Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

ForbiddenWish_BOM.inddThe Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Published by Razorbill on February 23, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling

Pages: 352 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

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 the Aladdin story from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

I do love an amazing retelling but I was hesitant to pick up a story that has Aladdin re-imagined. His story has always fascinated me and I adore the Disney movie so I didn’t want this book to spoil my love. Turns out The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury increased it by like ten fold. I was so thoroughly impressed with this book. The gorgeous writing and gripping characters brought new life to this old tale.

First person narrative is often hit or miss with me but Khoury’s writing was exquisite. It was so descriptive and rich, pulling me in with every sentence. Having Zahra tell her own story as she is speaking with an old friend allows the reader to instantly connect and invest in the narrative. I’ve already found myself going back and rereading passages from this one.

When it comes to characters The Forbidden Wish is at the top of its game. Zahra, one of the most powerful jinni left in the world, has lived for 4,000 years. She has seen and experienced so much and it all resonated within her character. While this story is very much Zahra’s, Aladdin did have his moments. He’s just as charming and laid back as you would expect yet his kindness and caring shined through.

Plus let’s not forget the amazing female presence in this story. Princess Caspida strives to inspire and look after her people while hoping for the day that she can bring honor back to the Amulen Empire. Supporting her in these efforts are Nessa, Ensi, Khavar, and Raz, female fighters sworn to protect their princess and friend. Even Habiba, Zahra’s old friend, had a deep impact on the story.

Overall Jessica Khoury’s The Forbidden Wish was an excellent book from start to finish. An amazing retelling of Aladdin with fierce females, stunning writing, and of course plenty of romance to be had. It was paced perfectly, a slow burn that was built up as the story went on. It’s hard to go wrong with a standalone and a satisfying ending. I would recommend this one to absolutely everybody. Please go check it out!

Favorite Quotes

  1. The will of this boy thief flows in golden streams. It is the thread with which I weave, the colors with which I pain, the element with which I create.
  2. “And what do you know of love?”
    “That it must be a choice.”
    “Oh, my naive thief. ” I pause briefly to meet his gaze. “Love is rarely a choice.”
  3. “You’re a—you’re a—”
    Say it, boy. Demon of fire. Monster of smoke. Devil of sand and ash. Servant of Nardukha, Daughter of Ambadya, the Nameless, the Faceless, the Limitless. Slave of the Lamp. Jinni.
    “. . . a girl!” he finishes.”
  4. Cruelty, I understand. But kindness frightens me, for my defenses are weak against it.
  5. I pour upward through the long dark tunnel of the spout. I am a funnel of smoke, a whirlwind of fire. I open myself and multiply, swelling into a great cloud over the boy’s head. I press a thousand smoky hands against the stone ceiling of the cave. I roll a thousand fiery eyes and stretch a thousand glittering legs. I unfold and unfold and unfold. How good it feels to be out! I crackle with energy and excitement, my blood lightning and my breath thunder.

Have you read The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury? Has the idea of genies always fascinated you? Did you fall just a little in love with Aladdin? Let me know in the comments below!

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