Top critical review
I enjoyed it
Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2016
Given how huge a fan of Disney, and Aladdin in particular, that I am, I was hopeful but wary going into this. Depending on the author, this was either going to be amazing or terrible. And I’m surprised to find that I’m in the minority here, thinking it wasn’t that bad.
Granted, the first twenty percent is pretty much word for word like the movie, only with a little more detail and depth added. But I didn’t mind that, actually quite enjoyed seeing it again and being more in Aladdin’s head for it. Plus, the small details that were changed made sense to me, though I might have liked some more changes. And, really, this is published by Disney and specifically references Aladdin—what were you expecting?
But after the twist in the plot, everything changes. And I liked the thought put into each change. It’s made more realistic—Jafar, taking power like he wanted, is turned really evil. He kills people, including important characters in the movie who I won’t spoil. Jasmine is taken captive, unable to do anything. And that means she has to get smart and tactical really fast. Aladdin, on the other hand, is stuck inside the cave and has to figure out how to get out. Then he has to find a way to undo what Jafar did.
The biggest change to me was Jasmine’s character. And by the end, I do feel like I lost a sense of who she was, and who Aladdin was as well. I don’t know if that was purposeful, because of everything that happened, but I didn’t like that.
But there were also the little things. Like that Jasmine meets the Genie before Aladdin does. And I appreciated that the Genie stayed true to who he was in the movies. There was also the realistic look at what was happening. The Sultan was given a new perspective, as a ruler; Jasmine got to see what was happening in her city, what kind of ruler her father really was, and what to do about all the poverty. And from that, she had to stand up and rule her city like she needed to. We also saw realistically what the Genie’s-made guards and dancers were really like—identical and fake. There was also more insight to Aladdin’s childhood with a prologue, and we met other street rat friends of his. We got reference of where Genies/Djinn's come from.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the new take on the story, with the twist and the new look at things. Some things could have been better, like the characterization, but I didn’t think it was too bad.
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]