by Jessica Khoury
“I don’t tell him that the face I wear is stolen, its possessor five hundred years dead.
Of course, I have a face of my own, one slightly younger than yours.
I was seventeen the day I was first put into the lamp,
when I ceased ageing and became the timeless slave I am now.
I have little desire to wear that face any more.
It is the one that betrayed you to your death, Habiba.
The face of a monster.”
Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Book: Stand alone
Genre: Fairytale retelling
Rating: 4.5 Voodoos
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.
This book started with “I sense the boy the moment he sets foot in the cave.” and I thought ‘oh no, I’m going to have to translate every crosses to crossed and sits to sat in my mind!” which I tend to do with books written this way after a while – it happens sort of automatically, I’m not a fan of telling it as it happens books, I’m not sure why. But further down the page you discover that she’s talking as if narrating the events to an old friend and somehow that transformed it from annoying to fantastic and actually kind of heart breakingly beautiful.
Another thing I thought might bother me was that it was changing the HEA of the Aladdin fairytale and I like my retelling’s to still have the same basic structure! It’s because of this I delayed buying this book – all of 22 days…but it all worked out in a way I enjoyed so that’s a bonus. Though I did feel that the ending was a little dragged out – perhaps because it was way past my bedtime and I was trying to cram it all in? Maybe so…
I actually ended up loving the Jinni’s back story, it was just epic and semi tragic enough to please me and give me something to respect her for, which is often missing in these types of story. I think that she’s my second favourite character. Her old friend has a special place in my heart though we know so little about her. She seemed pretty fantastic. I also liked the princess and wish that we’d learnt more of her too. I found Aladdin a bit washy – possibly because Zahra had a lot going on in her head and we only saw of him what she paid attention to. I’m thinking the uncle and cousin were the Jafar equivalent and while one may have been salvageable, the other was way beyond it. I’d have liked to have seen more of his ‘dark side’ instead of just the throw away room search type explanation we had.
I loved when ever Zahra addressed her Habiba directly, just like in my quote above. That may have been my favourite part ever. Also, the end had some magic to it too – pun intended. In the end you really aught to be careful who you step on and oppress and which promises you find your way out of – just sayin’.
This was my first book by Jessica Khoury and I was pleasantly surprised. An Aladdin retelling worth the read.