Part of Your World Review - What if Ariel never defeated Ursula?
by Elizabeth Braswell
Published in 2018
I have been in love with the alternate twisted tales by Elizabeth Braswell! For those that are as huge a Disney fan as I am, I would absolutely recommend picking up one of her books because it takes the classic Disney story we know and combines it with one question that changes everything. In Part of Your World, Elizabeth Braswell asks What if Ariel never defeated Ursula?
Part of Your World begins 5 years after the events of The Little Mermaid, except this time, Ariel never defeated Ariel during the final showdown. Beaten and still mute, she returns to Atlantica to rule as Queen of the Sea since her father was taken by Ursula. During this time, she has matured due to all the responsibility she has taken on and is still haunted from losing Eric and King Triton. It isn’t until Scuttle realizes that Eric is being held prisoner as Ursula’s husband (who has remained in her human figure ruling from the land) and that Ariel’s father may still be alive, that he finds Ariel and informs her that she must come at once.
Eric is in a trance-like state and known as “the mad prince” because he has just been passive and disconnected, letting Ursula rule in his stead. He seems to be almost drowning, just barely remembering some things in his life, but continually getting bogged down in a haze. When Ariel returns to the surface, she sneaks into the castle and pretends she’s one of the servants so that she can remain out of the way of Ursula. When snooping around in Ursula’s room, she is yet to find her father, but she does find the shell that contains her voice after all these years of being mute. She breaks it and her voice is returned… which causes Ursula to
realize she must be around as her voice reverts back to how it was before. Ariel and Eric find each other once again and of course, the chemistry is back stronger than ever. Eric’s haze is broken as he realizes that in the past 5 years of inactivity, Ursula has been a cruel leader and he needs to get things back on track. A final showdown occurs once again between Ursula, Eric, and Ariel until Ursula is defeated and King Triton is returned back to Ariel safe and sound.
Final Rating & thoughts: 7/10
When reading this book, I kept finding myself wishing this was turned into a movie! I love all of Elizabeth Braswell’s books because they could all be really interesting movies if someone were to adapt them. This wasn’t my favorite book she’s written because I feel like there are definitely some plot holes, but I still found it enjoyable. I wished they would have shown us a little more of what the past 5 years has been like for Ariel as Queen of the Sea and why Vanessa chose to rule on land during that time instead of trying to rule both the Sea and the Land. Overall, the ending was predictable from the beginning, but that didn’t make it any less satisfying when they defeated Ursula.
I actually read this book in conjunction with the other Ursula book, Poor Unfortunate Souls, and I thought it really helped elevate both books to be so much more enjoyable! In Part of Your World, Ursula is painted as this evil villain who’s here to wreck lives and cause trouble while Poor Unfortunate Souls paints her as this misunderstood sea witch who was tricked and abandoned by her family. It made both books that much more exciting because it was hard to pick a side on if you were rooting for Ursula or not! The experience of reading both books simultaneously really added a new layer of depth and complexity to a character who may have come off as one-dimensional.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to fellow Disney lovers! Part of Your World gives such a fun alternate reality to the traditional Little Mermaid story. It’s not perfect by any means, but I think that’s what gives these books such charm. This is a “what if” story and Liz Braswell paints a picture that if Ariel didn’t defeat Ursula the first time, she would have still have had to come back and put an end to the tyranny. So what does this book teach us? Get the job done right the first time when fighting a powerful underwater sea witch!