The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury *Review*

I love fairy tale retellings. They spin an old classic into something new and exciting all over again.  When I found out that the Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury was a retelling of Aladdin I eagerly awaited being able to scoop it up!  Who doesn’t love a good story about Aladdin and a powerful girl Jinni?! Magic, love, lies, brave heroines, a comedic hero, and greedy villains line the pages of this story.  Through out this book Jessica Khoury took me on a whirl wind magic carpet ride and gave me a fresh new look on the story of Aladdin.

“Even a thief may have honor, and even a Jinni may have a heart”

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

My Experience

After the first chapter I was hooked.  The book starts off with a bang and as a reader I couldn’t help but want to tear through the pages to find out what happened next!  One thing I felt that took away from the book is although it built up fast the middle of the book seemed a bit slow.  I was waiting a while until anything big or new happened in the plot line.  However, I did like that in this time you learned a lot about the characters and connected with them more so I don’t feel as if it was wasted space.  As much as the story was immediately gripping or a bit slow in the middle the way in which Jessica describes the deserts, the town, the palace, and the clothes made me drool.  She wrote with such beautiful detail I could clearly see each image she laid out for the reader and it was stunning!

Reading an Aladdin retelling through the eyes of the Jinni was probably the best part about this book.  The Jinni, a girl named Zahra, was fun and stubborn and she kept my interest as I was never quite certain exactly what her character would do.  Not only did I like Zahra but I also loved the watch maidens, the princesses group of tough girl friends, who fight hard and wittingly to protect Caspida, the smart and clever princess.  This book really empowered female characters and it was so refreshing.  Jessica Khoury made each girl strong, brave, and intelligent but she also made them flawed in realistic and relatable ways. She made her female characters inspiring and different from the regular damsel in distress fairy tales often are famous for and for that I thank her.

I found this fairy tale retelling quite different then others I have read and I was pleasantly surprised.  Truthfully this is one book I’d love see be made into a movie, because I think it would be that good!  I loved as the main story went on how a sort of back story happened as well that let you learn more about Zahra.  There was always something to keep me reading and I suggest this book for anyone who wants to go on a magical journey with bad ass females and a bit of romance!

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