Sunday, 13 March 2016

Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 350
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

The Forbidden Wish

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?
I really felt ambivalent towards this book. I love Arabian settings, I loved Aladdin growing up and I thought this book was going to be amazing. Unfortunately, The Forbidden Wish turned out to be not the story I was expecting.

The world building felt very lacking, there wasn't enough description for me to really build up a mental image of the majestic city of Parthenia, and the land in which it was nestled. I was expecting to be dazzled by gorgeous prose and rich description of all the wonders of a fictional world set in Arabia, and I was disappointed with it. I have to be honest.

Aladdin was a side character in this story and the jinni Zahra, takes centre stage throughout the book. I didn't care for Zahra, I found her dull. Aladdin felt like he didn't really have a personality and was boring also. The only character I liked was the princess, Caspida. Her plight of being betrothed to her cousin and fighting against her uncle's control of her father the King, was infinitely more compelling. All of the other characters could blend into one, distinguishable only by their different names. There was not enough atmosphere or character development for me to care much about what happened.

The ending was really fast paced and the last few chapters were good but as a whole, I thought the story erred on the side of dull.

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