The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury | Jana

Publisher: Razorbill

Release date: 23. February 2016.

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance




Some books just happen to you, unexpectedly, without knocking on the door of your life, without any sign that they’ll embellish your days. That is exactly how this book sailed into my life, bringing its gorgeous, fictional world. “The Forbidden Wish” by Jessica Khoury is actually the first ARC I’ve ever received and I won it by mere luck in the writer’s Instagram giveaway. There probably wasn’t anything that could be compared with level of my happiness in that moment.

I’ve always loved the story about Aladdin and his magic lamp, and I grew up watching Disney’s adaptation of that story, which is still one of my favorite animated movies. That’s the reason why I was so curious and thrilled about reading this exceptionally creative version of the story – the ghost from the lamp is actually a girl and we have a chance to read her side of the story.


Zahra has been captured in her lamp for hundreds of years until one day Aladdin finds her, introducing her to a world where existence of jinn is forbidden, a world which has changed since her time. Therefore she must use ancient magic to disguise Aladdin and herself until she grants Aladdin’s three wishes.


  Meanwhile, the King of the Jinn offers to Zahra one thing she wants the most – to be free from her lamp forever – in return for rescuing his son from captivity. That’s when Zahra realizes that she has feelings for Aladdin, and if her freedom means that she has to betray him, the question is – is it  worth sacrificing love, trust and everything else that matters to her?

Zahra and Aladdin’s story was, despite all the differences, still as magnificen and magical as the original one. Honestly, I prefer this version from the old one. The structure of the old story was visible in almost every important aspect of this story, but everything in between was pretty different from the original, and the best indicator of that was that the tale was told from Zahra’s point of view.


I was especially surprised by the fact that Zahra often refers by Habiba to her long lost friend, which in Arabian means “dear friend”. It was a bit unusual for me, but still interesting because it felt like that word brought more of the Arabian spirit into anglo-saxon retelling of this ancient Arabian story.


Zahra was incredibly strong female character, very realistic in spite of her mythological, fantastical form in which she was featured. She was  resourceful and clever, and therefore she always knew how to get Aladdin and herself out of uncomfortable situations they got themselves in.

Somehow I managed to compare Zahra and Aladdin – she was living in the past because of the mistakes she made and tragedy she was responsible for, while Aladdin was living in the past because of the recreancy from his childhood and the desire for revenge which exsited within him ever since. Both of them performed under the spell of past events, but as they were getting closer and closer, bonds of the past were getting weaker and they realized what mistakes they made by that approach.

Like Zahra, Aladdin was really interesting and complex character, guided by desire for revenge, but still compassionate and virtuous. That’s why he was, as I noticed, in constant battle with himself.

I was delighted when I realized – imagine – that there is no love triangle, which I really appreciate. Also, there is not any instant let’s-get-together-even-though-we-don’t-know-each-other-enough love, which is beautiful, because Zahra and Aladdin’s relationship had space to grow and become something incredible.

Side characters were also portrayed really well, but the greatest impression left on me, without any doubt, princess Caspida and her Watchmaidens, who were always ready to kick some ass. They were simply awesome and  courageous, it was impossible not to like them.

Another interesting thing is that the world where, beside humans, exist jinn, gods and magic, was portrayed uniquely. Division and hierarchy within jinn was also introduced, and I would sincerely like to read more about it, and secret threads of the universe.

A snippet from my other favorite scene in #TheForbiddenWish. It was while writing this paragraph that the whole story finally clicked together for me, and oddly, that's sort of mirrored in what Zahra's experiencing in this chapter. Each book has that moment, I think, where all the random pieces and bits you weren't sure of before suddenly make sense, and you can see the entire picture for the first time. That's probably my favorite point in the writing process–the magic moment when the story becomes whole. I always know it when it happens, because I usually start crying (largely with relief! Because until that moment, I really have no idea if the whole thing is even going to work or not). If I can get to this point, I know I can make it to the end.

A post shared by Jessica Khoury (@authorjess) on

The end and outcome were done perfectly, even though I really didn’t want to finish the book and say goodbye to that world so soon. I mean, no one wants the end of an amazing book, am I right? The author succeeded to round the story, to answer all the questions and to resolve all the situations very nicely. I really don’t have any objections and there is not a single thing I didn’t like. I loved every second of reading this gorgeous book.

Ever since I read “The Forbidden Wish” I have desire to read more retellings, or stories from “A Thousand and One Night”, but also the other works by Jessica Khoury, who became one of my favorite authors after only one book.

I gladly recommend “The Forbidden Wish” to all of you. It’s just been released today, and believe me, if you decide to read it, you won’t regret it, because the book will swallow you into it’s incredible world.


‘Till the next time,

Jana sends you hugs ♥


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