The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Published: February 23, 2016 by Razorbill
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
This was a fantastic retelling of Aladdin. It had the similarities of the Disney movie we all know and love, but for the most part was still it’s own story. Where Aladdin was focused around him and Genie, the Forbidden Wish is focused on Zahra and her interactions with Aladdin and the other characters. There was definitely a slight feminist feel to this book, which I thought was great.
“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.
For a second, I can only blink at him.
Zahra was a very strong character, but she still had her weaknesses that made her human even though it’s been a very long time since she was one. Early on in the story we find out that she is haunted by her last master, and she wants to gain her freedom by any means necessary. Zahra uses Aladdin and his wishes to gain access to the palace where she has to fulfill her promise in order to gain her freedom. So part of that means Zahra tries to push Aladdin onto the princess, but instead we see the romance that buds between them. With freedom so close to her fingertips, Zahra has to make a choice, freedom from her lamp or Aladdin?
For the first time I think about what comes after I win my freedom. For so long that’s been my single goal, but what happens next? Do I return to Ambadya, where they hate me? Do I stay in the human world, where they would destroy me if they knew what I was? I have nowhere to go to and no one to spend my freedom with, and for the first time I begin to wonder if that’s really freedom at all, or if I’m exchanging one prison for another.
Aladdin, just like in the original, is a thief and wishes to become a prince to get the girl. That’s about the only aspect that is similar. Here he is a charmer and likes to drink. This made him more real as a character instead of the stereotypical Disney prince.
‘‘Even a thief may have honor, and even a jinni may have a heart.’’
The other characters in this novel is just as great as Zahra and Aladdin. There is a group of girls who don’t slut shame or put down each other. Rather they are friends and together they are stronger. As much as I liked the feminist touch in this story, there was a lot of names to remember as well as their personalities.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Even though it took awhile since it was an audiobook, I would recommend it. The narrator did a very good job distinguishing the different characters, which also helped keep the characters apart.