Review: The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish
Book cover: Zahra looks up to the sky, smoke is billowing out of her mouth.

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.

I was very unsure about reading The Forbidden Wish, as I was worried that it would be similar to The Wrath and the Dawn which I didn’t like at all (here’s my review for that book). However, someone told me that it doesn’t have a toxic relationship and thus I decided to go for it, as I actually do like the original Aladdin story. I decided to read this for Asian Lit Bingo.

It’s an #ownvoices story.

Let’s talk about worldbuilding. In one word: awesome. The plot is quite intricate and certain threads link up to each other in different time frames, yet the worldbuilding is solid and makes a lot of sense. The main focus of the story is on the forbidden wish, and though we only find out slowly what it is, we get an idea for how the use or the threat of the use of the forbidden wish, can totally change what happens to the entire world after the wish is spoken.

I enjoyed the writing style. One can tell when a scene is taking place in the past, and when a scene is taking place in the present, due to the different speech patterns that are used by the characters.

There is an emphasis on female friendships, the most detailled being the one starting between Zahra, the Jinni from the lamp, and the princess, and the established friendships between the princess and her guard. It was really fun to read about all of these friendships! I also enjoyed the slow romance build-up and how Zahra and Aladdin’s dreams influence the relationship with each other.

I kept wondering what would happen if the forbidden wish were to be uttered, and I was not disappointed with the action after this came to be. I certainly didn’t expect it and thought it was very creative and interesting.

I wasn’t a fan of the Fahradan celebration, which states that “anyone can ask anyone to dance, and nobody’s allowed to refuse” and wish that the implications of such a rule would have been discussed in more detail.

The ending is intriguing as it sounds like we might be getting a new retelling about Sinbad, with Alladin and Zahra both being involved in the story. I’d totally read that! I don’t know if a sequel has been confirmed but I’d really like one! Please!

This was a wonderful romance story. I had a lot of fun reading it and I hope you will too!

4 stars

Have you read The Forbidden Wish? Do you have any recommendations for other Aladdin retellings?

3 thoughts on “Review: The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury

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