The Forbidden Wish – Review // Entertaining, But Not Much of a Retelling

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Book 1 in The Forbidden Wish series
Genre: YA retelling
Pages: 352
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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plot: 14/20
characters: 16/20
setting: 20/20
relationships: 18/20
twists: 15/20
83/100

After finishing A Whole New World and loving it, I had to read the other Aladdin retelling I’d checked out. I went into The Forbidden Wish with high hopes, and didn’t get quite the story I was expecting. It was good, yes, but not what I thought it would be and slightly disappointing as a result.

I briefly mentioned my thoughts on retellings in my AWNW review: that a retelling should have details and maybe key scenes from the original included, but be mostly different to provide a new, entertaining story. I was hooked while reading, without a doubt. However, I could make essentially no connections to this story and the tale I grew up loving. The scene where Aladdin retrieved Zahra’s lamp rang a bell, and so did one of Zahra’s ideas that carried the story for most of the middle portion. Beyond that, I felt as if I was reading any other Middle Eastern fantasy, and that if Aladdin’s name were changed it really would be just that. 😐

I don’t know if that really made sense, but I’m basically trying to say that this didn’t feel like a retelling to me.

I liked Zahra. She was bold, a bit reckless, very conscious of jinni rules, loyal, and sly. I could empathize with her at times, and when I couldn’t I was cheering her on, especially in the end. But sometimes I thought she would’ve benefited from thinking actions through a bit better. She seemed to either be really spontaneous or really cautious, with no in-between. So while I did like her, she definitely got on my nerves throughout the book. *-*

As for Aladdin, I liked him too. He was brave, sweet, and a bit arrogant. At first I thought he was too full of himself and annoying, but around a quarter of the way through I realized he’d grown on me. The one thing I didn’t like about him was the fact that he had a reputation as, well, a player. I don’t know how else to phrase it. When I think of the Aladdin from the Disney movie, I think of a boy that would never hurt people like that. This Aladdin seemed to grow out of it, but the fact that it was ever a part of his personality just bothered me. >.<

Since this is an Aladdin retelling, I expected it to take place in Agrabah. Instead, it took place in a fantasy nation called Parthenia. I’m pretty sure it’s still a Middle Eastern land, but it took me by surprise. Nonetheless, I did enjoy reading about it, and it sounded like an absolutely gorgeous place. πŸ™‚

I have to admit, Zahra* and Aladdin were really cute together. There was a lot of tension, but simultaneously, their mutual feelings were clear. I loved the turn their relationship took in the last few chapters. My only issue with them was that they were kind of cheesy at times, and I did cringe just a little. Despite that, I do think they’re a cute couple, although they aren’t one of my favorite pairings. πŸ˜‰

* It’s so hard for me to type “Zahra” instead of “Jasmine.” I’m used to Jasmine and Aladdin, so adjusting to someone else took a little while to get used to.

The battle at the end and the result of it caught me off guard. I figured they were bound to happen, but the way certain things went down and turned out following it were surprising. I enjoyed reading about it, because it was intense and kept me turning pages. However, prior to that point the pacing felt off. The story went slowly, and there weren’t any other twists that surprised me the way this one did. To be honest, I was kind of bored. This was probably the most disappointing part; I wasn’t very engaged, and even an epic end battle can’t fix that. -.-

One random thing I did like was the way the jinni were written. They were more than just djinn, in lamps just to grant wishes. There was a lot more to them, and not all of them were in lamps. There were also other kinds of jinni, like ifreets and ghuls. It was interesting to read about them.

(I know this review is kind of jumbled, but expressing my feelings for this book has proven more difficult than I thought. I have an odd mix of disappointed criticism and amused entertainment that I’m trying to get out. It probably sounds like I didn’t like this at all, but it was good.)

All in all, I did enjoy The Forbidden Wish. Both of the main characters were great, with only one flaw each that really bothered me. I loved the world, and the ending was just about perfect. Even though the story had a lot of dull moments and didn’t really feel like an Aladdin retelling to me, I enjoyed it. πŸ˜‰

I would recommend this to you if you enjoy darker fantasy and forbidden romance! πŸ™‚ 

my rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! πŸ™‚

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I’m off to start a new book (I don’t know which one) and do a bit of mental preparing for finals tomorrow. XD I hope you all have a fabulous day/night! ❀

Until next time…

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