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The Forbidden Wish Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Lyrically written, this work is a twist on the familiar tale of Aladdin. Seventeen-year-old Aladdin finds the lamp in a cave, and the story is told from the point of view of the Jinni of Ambadya, a girl named Zahra. She must shift shape in order to remain discreet among the humans. Eventually she is given a deal: she is to free the jinn prince before the moon cycles. If she fails, the human race in the city will perish. If she succeeds, then she will return to Ambadya as a free jinni and no longer be a slave to the lamp. Aladdin and Zahra become allies. As she works to free herself, she falls in love with him only to find that if she is to claim her freedom, then she must betray him. Readers, knowing that she can't have it both ways, will want to know what she will do to solve her problem. Other characters involved in the story add to the drama, making it even harder for Aladdin and Zahra. Khoury's writing is evenly paced and well done, making this a good selection. VERDICT A solid choice for anyone who enjoys fairy tale retellings and light romance with magic and hope.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
**A Goodreads Best Book of February**
"An exciting tale of deception, forbidden love, and dangerous magic, starring a cheeky thief and powerful but vulnerable jinni. Fans of fairytale retellings set in faraway lands full of romance, daring-do and pulse-pounding action will fall for this swoon-worthy tale."
—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
"Lush and magical . . . anyone who ever loved Aladdin or One Thousand and One Nights is going to be hooked."
"Gorgeous and complex, this is a wish granted to fans of fantasy, romance, or just good storytelling."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
—School Library Journal
"Playful chemistry and Khoury’s assured storytelling should make it easy for readers to lose themselves in this rich and complex story of allegiances and betrayal."
"Though the dynamic ending fully concludes their story, readers will likely long for more stories—say, 1,000 of them. Dripping in magic, strong women, and forbidden love."
"Deliciously sensual yet understated . . . rich and compelling. The competing allegiances and ambivalent outcomes test Zahra’s long-held assumptions about self and other, her beliefs about love and freedom. Teens will appreciate Zahra's tough choices as ones they face for themselves."
—Voice of Youth Advocates
"The well-loved tale of Aladdin and his magic lamp is dusted off and given a twist."
—School Library Connection
"Lush, romantic, and exquisitely written—The Forbidden Wish is a rare, glittering jewel of a novel. I was captivated from the very first sentence and never wanted it to end! Absolutely stellar—and utterly unforgettable."
—Sarah J. Maas, author of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series
"The Forbidden Wish reminded me of all that I love about the story of Aladdin, now told through the eyes of a narrator who is as human and flawed as she is powerful and cunning. Add to that a compelling new romance and I found myself adoring this tale immensely, from beginning to end."
—Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of Cinder and The Lunar Chronicles
"The Forbidden Wish has everything you’d hope for in a retelling of the Aladdin story—hanging-by-your-fingertips danger, palace intrigue, a dark villain, forbidden love, a swashbuckling hero, and a feisty, dagger-eyed princess, and yet each richly written chapter in this thrilling adventure story is full of unexpected surprises. I was utterly absorbed from the first page!"
—Colleen Houck, author of the New York Times bestselling Tiger's Curse series
"This is Aladdin like you've never imagined. Filled with unexpected twists and turns reminiscent of a magic carpet ride, Jessica Khoury's The Forbidden Wish is a must-read for anyone who loves a fantastic story."
—Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
-Jinn Mythology. I LOVED everything about the Jinn and their magic. It was so unique and well crafted. The fact that each wish comes with a price is so compelling. It gives some power back to the enslaved Jinni crafting the wishes and acts as a punishment of sorts for those who make the wishes. It seems like it’s acting as a balance so no wish grants may too much power - the magic may be used and shaped, but not controlled or bound.
-Writing. The writing was so descriptive and colorful. The words weaved a beautiful story that pulled you in and enchanted you. Like Zahara’s smoke magic, the words crafted a reality you longed for.
-Zahara. It's always nice when you like the MC. This may be an Aladdin retelling, but Zahara is the star. A once powerful and arrogant queen, Zahara sacrificed herself to secure her kingdom’s safety and was made into a Jinn. Zahara has kept humanity in her heart and continually defies the Jinn’s highest law: Do not fall in love with a human. Zahara’s love for both Aladdin and Roshana allow her to become more that a pawn to be used by Nardukha; she become her own master and it’s very inspiring to see.
-Flashbacks. I wish there was more flashbacks to establish Zahara and Roshana’s relationship. I did believe that they loved each other, but I wished we saw more of their interactions. We saw a handful of their moments together and then how their relationship was torn apart. We get just enough to buy their relationship, but I would have liked to see more to their development. It would have made Zahara’s actions more impactful and her history more tragic.
-Time Confusion. This is two-fold. Sometimes in the story it seemed like only a few hours had passed, but then a character mentioned days had passed - or vice versa. I don’t know if I was just not paying enough attention or if it was actually unclear. The other issue I had was in the action of the final battle. When Zahar is battling Nardukha and pulls on the threads of time, I couldn’t tell if she actually went back in time, or if she just sent the ring back in time to be found and set the events of the story into motion. There was so much action happening at one time it was a little overwhelming, but I did appreciate the cyclical structure her actions created.
The Forbidden Wish is a story full of magic, action, and romance. We see characters fight for what they believe in, defy what is expected of them, and strive for happiness when they are surrounded by darkness. The action and magic blend near seamlessly and the romance enhances and empowers the characters and story. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who loves fairy tales, fairy tale retellings and stories full of action, magic and hope.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book! Aladdin and Zahra's story was so touching. I loved how they started to care for each other.Read more
This is Aladdin as you’ve never seen him before.Read more