A Whole New World is the first in a new series of books by Parragon, launched under the Disney licence, that take well-known and well-loved stories and look at what could have happened in a parallel universe. Called Twisted Tales, the series gives freshness and excitement to old classics. As the blurb on the back of the book says, "Experience the first title in a thrilling new series that puts a twist in much-loved tales, exploring what would happen if key turning points did not work out as planned." It's a great concept and I can't wait to see which other stories will be given a Twisted Tales revamp.
A Whole New World follows the adventures of Aladdin and Jasmine, but not as you know them. Aladdin still ends up trapped in a cave and double crossed by the evil vizir who wants to get his hands on the magic lamp, but he has to rely on his own resourcefulness and the support of the network of lowly street children called Street Rats rather than any magical help from ancient artefacts and genies.
It has a slightly grittier feel than the Disney movie version - there is suffering and sadness, death and disgrace - but the overall tone remains carefree and you know there will be a happy ending. Disney fans will recognise many elements of the well-loved animation, including the streets of Agrabah, the blue genie and Abu the monkey, as well as some of the scenes and dialogue in the early chapters, but besides trying to recognise familiar people, places and events, it is also enjoyable to see the narrative veer off into new and unexpected twists and turns.
It's a classic love story, a coming-of-age novel and a tale of rebellion with a fight for freedom and equality that will lead Aladdin and Jasmine into A Whole New Better World than even the one in the Disney movie. They find love and happiness but also a better understanding of what the world really needs and can do without.
I almost called this a children's book when I started the review but I'm 43 and I loved it - it's far too good to be reserved for the kids !
Along with the book, we received a funky magic lamp necklace which Juliette instantly fell in love with and has been wearing ever since it arrived. It doesn't have a magic genie hiding inside it though - we rubbed it to check !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99
Disclosure : As members of the Parragon Book Club, we received the book and necklace in order to write an honest review.