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.
What can I say about this book!
I was curious about the The Forbidden Wish when I saw the cover at Netgallery. Then, I became highly fascinated when Sarah J. Maas and Reneé Ahdieh were quoted on the book. It was at that time, I became completely in love with Jessica Khoury creative retelling of the Aladdin. I love this novel so very much that I had a very difficult time finishing the book let alone writing this review because I just don’t want to leave the world that Jessica Khoury created.
I was thoroughly impressed as well as surprised every step to the way while reading this novel.
I did not expect the Jinni to be . . .
I enjoyed the character Zahra! I loved her character, her strength, I love her even when she shows her vulnerability, it’s the emotions that Khoury gave Zahra that made her character extremely realistic. I am so use to having characters only focusing on a fallen love which usually means an ex boyfriend or an ex-lover. Is revealed in the novel that Zahra is constantly speaking to her Habiba through her memories.
I am happy to know my tiny bit of Arabic knew what Habiba means even without the novel revealing the meaning. Zahra is always speaking to her Habiba throughout the entire novel, which only shows how deep her love goes and how deeply it continues to grow even 500 solitude years have passed. I felt myself truly falling in love with Zahra for being such a strong . . . well not human, but for being such a strong Jinni.
Then along comes Aladdin whose mysterious summoned to Zahra, the Jinni of the lamp. It’s clear from the very beginning that Aladdin and Zahra are meant to have an epic romance. Ha! Just kidding Aladdin and Zahra actually can’t stand each other!
“I’ve heard the stories,” he says. “I’ve heard the songs. They call you the Fair Betrayer, who enchanted humans with your . . .” He pauses to swallow. “Your beauty. You promised them everything, and then you ruined them.”
A thousand and one replies vie for my tongue, but I swallow them all, bury them deep, deep in my smoky heart.
Letting out a long breath, I shrug one shoulder. “So what now? Will you toss me away? Bury me again?”
He laughs, a cold, sharp laugh. “Throw you away? When you can grant me three wishes? Would I throw away a bag of gold just because I found it in a pile of dung?”
Did I mention that Zahra is a shapeshifter?
What woman doesn’t want to transform into a big cat to lounge in the sun from time to time!
Other elements of The Forbidden Wish I fallen in love with are . . .
The diverse cast!
There are so many strong females in this novel it almost screams girl power! Don’t let the notion of girl power scare you away from reading this book because there are some extremely strong male characters fighting, literally fighting, along these diverse cast of fierce warrior women.
I truly loved how Aladdin matured during the process of his second wish. I felt that the timing between Aladdin in the palace and Zahra trying to establish her freely were cleverly time and realistic as well.
I love how Jessica Khoury created diverse characters. She created diverse characters within their personality within their own mental/physical strength. I love how there were characters of all skin types and skin tones. I love books from all different genres. By loving books you tend to fall in love with a variety of characters that you meet along the way. Although I feel that there is a special type of love between an author and a reader when their skin tone and hair type is also feature in a novel. I truly enjoyed how Jessica Khoury did leave me out. I already loved her from speaking with her through Twitter but I especially have more love and respect towards her after she created the characters Nessa and Vigo.
I’m going to admit to you I literally fell out of my chair in shock when the description of Nessa and Vigo came to be. It’s really sad that their aren’t more books that have diverse characters, that way ever reader have an opportunity to know what it’s like that a character, perhaps even their favorite character looks just like them. Tessa and Vigo have dreadlocks and I have dreadlocks too! Mind you I don’t have my hair dipped in silver but a girl gets in where she fits in!
I’ve always wanted to be an Arabian Princess but psssshhh now I would rather be a Tytoshi warrior!
I really love this novel so much very much. I truly hope you give yourself a chances to enjoy this wonderful yet delightful retailing of such an old Arabic Tale.
Thank you Jessica Khoury for writing this novel
Thank you Jessica Khoury family for supporting and helping inspire/create this magical retelling.
My inner child is extremely pleased with this novel and my adult self couldn’t agree more.
Happy Reading Guys