Published by Razorbill on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters !ndigo
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’ve been burned before by Aladdin/1001 Nights retellings, so I went into this with a bit of trepidation. I’m happy to say that The Forbidden Wish worked out pretty well for me. I ended up reading in one sitting! The writing, the magic, the adorable Aladdin just swept me away.
First of all, our protagonist of the story isn’t Aladdin, but Zahra the jinni. She’s telling her long gone friend (and us) a story. There’s a few things that are similar to the story of Aladdin, but for the most part, this story stands on its own merits. Aladdin still ends up in the palace as a fake prince, there’s still a Jafar-esque bad guy, but there’s also a mission that Zahra must complete or she must face the consequences.
Wishes have a way of twisting themselves, and there is nothing more dangerous than getting your heart’s desire. The question is, are you willing to gamble? How much are you willing to lose? What are you willing to risk everything for?
Zahra was an interesting character with her ups and downs. She’s pretty badass, a powerful jinni but also a bit cynical (being trapped in a lamp for hundreds of years can do that to you) and has her vulnerabilities. Aladdin was definitely one of my favourite character in the books despite not really developing a lot character-wise. He’s mischievous, he charms and flirts, and you can’t help but fall for him.
“You’re very pretty,” he murmurs, his voice thick with sleep, “for a jinni.”
“Have you met many jinn?”
“No.” His lips curl into a dazed grin. “But I’ve met a lot of pretty girls.”
Caspida, the princess, is pretty awesome. She’s definitely no damsel in distress! She and her Watchmaidens are badass warriors and I definitely wouldn’t mind if they got their own story!
So the romance. I enjoyed it. It didn’t feel to forced and I liked the development of Zahra and Aladdin’s relationship.
“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.”
It definitely wasn’t insta-love and by the end I was invested! I liked the road block to a happily ever after was more than just two people who wouldn’t figure it out. There was definitely some big barriers in the way! (But no love-triangle!)
“You know we don’t stand a chance,” I whisper.
Aladdin looks down at me, his hand squeezing mu arm. “We’re still alive, aren’t we? Come on, Smoky. Where’s your sense of adventure?”
Overall, this was a beautifully written story inspired by the tale of Aladdin. This was my first Jessica Khoury, but it definitely won’t be my last! If you love Arabian Night-esque stories, great world-building and a magic, this is worth the risk. It might have taken me almost a year, but no regrets.
a bum a student again. A master’s student…oooh. procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.