Aladdin: Far From Agrabah by Aisha Saeed

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A book giving us the chance to “visit” Ababwa this should be fun. I’ve always wondered what this famed kingdom would look like, since it’s mentioned in the Disney movies (animated and live-action) but we never get to see it.

Publication: April 2nd 2019

Synopsis: One magic carpet ride to a mysterious land, one unforgettable adventure….

Princess Jasmine has always wanted more out of her life – to travel beyond the palace walls, to get to know her people better…to one day become sultana and lead Agrabah. Unfortunately, her overprotective father does not agree. And he keeps introducing her to foreign princes, including a strange – if admittedly charming – one named Ali.

Prince Ali has a secret. He’s not actually royalty from the far-off kingdom of “Ababwa”, as he’s claimed to be. He’s really Aladdin from the streets of Agrabah, who’s stumbled upon an all-powerful genie and a magic carpet and used the first of three wishes to become a prince. Because he, too, longs for a different life.

And when “Prince Ali” presents the magic carpet to Princess Jasmine, she agrees to embark on a journey with him…and asks that he take her to his homeland, Ababwa.

On an adventure in a fantastical kingdom, Aladdin and Jasmine get caught up in the magic therein. But soon sinister outside forces come into play, threatening to strand them there forever.

Will they learn from legends past? Or will the alluring promise of a path to a new life get the best of them?

Review/Thoughts: I debated for a long time whether or not I truly wanted to read this book. Yes, I looked forward to “seeing” Ababwa because this book granted me that, where as the films never did. However, the reason behind my debate was the fact that this book was released almost a month and a half before the live action adaption of the film hit theaters in May 2019. I know they say don’t judge a books by its cover or movie, but I was so leery to read this book because of the cover, while it is beautiful you can see elements of the live-action film in it. Example: the clothing, carpet, Aladdin and Jasmine themselves. (If you do not know my feelings on the live-action remake, you can find that HERE.) All that being said, I kept an open mind when starting this book. I wasn’t going to let the live-action adaption stop me from reading this book and enjoying it.

That all feel apart pretty quick! Really quick… I tried. Honestly I did.

Jasmine once again had thoughts about ruling Agrabah as Sultana and helping her kingdom as she thought best. C’mon! She wanted to marry someone she loved! This is what turned me off of the live-action adaption. She wanted to marry someone she loved, and I barely saw that as I read through this book. I loved those moments when she bonded and got to know Aladdin for who he was, it reminded me of the 1992 movie. I actually started to enjoy this read a little whenever those moments came about, but they only lasted so long as I was quickly reminded of Jasmine’s thoughts about being Sultana. I appreciate the strong, independent woman, theme, I got nothing against it, but that wasn’t Jasmine. That’s not her story. Her’s is about marrying someone she loved.

Aladdin, I felt, was a lot more true to his character. This felt like Aladdin. The one I know and cherish so deeply. I loved how he interacted with and around Jamaal. Aladdin is a street rat, and even thought he is “Prince Ali” he doesn’t forget where he came from and those like him. He wants to help them if he can and he understands their day to day struggles and life style. Which is why I’m so fond of his shared scenes with Jamaal; you can see that side of Aladdin showing through Prince Ali.

I enjoyed the chance to see Ababwa. It was unique and amazing, however, it did seen too perfect to be real for me. There was a few problems within it’s borders but for the most part I felt like Ababwa had no troubles. Yes, there was a guy that had caused some trouble for Aladdin and Jasmine, but I’m talking about real threats. The kind that you truly need to be concerned about. Someone invading, a peace treaty that has issues for both kingdoms trying to sign it, even someone trying to undermined Aladdin’s place on Ababwa’s throne or even a financial problem. Especially that one. I felt like Aladdin was slightly careless of how he spent his kingdoms wealth. Of course maybe these problems are a thing in Ababwa and the book doesn’t keep us there long enough to see them. Then again, I ain’t no Ruler myself, so maybe I have my hopes set too high.

This was an okay read, but I feel like I bummed out on this purchase. I’m sure it’ll most likely be unhauled it later, as I don’t really have a desire to read it again at the moment.

~Till the next Chapter~

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