by Aisha Saeed
Jasmine dreams of two things: exploring the world outside of the palace walls, and someday ruling over Agrabah, which means convincing her father to abandon the tradition of a male ruler.
Trying to make these dreams possible means that Jasmine has no time for suitors trying to win her hand and the right to the throne of Agrabah, especially Prince Ali, the new prince who suddenly showed up out of nowhere and seems desperate to win Jasmine’s heart.
Aladdin thought becoming Prince Ali would make it easy for Jasmine and him to be together. But it didn’t. While Aladdin won her heart being himself, he now has to win it again as Prince Ali. His plan? Show her the world, via magic carpet.
During the magic carpet ride, Jasmine asks Aladdin to take him to his home country. After of a little bit of genie magic, the two are in the fictional country of Ababwa. However, someone there doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the city, as if they know that magic is behind it all. And they want the magic for their own use…
Going off of the Disney movie, Aladdin, Far from Agrabah zones in on Aladdin and Jasmine’s magic carpet ride and what could have happened during it. It is specifically based off of the 2019 live-action remake. However, if you have only seem the older, animated version, you will still be able to follow along fine, even though a few things won’t make sense. However, if you have never seen either version of the Aladdin, you might not want to read Far from Agrabah. While you will be able to enjoy the plot, the characters and fine details will be lost to you.
One of things I enjoyed most about Far from Agrabah was how it gave a peek into the heads of Aladdin and Jasmine. Yes, you get to know them in the movie, but you don’t get to know their thoughts and what affects their decisions and actions. Saeed did a good job of digging into the characters and writing them in a way that seemed to true to how they were portrayed in the movie, while building upon what we already know about them. It was also fun to get to see the fiction world of Ababwa.
One thing that I didn’t entirely get were the “mini” legends inserted throughout the book. I was expecting them to all somehow tie into the plot, but they really didn’t, other than Jasmine making a reference to them. Also, aside from not tying into the plot, the legends didn’t have any connections to each other, which made them feel awkward and almost out of place to me. While I think they were put in to try to give more information about the world around Agrabah, they just didn’t seem to fit.
Cautions: two swear words; magic; mild, non-graphic violence; one kiss