Thursday, June 2, 2016

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish

The Forbidden WishAbout the Book:
Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Pub. Date: Feb. 23, 2016 
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 352 
Rating: 4.5/5 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.

“As the poets say, stories are truth told through lies.” 

I'm going to admit, when I first bought this book, I had some doubts. Retellings are always so hit or miss for me these days. I don't know if this is because there are so many now, and so few are actually well done, or what. But suffice to say, now even with retellings that sound really good, I am full of doubt when going into the actual book. However, as you can telling by my rating, I had nothing to worry about with The Forbidden Wish. This is a gorgeous retelling of the story of Aladdin that will appeal to every reader. I never thought I would enjoy this novel as much as I did, but this book drew me in from the very first page, and I never wanted to stop reading. Jessica Khoury's writing gave me chills with its beauty, and swept me away to foreign lands that I never wanted to leave.

“Time has a different meaning for me, and these events that seem so monumental in the moment will one day be nothing more than a line in a scroll. These humans are but letters to be inked into history. A hundred years from now, I will be free. I will have forgotten their names and faces, and the struggles they have will not matter. Time has a way of burying things, shifting like the desert and swallowing entire civilizations, erasing them from map and memory. Always, in the end, everything returns to dust.” 

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the girl power! First, our jinni, Zahra is a female, and she is one of my new all time favorite female leads. She is powerful, bad-ass, and strong. She doesn't back down from fear or trouble, preferring to confront it head on and let nothing stand in her way. Can I get an AMEN! However, beneath the tough shell that Zahra has, she is also flawed in many ways. In this, she becomes extremely relatable. While obviously not in the same exact ways, I think a lot of people will be able to relate to the struggles that Zahra faces. At the end of the day, Zahra is very lonely and sad because of past actions. But in the process of helping Aladdin, she realizes that there is a whole new world (sorry I couldn't help myself!) that she can discover! Her past actions do not define her. 

“You can’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose who you become because of it." 

In addition to Zahra being an awesome female lead, we have the princess, who doesn't feel challenged by Zahra, instead wanting her as a friend and confidant. There is never a time in this story where they are battling each other, and this is something I very much appreciated in this story. This book could have taken an entirely different direction if these two girls would have chosen to be enemies, and I can tell you that it would have hurt this novel a great deal. The princess herself is tough-as-nails, and has a take-no-prisoners personality. The princess has a group of female warriors who, along with herself, are working to right wrongs that are occurring in the kingdom. 

“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.” 

The romance in this novel was also extremely well done. First and foremost, there was no insta-love! Major win right there!! Jessica Khoury gets big bonus points for this in my book. But even though the reader is expecting Zahra and Aladdin to fall in love due to the synopsis, the love between them never feels forced. Jessica Khoury writes this novel in a way that the romance that blossoms between them is natural and normal. She never writes this novel as if the entire purpose of the book is to get Zahra and Aladdin together. There is a very important story outside of the romance, and this story is what is more important. The romance between Zahra and Aladdin is simply another element of the story, not the story itself. 

“There is only one thing more numerous than the stars,” I say, looking up to the heavens. “And that is the darkness that holds them.” 

Overall, I highly recommend this novel to all readers. The writing is enthralling and captivating, sweeping you away to desert lands filled with forbidden love, adventure, and betrayals at every turn. Everything about this book is perfection, and it is a must read. Don't miss out on this retelling!

Happy reading :)



  1. OOh nice! I can't wait to read this one! I have it...I just need to read it! LOL! Sounds like a fun read! I'm always up for a good retelling and I have heard nothing but good things about this one! Glad you enjoyed it too! Great review!

    1. Thanks! It definitely is one of my fave retellings! I was surprised by how much I truly enjoyed this book, and it's definitely going to be something I read over and over again :)