An Aladdin retelling in space.
Alana’s dream is to leave the poverty-stricken, government-controlled planet where she lives with her mother. But that’s impossible when she can barely manage enough to eat. Her big chance comes in a well-paid mission to retrieve a golden sphere. The problem: it’s in the Ghost Ship, a mysterious alien vessel abandoned for millenia. Nobody has ever set foot on it and come out alive. How will Alana manage it?
Meanwhile, Jasper has come to her planet to oversee the government. His real goal? To see the mysterious dragons—if they are still alive.
Destiny brings them together and thrusts the fate of the Samitri Planet and the Human Universe in their hands.
The Sphere of Infinity is a standalone YA Aladdin retelling novella.
It was part of the box set Kingdom of Sand and Wishes.
Alana is a thief. She “works” stealing small objects or information from different places, using her small stature as great advantage. However, Alana never wanted to have this lifestyle. It is her only option to survive, since her mother is in a wheelchair and cannot work.
Alana’s dream is to get enough money to be able to leave Samitri, her home planet, with her mother and go to Ringon, where the government is located and “everyone can be what they want” (Zootopia vibes). Also, to be able to do the surgery that will allow her mother to walk again.
Her dream seems impossible until a woman, Mara, offers her an excessively well-paid job to retrieve a golden sphere from a spaceship that has been abandoned in space for years, the Ghost Ship. Alana can’t resist, besides, Mara would go with her so there was nothing to fear, right?
Alana manages to find the sphere, but when the ship itself seems to want to prevent her from escaping, Mara abandons her and leaves her to die on the ship. Fortunately, the golden sphere was actually a container for Janet, a creature capable of granting three wishes and that helps Alana to return to Samitri.
Now she can finally change her life, but Mara has not given up the sphere. Things get even more complicated when Alana meets Jasper, a Ringon representative on Samitri, who immediately catches her attention.
I listened to the audiobook of this story and I don’t know if it’s the audiobooks themselves but again this book reminds me of fairy tales, but modern. Maybe it’s Day’s style or the fact that this particular one is a new version of a fairy tale ?♀️.
I honestly think that if I didn’t know that this story is based on Aladdin, it would never have occurred to me. But knowing it, it is impressive how many similarities can be found, without being obvious.
For example, the names of the characters: Alana (Aladdin), a thief to survive, and Jasper, a member of “royalty” who gets along better with animals than humans (Jasmin). And the golden sphere (lamp) where Janet (the Genie) is trapped.
There are many more similarities, but I don’t want to mention them for avoiding spoilers.
I know I shouldn’t give this book 5 stars, as I had some unanswered questions. Like what about the dragons and what was Janet really, they bring it up but I honestly didn’t get it. Another thing that is not clear to me is the scope of the wishes that can be asked to Janet.
But I don’t care, I really enjoyed this story and the characters, I especially loved Jasper. Mention aside, the covers of Day Leitao’s books are truly wonderful.
Another thing that struck me a lot about the story is Alana’s way of thinking about love. Her mother writes romantic stories and does not allow her to read them because she says they are nothing more than garbage, very handsome and chivalrous men, ready to rescue the woman from all her problems. Now, it is true that it’s quite unlikely that you are going to be riding your bike and crush with Chris Hemsworth and then you’ll get married, but I feel that today’s society trashes fairy tales excessively. No matter how powerful you are on your own, there is nothing wrong with having someone by your side who wants to take care of you. It is true, a woman does not need you to rescue her from a tower, she is perfectly capable of making her own ladder, but there is nothing wrong with having someone to hold it for you while you go down.
It also felt good to be near Alana. Tiny as she was, she was fierce but also had fear and vulnerability, reminding him of the tigers in Firis. He’d obviously never mention it to her. He also knew that she wasn’t a wild defenseless cub, and that it would be her choice whether he’d ever be able to care for her. So far she’d been allowing him, though. He could almost believe she liked it, which was a small consolation in his world that had been shattered.
So yeah, I’m giving it 5 stars anyway and I highly recommend it if you want a cute, entertaining and original short story.
And remember… Be careful what you wish for.
Bye bye ?