Simply Nicollette reviews - books, movies, television shows, etc. with slight spoilers. I try my best to review without giving away too much of the story.
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury is a beautifully written retelling of Aladdin, that brings to life all the things we love so much about the original tale. It's romantic, adventurous, and magical!
Goodreads Summary // 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.
"She told me that sometimes, you can't choose what happens to you, but you can choose who you become because of it."
What I loved most about this book was that our main character is the Jinni. Zahra is such an interesting character right when we meet her. She may come off as a bit evil but underneath that hardened shell there is a kind spirit. Our story begins with Aladdin being led to her lamp in the fallen city of Neruby.
Once Aladdin rubs the lamp and releases Zahra, they become linked, and Zahra must grant him three wishes. They soon run into trouble when they come across Prince Doran, and that's when Aladdin chooses to make his very first wish to take him home to Parthenia. Jessica Khoury's writing is absolutely beautiful, and as Zahra grants Aladdin's wish I appreciated the fact that it wasn't described as just a snap of her fingers.. No, it was beautifully described as this magnificent power and how she has to bend the world to grant it. It's clear how powerful Zahra, and the Jinn, truly are.
In Parthenia we find out more about Aladdin and Zahra's past. They are both more than what meets the eye, and have many layers to who they truly are. I loved them, of course Aladdin was similar to the character we all already know and love, but it surprised me how much I enjoyed Zahra as the Jinni. They were both strong and brave and found a way to balance each other out throughout the entire story.
"Wish for her love, and I will deliver it to you."
He smiles grimly. "Then it wouldn't be love."
"And what do you know about love?"
"That it must be a choice."
"Oh, my naive thief." I pause briefly to meet his gaze.
"Love is rarely a choice."
As the story continues we are introduced to more characters, which include Princess Caspida, who reminded me of Princess Jasmine from the original tale, and her handmaidens. This book had such strong female characters AND strong female friendships, which I always appreciate in any book. These girls were tough and badass, and yet had their vulnerable side to them too. I enjoyed getting to know them because they were great additions to this story.
I don't want to spoil too much of the story so I'll give you a shortened version of everything that happens next.. After coming across Princess Caspida and her handmaidens, Aladdin and Zahra find themselves at the palace where they both have separate agendas they hope to accomplish while there.
"The things that were once sweet to me are now bitter. The sun is not half so bright. The stars seem dimmer. All this wealth and luxury feels meaningless. All the world is in your shadow, Zahra. I cannot help but see you when I close my eyes."
The romance was blended perfectly with the action throughout the story. I couldn't help but fall in love with the sweet blooming romance between Zahra and Aladdin, no matter how predictable it was in the beginning. As they grew closer we were able to learn more about their past and how they both have ended up where they now are.
"This war between our people has gone on far too long. Let it end today. Aladdin and Zahra are my citizens, and I will defend them to my last breath."
We find out the truth behind the fallen city of Neruby and how it affected the city of Parthenia. There were many events, that I wish I could tell you without spoiling you, that led to the war going on between the Jinn and humans. In the end it all comes down to the epic battle that was full of action, girl power, and magic! Again, the writing was amazing because I felt like I was right there slicing knives and shape-shifting into a tiger as Zahra was.
The story wraps up in a beautiful way leaving you with a sense of hope. Honestly The Forbidden Wish felt as if it was inspired by Aladdin instead of being a true retelling, but I didn't mind this. It was unique and fresh, and I enjoyed seeing characters I already loved being placed in a new story. The book was full of many great things such as incredible world building, strong characters - even the villains were intriguing, a sweet romance, and lots of fun action.
Overall, I loved this book! All the revelations and truths surrounding these characters kept me on my toes wondering how it would all end. There wasn't much I didn't like about this book because the writing made up for any tiny flaw I came across.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventures, loves Aladdin, enjoyed reading 'The Wrath and the Dawn', or who simply loves fantasy stories!
"What do we do now?" asks Ensi, looking around at the destruction.
"We mourn what has been lost," Caspida replies.
"And tomorrow, we rise."
5 out of 5 stars
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Have you read The Forbidden Wish yet? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!