Book Review by Cari Mayhew. Rating 7/10.
This book is a much darker retelling of Disney’s Aladdin, and is the first in a series of darker Disney retellings! It starts off pretty much the same as the film – Princess Jasmine meets petty thief “Street Rat” Aladdin while sneaking out of the Palace, and later the conniving Jafar tricks Aladdin into obtaining the lamp – but things go a whole lot worse once Jafar gets hold of it!
Jafar wishes himself to be made the Sultan, and the most powerful sorcerer of the world. But that’s not enough – Jafar seeks to break the genie’s rules of magic, in order to bring the dead back to life to raise an army of the undead! Jafar kills the former Sultan and declares he wants to wed Princess Jasmine, who, meanwhile, meets up with the Street Rats to lead a full-on rebellion. They attempt to intercept the delivery of magic book sought by Jafar, but things don’t go according to plan!
Braswell imitates the original Disney tale for the first third of the book and really fleshes it out with scene description and attention to Aladdin’s and Jasmine’s thoughts. Some of these scenes are different, yet the first half remains very true to the original. After this point the action really heats up!
The genie took a less prominent role in the latter part of the book than he did in the film. The inclusion of more minor characters added a depth to the novel that was missing in the film, and allowed the underlying themes to develop. There was a strong theme on the grey area between right and wrong, and how doing a minor wrong can help the greater good.
Fortunately (IMO) the book didn’t include the lyrics to the musical numbers! Unfortunately, however, the book is only available in paperback. Some of the story was predictable, including how it ended, but there was the odd surprise in there – all in all, I feel this book has got the Twisted Tales series off to a great start!