My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Disney Press
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance, Magic
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 if it were Jafar who summoned the genie? What if he became the new sultan, was granted a great power no one else could surpass and took complete control of the city of Agrabah?
Can you recognize your dearly loved fairy tale in this? I couldn’t. Certainly, the author’s purpose was to twist the story we all know about and give us a different version of it, a darker one. And it was. Darker, that is. I don’t recall gobs of ‘‘happy’’ scenes. When there were some, they were mostly featuring Aladdin and Jasmine cuddling, kissing.
This action-packed book had a rather sufficiently built world, easily visualized, but what was lacking – almost missing – was characterization. Only a scant amount of characters were comparable in personality to the ones in the original version. Liz Braswell wrote Jafar’s character representatively close to the ‘‘real’’ one and Abu’s too but, as for Aladdin and Jasmine and the sultan… not so much.
It was fast-paced yet, to have the opportunity to enter the two main characters’ thoughts better and actually get attached to them, I wanted it to be slower. There were also more than a handful of new roles in this story: friends and enemies as well as some characters meant for a cameo appearance, but I think that, the more characters a story possesses, the slower the pacing should be. Doesn’t mean that it can’t have action, but it’s important to take a chapter here and there and focus a little more on the protagonists and less on the guest, mission, adventure, etc.
I will also add that I quite enjoyed the genie, even if he wasn’t as hilarious or present as in Aladdin. The last time I watched the aforementioned movie was three years ago, I believe, and I remember being unable to stop myself from laughing, and that, whenever he opened his mouth.
Finally, even if there was a lot of villainy throughout the story, the conclusion will satisfy most of the readers. A surprising and slightly unnecessary – in my point of view – death occurred, but it was an ending that will most likely gladden a reader’s heart nonetheless.