I really really wanted to like this book. I thought the premise was intriguing. Instead of the story we know it was about the dark side winning. The problem that I had was that the first few chapters are straight out of the movie word for word; all the way until you get to the part where Aladdin gets the lamp. Then it takes a very dark turn and does not stop even at the end.
I totally get where the writer was going with this book. I get why they wanted to explore the evils of Jafar as a ruler. However, having the first part of the book straight out of the movie threw me off. Instead of creating a whole new book it felt a little like a fanfiction take on the story.
What I did like is that weirdly everyone stayed in character. Even the Genie. I could hear Robin Williams voice in my head the entire time that I was reading. I liked the idea of Jasmine fighting for her people and being exposed to the lives of the poorest. That was a nice addition.
What ruined the story for me was the extreme violence and the utter destruction of several key characters from the original story. I think that maybe I am too attached to the original to really appreciate this one. I mean as a kid I really loved the magic carpet. Like wanted my own and dreamed of riding around on one. I also liked the humor. Yep… not in this book.
I can see some people wanting to see the story take on what would have happened if Jafar won. For me I think it would have worked better if the book had been original from the very start instead of using the movie. It was too much of a break when things went downhill. The transition was rough.
Will our library buy it? Yes. Will it be a feature on my Fall book talk list? No. Will I recommend it to some readers? Of course.