Ahoy there me mateys!
the forbidden wish (Jessica Khoury)
I love retellings of fairytales. This was a good one. It is the story of what happens when Aladdin finds the lamp. Well, actually, better yet: it is the story of what happens to the jinni when Aladdin gets the lamp because it is from her point of view. Cool huh? Has the jinni ever been a woman before in a retelling? I don’t know because the version of Aladdin I know best is from Disney.
The jinni, Zahra, has been trapped in the lamp for thousands of years. One of the things I liked most about this novel was that it weaves the stories of Zahra’s previous friendship with the human Roshana with the events that are happening with Aladdin. As for Aladdin, as weird as this may sound, he is almost a caricature of a person. But it didn’t really bother me because Zahra believed he was good so he was. If that makes any sense.
I thought the other jinni were fun in an evil-for-the-sake-of-being-evil way. I loved the Watchmaidens in this story. Kick ass women who defy the cultural stereotypes. Wish they could have had an even bigger role. Oh and there is no infighting of women in this book. How awesome is that? The ending was also super fun. Though the book seems to be a standalone, I would like if the author would write about another of Aladdin and Zahra’s adventures. But if not, at least I will be able to read the author’s other series!
The author’s website has this to say about the novel:
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?
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