A Whole New World – Liz Braswell

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?



This is, I believe, the first in Liz Braswell’s “Twisted Tales” series where Braswell retells classic Disney stories is dark new ways.


This one is a dark retelling of Aladdin which asks the question “What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?” – I think it should technically be “What if Jafar did grab the lamp from Aladdin in their scuffle at the mouth of the Cave of Wonders” but I guess that’s a bit too long.


I was in a bit of a reading slump before I started this book. A life slump would be more accurate actually. I’ve been really low recently. I haven’t wanted to do anything, see anyone and nothing interested me. I picked up, and put aside many books over the last few weeks, nothing I started reading was able to keep my focus. This book then popped through my door (along with four books I had ordered) so I decided I might as well give it a go, it couldn’t hurt. While a lot of the beginning part of the story is the same as the Disney film we all know and love, I didn’t think this had a detrimental effect on the story. If anything it gave a warm feeling of nostalgia and I was able to see the story so vividly in my mind. I did however end up imagining the whole rest of the book in Disney style animation, not that that’s a bad thing. Because it was so familiar I was able to get stuck right into the story.


In terms of the characters there is not as much development as you would hope to have in a book. In fact, I’d go as far to say there is none. From start to finish Aladdin is still the gutsy street rat with a moral compass, Jasmine is still the Princess who yearns  to take control of her own life, Jafar is still as mad as a bag of frogs etc etc. I actually found that the new, secondary characters we were introduced to had much more growth and development than their primary counterparts. I guess Braswell relied on readers knowing the characters so well that development wasn’t really necessary, allowing her to focus more on the story.


I really enjoyed the story. I’m not going to give away any spoilers to the plot, but “Twisted Disney” really does epitomise this book. Jafar really lets his hair down to go full on crazy, it’s brilliant.


I would have liked to have seen more of Jafar as he is a very intriguing character – but maybe that’s another book, I’ll have to do some research.


When I started reading A Whole New World I was feeling really low, the injection of nostalgia mixed with the excitement of a new plot really helped me escape and allowed my mind a break.


I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of twisted fairy tales. I am excited to read the others in the series as well as similar books.



Favourite quotes and passages from A Whole New World:


The golden onion domes of the capital glittered like a dream against the pale dunes and the dark, starry void.


…a kind-eyed woman who wore her rags  with the grace of a queen.


“Don’t let life’s unfairness, don’t let how poor you are decide who you are. You choose who you will be, Aladdin.


She walked with the grace of a cloud in the wind.


The earth screamed in anger, frustration and pain. Lave began to shoot like blood from every tear in it’s surface.


People had been trying to sneak into the palace for centuries. Some of their skulls could be seen on spikes around the castle walls, bleached white into shiny marble balls by years of desert sun.


“when anyone can reach up and take as much as they want – golf stops having value. Like sand.”


“…I wonder if our thoughts ever crossed, like stray breezes.”


The giant red sun was half sunken into the horizon of the Western Desert and looked like it was swimming in a lake of blood.


“Is the gravity here always bad this time of year?”





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