March 18, 2024

REVIEW Realm of Wonders (The Queen's Council #3) by Alexandra Monir

Realm of Wonders (The Queen's Council #3) by Alexandra Monir
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: October 10, 2023
Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited) + Audiobook (Library)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Alexandra Monir’s latest release, Realm of Wonders, the third book in the Queen’s Council series was a super fun read! As a lifelong Disney fan, it seemed like the action picks up right after the events of the original movie. Jasmine and Aladdin have just defeated Jafar and saved Agrabah; now comes the hard part for Jasmine of actually becoming the Sultana she was always meant to be. Disney princess fans who love reading female empowering stories inspired by the original movies and full of adventure will definitely enjoy this book. 

As a Disney fan and a fan of mythology, I absolutely loved reading this. Jasmine has grown up since she first made an appearance in the original movie, and she’s ready to lead her people into the future with Aladdin at her side following the tragic death of her father the Sultan. However, her claim to the throne is called into question and she’s forced to choose what matters most to her in an effort to prove herself worthy of the throne and the title. In addition to referencing places and people from the original movie, there are also some references to folktales, magic and supernatural creatures. The author even threw in some of the political dynamics that would have historically been a factor if Agrabah were a real place. I loved getting to see Jasmine mature - this story does a great job of honoring the original movie while expanding the universe at the same time. 

The idea of the Queen’s Council is super cool, and is what connects all the different books in the series. Each of the princesses are coming into their own power and rule, and the Queen’s council ends up being a guiding force along the way. When this “force” does make its presence known, it was super cool to see how the author wove in a reference to another famous middle-eastern story. While the original movies are fairly tame (G rated for the animated movie, and PG for the live action), this book definitely lives in the young adult category as there are some elements I don’t think would be appropriate for younger readers. For example, fighting, war, death and sexism play a big part in the story. There’s also less whimsical elements in this book compared to the movie, as Genie is mentioned but does not appear and Magic Carpet only appears briefly. 

Overall, this was a really entertaining book. For those who are into audiobooks, the author did an amazing job narrating (I didn’t actually realize that it was the author immediately). While there are some references to the previous books in the series (for Belle and Mulan respectively), the book is written such that you don’t have to read them in order. I look forward to going back and reading Belle and Mulan’s books as well as the upcoming book A Sword in Slumber by Sara Raasch which focuses on Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). 

About the Author

Alexandra Monir, Iranian-American author and recording artist, has published seven popular young adult novels to date, beginning with her internationally-bestselling debut, Timeless (a Barnes & Noble Bestseller and an “Best Book of the Month”). She published the hit sci-fi novel The Final Six with HarperCollins in 2018, with Sony Pictures optioning the film rights in a major pre-empt deal. A sequel, The Life Belowfollowed in 2020 and the series has been published in numerous countries and languages.

Alexandra was recently selected to write the first-ever YA novel about DC Comics superhero Black Canary, joining global bestsellers Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Sarah J. Maas and Matt de la Peña as the fifth author writing for the New York Times-bestselling DC Icons series, published by Penguin Random House. Black Canary: Breaking Silence was released on December 29th, 2020 to rave reviews from critics and comic book fans alike. Alexandra was also selected by Disney to write a historical fantasy YA novel about Princess Jasmine, which will publish in Fall 2022 with Disney-Hyperion.

Alexandra is additionally a screenwriter, recording artist and composer, with both screenplay and musical adaptations of her own work in development. Her musical roots run deep, as she is the granddaughter of the late Monir Vakili, Iran’s foremost opera singer. She frequently travels around the country speaking to readers and writers of all ages at book festivals and literary conferences, fan conventions and schools. She is a member of the Iranian American Women Foundation, an organization near to her heart. Alexandra currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, toddler son, and one fluffy Shih Tzu, where she is at work on her next novel.

Alexandra Monir Author Photo Credit: Kerem Hanci

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