Book: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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.
The Forbidden Wish is a fantasy standalone and a retelling of Aladdin. That alone should be enough to catch your attention. It did mine enough to buy it. However after having read it, it does not make me hot or cold.
When you do a retelling there are always going to be expectations. It is hard to find a balance. Have enough familiar points to draw in fans of the original but also create something exciting and new. For me it lacked the exciting part. It did twist the story. However I found it very predictable. There was nothing that truly surprised me. It was an entertaining read but that was it. Not memorable. Just another great idea that was put back down to only romance.
A lot of that has to do with that I feel we lacked depth. There was so much of interest in this world with the djinni, the past this country had with djinni, Caspida and the girls surrounding her, the past rebellion and the hinting at one to come and so on that it felt a little disappointing to see the story focus in on the romance portion most at some point. I wanted to delve into the possible richness of this world and these stories. Instead we got an old djinni that fell in love and started acting like a teenage girl. I get to a point why that was but on the other hand she had been living for a very long time. She was not written as a naïve character at all so I was not expecting the sudden change to this.
The writing was solid and even lyrical at moments. The tone was as I think would be fitting for that time frame compared to our modern speech. However it also made it feel stiff at times and I felt a certain distance to our main character and the other characters. It lacked a little warmth for me. I just didn´t really care enough about the characters. Caspida however had such an interesting situation. I kind of wish she had been our main character. I was more interested in her story.
I did however love the connection and the look backs we sometimes got of the past and the friendship Zahra had with Caspida´s ancestor. I felt there was a lot more feeling in that connection in the writing than with everything else.