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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Forbidden Wish: A Review

Hello, my lovelies!

I am so excited to share this book with you today!

The Forbidden Wish

4.5 Stars

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
~From Goodreads

What I Liked:

The Prose: Oh goodness the prose was incredible! It felt much like it does reading the Thousand and One Nights, that same lyrical magic, poetic prose that just makes me want to cry because of how beautiful it is. Even if this book was horrible, I probably still would have loved it for the prose. But thankfully it was far from horrible.

The style was also really cool. Throughout the book Zahra talks to someone from her past, making the whole book much like a love letter to an old friend. And the author manages to do it in exactly the right way so that it’s all rather perfect.

The Characters: I loved the characters in this story. For me, characters are the most important thing in a story so I was very happy that these ones didn’t disappoint.

Zahra is a fascinating character, deep and complicated and complex and yet at her core a very simple person. She had so many layers to get through to understand her but once I did she was easy to understand in the good kind of way. It’s like when you get to know a friend really well. There was a comfort in knowing her.

Aladdin is adorable and sweet and straightforward and I loved him so incredibly much. He leapt off the page at me and had me right from the first moment. He’s exactly what you want Aladdin to be- the scrappy street rat with a heart of gold- but he also feels real, like his own person and never an archetype. His relationship with Zahra is also very sweet and he’s so earnest and adorable and I just love him.

But the book isn’t just about Zahra and Aladdin and that’s part of what I love so much about this book too- there were so many other good characters- especially Caspida and Roshana- and they were all as well developed as the main two. I kind of aspire to be Roshana and Caspida was so well done- earnest and strong but also so very human.

The Relationships: As I mentioned I liked Zahra and Aladdin’s relationship a lot. They banter quite a bit and it was so funny and I loved it. Those were my favorite bits, when they were bantering.

But there were so many other great relationships, not all romantic. Zahra and Roshana’s relationship was phenomenal and I loved the fact that the main character’s backstory dealt with a sister-like love between two girls rather than a forbidden/star-crossed romance between her and a guy as story are prone to do. Not that there’s anything wrong with that sort of story, it was just very refreshing to see something different.

Caspida also had the loveliest relationship with her ladies. I loved the way they were written. There was honestly so much solidarity between girls in this book that it made me so happy. It was empowerment done right.

The Story: it was just sweet and fun and beautiful and I laughed and I cried and I just really enjoyed it and I want more people to read it so I can talk to other people about what a lovely book it is. It also had some good plot twists and was well-developed and a very enjoyable ride.

The World: the story world in this book was so incredibly well-developed. I actually looked up some of the mythology of the world because it was so well-established that I was sure it had to have come from actual mythology. But nope, it was all developed by the author. And wow was it good!

I read on Goodreads that the author isn’t planning on writing any more books connected to this one and that made me really sad because the story world was amazing and I would have loved so much to see more of it.

What I Didn’t Like:

The Romance: okay, so this isn’t strictly true but I feel like this needs addressed. Because honestly if this hadn’t happened I would have probably forgiven everything else and given the book 5 stars. And I don't know any good way to say this so I'm just going to be blunt about it.

Zahra and Aladdin come really close to having sex and I just wasn’t okay with it. They don’t actually but the scene leading up to it gets a bit steamier than I am comfortable with and I feel like not mentioning it wouldn’t be fair to any of you, my faithful readers. I would still recommend this book but not to anyone under 16 (which, to me, is what PG-13/TV-14 should be).

The Story Goal: the author established a goal for Zahra and clearly laid out the dire consequences for not completing it and then Zahra spent a good portion of the middle of the book focusing on Aladdin’s goal instead, setting her own aside for days at a time. I just felt like she maybe didn’t have the sense of urgency that she maybe ought to have had? Not that either story goal wasn’t interesting or a solid goal, but it just felt like the more important of the two wasn’t handled as the important goal that it was.

Darius: okay, so I actually liked this character but that’s the problem. I just really don’t like it in stories where there is a main villain and a lesser villain and the main villain is abusive to the lesser villain. As soon as you introduce abuse I will like the lesser villain and feel bad for them and everything they do I will see as a result of that abuse and have a hard time hating them for being a bully.

I just wanted more from this character because the author made me feel sympathy for him. She handled him well in the end, but I was still left feeling a little empty when it came to him because I wanted a little something more.

Overall Opinion:

I LOVED this book. I would highly recommend it to older young adults without a moment of hesitation. It was so good and I can’t say enough good things about it. If you think this sounds even remotely interesting you need to drop what you’re doing and read this immediately. Because it was such a lovely book.

And look, another playlist! It’s almost complete except one song is missing (because it isn’t on Spotify). For the list to be truly complete it would include “My Petersburg” from the Broadway Anastasia Cast Recording. But otherwise this is the complete playlist.

Does this sound like something you’d like to read? Let me know your thought on it in the comments! And also let me know if there are any retellings you’d like to see me review.

I’ll be back on Monday to share with you some things fairy tales have taught me; I hope to see you then. Until the next time we meet, don’t forget to live happily ever after <3

~Jennifer Sauer, the Ivory Palace Princess

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