Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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Title: The Forbidden Wish

Author: Jessica Khoury

Publication Date: February 23rd 2016

Format: Hardback 

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

4 stars

The Plot: Summarized

In this retelling of Aladdin, the Jinni Zahra must choose between her freedom and her growing love to the master of her lamp, Aladdin.

Thoughts

I read the sneak peek of The Forbidden Wish at the end of last year and was extremely intrigued by it. Aladdin was always my favorite folk tale and I adore the Disney film so it went without saying that I was going to pick it up the day it was released. However, things didn’t go as planned. My order was super late to arrive and by the time it did I had moved on and was reading some other books. If you’re wondering why I’m telling you this really long and boring story instead of reviewing the book, trust me, it’s related. Anyway, I stayed many months after that wanting to know what will happen to Zahra but the knowledge that I was going to have to reread from the beginning to jog my memory discouraged me. So when I decided that enough was enough and tackled the gorgeously covered book, I found that reading the first part of the book felt like a chore. Whether that’s because the beginning wasn’t action packed or because I simply wanted to know what happened after the part that was included in the sneak peek, those first few chapters took me forever to read. But I ploughed ahead and I’m so glad I did! I ended up really enjoying the book and was sitting on the edge of my seat throughout most of the second half.

Khoury has a wonderful writing style and she has this was of bringing the characters to life and slipping them into your heart without you knowing how or when. The world that she built is lush and pulsing with magic and spice and smoke. Her aforementioned brilliant writing transforms you right there and you feel like you’re drifting along with the characters through the tight alleyways and majestic castles.

Character Analysis

Zahra

This snarky genie (or jinni) of the lamp cast a spell on me since the very beginning. She’s so fierce and determined to get her freedom that even as she was falling under Aladdin’s figurative spell, she never once lost sight of her ultimate goal. She didn’t let him sway her from wanting her freedom and I respected her so much for that.

However, I didn’t like that we didn’t exactly know what Zahra became in the end. Would she ever be able to sleep? Is she human now? These questions weren’t answered and I want something definite so bad.

Aladdin

Oh he was super duper dreamy I cannot even begin to tell you. I legit melted all over because of him. Um can I have someone as swoony as him, please? Perhaps someone who’s not a thief tho??????????

Caspida

She was badass. Wait scratch that, she was the definition of badass. Badass with a capital b.

Have I mentioned how badass she was???????

(I kid I kid)

I really, really liked her and her handmaidens. It was super feminist and super awesome and super GIRL POWERRRRRRR. Can we have more characters like that please? I also really liked seeing her vulnerable side. It made her appear so much more real and believable.

Bottom Line

Despite the somewhat rocky start that wasn’t really a rocky start (ha!), I fell in love with this book. I read the second half alllll in one sitting no joke. Now my head hurts. But it’s okay. This book is so worth it.

Recommended to: Fans of folk tales especially Aladdin as this book is a retelling of it.

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