Jessica Khoury - The Forbidden WishExpected publication: February 23rd, 2016 by Razorbill
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
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.
Okay, so, meh.
Well, not really. Let me take that back. Jessica Khoury is a gorgeous writer and I was literally stricken by 600% of this story. Let me explain a bit.
I'm a big fan of Disney. Of Aladdin. Of anything Disney may ever copyright, so I nearly screamed when I saw this.
Zahra, a jinni, hasn't interacted with an actual human in thousands of years. She has dearly awaited the moment of someone finding her lamp, so when she's discovered by a street boy, who is more surprised to find that she is a girl, she's somewhat perturbed. But before wishes can be made, the ruins start to crumble and they make a haste escape.
In this new world, magic has been forbidden and the very existence of jinnis has been extinguished. They exchange names. The street rat (heehee) goes by the name, Aladdin. She's Zahra. Aladdin explains his revenge plan against a rotten Prince Darian. Thus, they set off on their journey to destroy him.
The revenge plot doesn't quite go as planned. Wish #1 is used messily and Zahra chides Aladdin to use his wishes carefully.
Wish #2. Zahra wants to be freed from her lamp and fast, so she convinces Aladdin to cast his next wish, turning him into a phony royal, so he could successfully break into the palace and wed Princess Caspida to infuriate Darian.
More sexual tension erupts between Zahra and Aladdin before evolving into outright instalove. Aladdin attempts to womanize peacefully
I was glad to see this wasn't a flatout copy of the original Aladdin, though. Zahra and Aladdin's relationship was so overdone. At first, I liked their sexual tension. They were adorable. I love nicknames. Banter. All that, really. But the moment they kissed, Aladdin was already trying to tear her clothes off.But the moment they kissed, Aladdin was already trying to tear her clothes off. (hide spoiler)] Like, chill, nasty. Buy her dinner, at least.
And it continued. Zahra became so needy - so desperate - for Aladdin while Caspida reigned and ruled. The writing was gorgeous, believe me, but I couldn't tolerate them. Caspida and her Watchmaidens made the story. They were a feminist army. They deserve their own soundtrack.
The ending was predictable and a teensy bit cliché, but a gorgeous book, nonetheless. I would've preferred Aladdin to be a tad gentlemanly, but that's just me. If you love retellings just as much as moi, check it out!