The Forbidden Wish: Review

Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: None
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Source: Library

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.

‘‘Even a thief may have honor, and even a jinni may have a heart.’’

Oh how I love retellings when they are done right, and this was done so right! Thank you Jessica Khoury. Honestly, I had many doubts going into this because I struck out hard with A Whole New World

From the first few pages we are transported to a magical world of jinni, kings, and kingdoms long destroyed from war. Khoury's writing is so lush and descriptive, especially when describing the jeweled garden that Zahra had made for her long dead queen. 

Let me just say, that I loved Zahra! YA has a way of making me hate a lot of female main characters, but I never hated Zahra. She was strong, stubborn, and always knew what she wanted, even if it meant losing what she loved. I really enjoyed the telling of Zahra's past which was intersecting with her present. It was a great way to tell her backstory without getting tedious or confusing. You could really feel her guilt at what happened with her queen, over 500 years ago. She is also one of the most powerful jinni to exist since she is over 4,000 years old. She considers herself to be a monster, because of what happened to her most loved friend. But underneath all of that jinn power is something else….the heart and soul of a 17 year old girl. That is how old Zahra was when she became a jinn. So like most teenage girls, she still has hopes and dreams. 

Aladdin, on the other hand, is quite different from the thief in the Disney movie we all love. This Aladdin has a love of women, alcohol, and gambling. He's in no way perfect, and his thirst for revenge makes him a little cold hearted sometimes. 

“Zahra, if I wished for someone to die, could you do it?" Outwardly, I am stone, but inside I rock like a stormy sea. I loathe this wish more than almost any other. It is cruel and cowardly, and I reevaluate this boy thief. There is a darkness in him I hadn’t seen.
He was also not like Aladdin from the movie because he was not a lovesick puppy over the princess. Sure, he thinks she is beautiful, but he does not obsess over her.

Speaking of the princess, Caspida and her Watchmaidens were awesome. They were the epitome of female friendship that NEEDS to be in more YA. Too often we read of females tearing each other apart over their looks, men, etc. I loved their friendship in The Forbidden Wish. Fellow YA authors, take notice of this and start making more female friendships!

Zahra's inner battle to betray Aladdin and get her freedom was one of the main plots of this book. All the subplots were just seamlessly woven into the story so that it never got boring.

Their was no insta-love romance! Sure, she was attracted to Aladdin but neither of them admitted their feelings until towards the end of the book. It was another breath of fresh air from typical YA.

In closing, I think fans of Aladdin and re-tellings should definitely pick this book up. It was well worth it!

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