Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date:  February 23rd, 2016
Page Count:  352 pages
Format:  Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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. 
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars

The Forbidden Wish was a wonderful, captivating read. I just love how it painted such a vivid story on my mind, to the point that I came to dream about the beautiful world inside it and its amazing main character.

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I fell so in love with a main character like I did with our lovely jinni, Zahra. I came to love her so much that I was extremely sad to say goodbye to her as I turned the last page. This girl, this JINNI, is amazing. I feel incompetent explaining her because her greatness goes beyond words. I loved her uniqueness, her power, her agelessness. Her mistakes made my heart hurt but I loved how she slowly allows herself to heal, to let herself love. Seriously, this character is one-of-a-kind and I would've loved to have had her as a friend in real life. Not because of her lamp and the whole granting three wishes, but because of who she really is. 

This book's prose is pretty darn gorgeous. If I had to describe The Forbidden Wish's writing it would be "lulling". Not the kind that puts you to sleep, but the kind that flows into you like soft music, the kind that makes your heart soar. It is told as if Zahra were speaking to her friend, Roshana. As if she weren't dead. With such tenderness and love and regret, it's hard not to feel it. I loved it.
What good is it Habiba, to deny the truth? Your friendship woke something in me all those centuries ago, some dormant humanity that had lingered through the years, and after you died, it recoiled and hid again.
But Aladdin has woken it once more. With his sun-bright smile and his laughing eyes and his way of asking the hardest kind of questions. After you, I swore to never love again.

But I love him.
And so I must let him go.
Oh, but I really wish I could have given this book 5 stars. It pains me not to, but as lovely as the main character and writing was, I can't ignore the rest of the elements that make up this book. Because, you know how the secondary characters, romance (if some), plots, and setting are also an important part to make a book truly extraordinary? For I believe a few of these paled in comparison with Zahra. Not the setting because it was gorgeous, but the rest of the characters, for example, even Aladdin. They just weren't up to her standards. And while I was full of Zahra's emotions, I struggled to feel theirs. I struggled to feel the romance and feelings from Aladdin, I needed a bit more of that. Not much...just enough to balance out the difference with this Jinni. To swoon a bit more. Or maybe that's the price I paid for feeling so drawn to the Jinni's character? Who knows.

Putting that aside, I truly believe this book is a must read for everyone. It is as lovely and  as magical as the original Aladdin story itself (though personally, I dare say even better) and I'm sure I'll come back to it in the near future to feel its beautiful, enthralling magic once more. ♥

...And at his touch, I fall.
Fall through the stars.
Through time.
Through light and wind and fire.
Through smoke and a sky gray like ashes.


  1. Despite how the rest of the book sounds, it sounds like it was a pretty decent read! Nice review, Mel!

  2. I just received a notification that my hold at the library is here. I am going to pick it up tomorrow and hope I enjoy it. Great review!

    Ang @ The Gilded Pages