Far from Agrabah was a fresh take on Disney’s Aladdin. Instead of taking readers on a brand new trip with Aladdin and Jasmine’s story, Aisha Saeed instead brings a totally new kingdom, that in all honesty, should have made it into the original film.
Prince Ali and Jasmine go on the iconic magic carpet ride, and there, Jasmine asks Ali if she could see this mighty Ababwa where he’s from. Of course, people familiar with the movie know that Ababwa doesn’t actually exist, but the Genie outdoes himself by crafting an entire kingdom based on Aladdin’s memories. The two land in Ababwa and they learn more about themselves than they could’ve ever imagined.
The book starts off with Aladdin already as Prince Ali, then takes a different turn once they go on the carpet ride. I like how Saeed needed no introductions for the famous tale, but I feel like it would’ve been better had she included scenes from when Aladdin and Jasmine meet in the market and a little bonus scene in the end where a few more unanswered questions could’ve been tackled. It would have definitely had me more attached to the characters, though I definitely enjoyed what was given in the novel.
The settings are rich and detailed too. I could imagine myself in this mythical Ababwa, and it was incredible just how much attention and care went into writing this new kingdom. The author describes the location, the scenes, and the characters so vividly that it’s almost impossible not to feel as if I were there myself.
Far from Agrabah is a fun addition to Aladdin, and definitely a must-read for fans of the movie.
Title: Far from Agrabah
Author: Aisha Saeed
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Source: ARC via ALA Midwinter (special shoutout to Myka, who got me a copy!)
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
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Rating: 4 (or 3.75, I’m still torn!)/5