Going into this book, I have read Disney spin offs that have hit the mark and soared, while I have also read versions where I have finished it to not leave the book hanging, but have hated every page. This rendition of our well known “Aladdin” was pleasantly not as I had expected. I shall avoid giving any spoilers as much as possible.
This book is definitely one for girl power. Princess Jasmine is no longer behind the scenes, damsel in distress, waiting for her prince to come and save her. She exemplifies immense courage to lead Agrabah’s street rats into an uprising to overthrow Jafar, the new Sultan. This book closely follows the beginning of the 90’s Disney movie, also adding in some back story of Aladdin to understand when he became an orphan and how he came to be identified as a street rat. Braswell is able to even utilize “One Jump Ahead” (song Aladdin sang in the market from stealing a loaf of bread) as a conversation in the beginning chapters. The book follows along with the movie up until Aladdin is trying to escape the Cave of Wonders with the lamp. This time, Aladdin trusts the old man and tosses him the lamp, Jafar leaving him upon the Cave collapsing. Aladdin manages to escape with the help of Carpet, to return to a much different Agrabah. Jafar is the new Sultan of Agrabah. In his Agrabah, Jafar hands out money and food like it is no problem to try to appease the people and win their affection. Nothing is as it seems. Jasmine and Aladdin seek out the street rats to form an alliance and overthrow Jafar’s plan.
“She wished a silly, girlish wish: that she’s have a chance to really fly on the carpet when it was still a carpet. With Aladdin. Zooming through the night air like she was doing now, but with her arms to hold on to and the entire world at their feet.”
This book will leave you completely stunned in the last chapter with the final outcomes of events. I was quite angry with the ending as I felt it strayed too far from the movie. You can be the judge of the ending though. Wonderful work Liz Braswell!