphic depictions of torture and murder. Even a zombie army. It’s intense and most definitely not suitable for children.

As far as the general plot goes, it reimagines Agrabah with Jafar in power. Only Jafar is far more sinister than we remember. This quote says it all: “The sorcerer had gone from being an almost humorous villain to a madman of truly demonic proportions.”

He’s later described as “an insane, power hungry, evil… dictator with delusions of godhood.” Jafar literally steals the show in every respect.

I found A Whole New World to be quite a slow burner. It was so difficult for me to get into although I was devouring pages by the end, desperate for a happy ending.

Personally A Whole New World wasn’t for me and I probably won’t read any of more Twisted Tales titles. However, that doesn’t mean it’s all bad.

In fact, it still has all of the things we love about Aladdin; the genie’s sense of humour, the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine against all the odds, Rajah’s protective nature and of course, the snarky Abu.

Just with a lot more murder, torture, a few decapitations, extremely dark magic… oh and that army of zombies I mentioned before.

Read This if…

You enjoy dark and disturbing fairytale retellings!

Content/Trigger Warnings:

Parental death, attempted murder/murder, war, bombs, decapitation, torture, some horror elements including zombies, imprisonment

Have you read any of the Twisted Tales books? Let me know what you think of them in the comments below!

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