Disney’s Aladdin is my favourite Disney film of all time, and my favourite film from childhood, which I credit as one of my main influences behind my book, Sand Dancer! I’m always looking for new fantasy books inspired by the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights – the original collection of Middle Eastern folk tales which birthed multiple iterations of the legend of Aladdin. If, like me, you’re excited by the new remake of the Disney classic animation which is out in the cinema NOW, then you’ll be looking for more!
Here are five recommendations for fantasy books inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights – perfect for fans of Disney’s Aladdin!
A Whole New World (Twisted Tales 1)
You may have seen this collection around! The Twisted Tales books are a series of young adult fantasy books based around various Disney films, but with a twist. A Whole New World by Liz Braswell takes the Disney film we all know and love and asks the question “What would happen if Jafar got to the lamp first and won?” This book reimagines the reality of bad guy Jafar getting his wishes and taking over Agrabah before Aladdin ever had the chance to become a prince. This turns the classic tale into a revolution led by Aladdin and Jasmine, who must work together to overthrow Jafar. I’ll be honest, I own this book but haven’t gotten round to reading it yet, so I’m not sure how Aladdin meets Hunger Games will work, but if you were looking for a fresh take on Aladdin, this may be a good place to start.
The Wrath and The Dawn
Perhaps the closest young adult fantasy I’ve read to the One Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh reimagines the original tale of Shahrzad – a young woman who stands against great evil… and then falls in love! Like the original tale, Shahrzad marries the evil Caliph in order to stop him from taking a new bride and murdering them each dawn. She delays her own death by spinning a tale so fascinating that the Caliph is forced to keep her alive just to hear the end. This book is full of colour, culture, and intrigue! And of course some romance. The Wrath and the Dawn is a duology and the sequel The Rose & the Dagger is also available.
City of Brass
The fabled City of Brass is a legendary place full of magic and political intrigue in a world of terrifying creatures and where the djinn are real. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty was one of my favourite reads of last year and features Nahri, a thief from Cairo, who accidentally summons a djinn and finds herself dragged on an adventure to a world where the djinn live in their own magical city in various tribes, and they have their own idea on how humans should be treated. If you’re looking for a more grown-up tale inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights, then you’ll love the complexity and depth of City of Brass! The sequel, The Kingdom of Copper, is also available now!
Rebel in the Sands
One of my favourite young adult trilogies! Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton also features action, adventure, romance, and a race across the sands in a rebellion against the evil Sultan. Mythical creatures and ancient djinn exist here in a blend between the One Thousand and One Nights-inspired culture and the Wild West. What I really loved about Rebel of The Sands, besides the gun-toting main character of Amani, was how djinn and humans came together to create a whole host of people with djinn-blessed powers. Rebel of the Sands blazes its own trail but has a unique take on the One Thousand and One Nights tropes. You can find the rest of the trilogy on Goodreads as well.
We Hunt the Flame
Whilst not exactly based on the One Thousand and One Nights, We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal takes place in a world inspired by ancient Arabia and features all the things I love about Aladdin; action, adventure, a girl-disguised-as-boy plot with a dash of romance in in a beautifully realised world! We Hunt the Flame is the quest to return magic to the world as natural enemies are pitted together and end up needing to work together to save the day. Sadly, my copy of this amazing book hasn’t turned up yet, but I can’t resist including my most anticipated read on this list!
And of course, there are various versions of the One Thousand and One Nights you can find at your nearest online book retailer! I’d recommend the beautiful Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classic Collection. Do you have any recommendations for fantasy fiction? Drop me a link in the comments!