Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

21396155The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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 Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.


Thanks so much, Jessica, for hosting an Instagram giveaway for this book! 

From the moment I saw the cover of this book and the synopsis, I immediately added it to my TBR list. First of all, can I just comment on the beautiful color scheme for the cover? What a perfect blend of my favorite colors! Suffice it to say, the story inside was just as gorgeous as the cover outside. This book’s title is The Forbidden Wish, but here are some wishes that actually got granted when reading the book!


In the story, our main character is a couple thousand year old djinni named Zahra. She’s been stuck in her lamp for hundreds of years until lucky Aladdin comes to the ruins where she lies and rubs her – er, lamp. From there on, we’re taken into a city where magic is actually looked down upon. Aladdin turns out to be a common thief, much like the one we all know and love. There are certainly elements of the original Aladdin – a beautiful princess, a thief who started from the bottom, an evil usurper of the throne, and a powerful genie (djinni?) who can only grant three wishes – but the author adds fun twists that give some spice to the story. 

Although the story’s foundation can be traced to Aladdin, The Forbidden Wish can stand on its own with its endearing characters and clever plot. 


BAHHH Aladdin and Zahra were just ❤ ❤ ❤ ! There were so many amazing qualities about both of them and I thought that they were made for each other. Aladdin, despite being a thief (and the son of a revolutionary!) has high morals and is just adorable and sweet without even realizing it. Zahra is super kind (almost too kind at times, in my opinion) even though she may think otherwise, and truly tries to do what she believes best for everyone. However, sometimes those actions don’t work out for the best, which you’ll find out in the book. Her character development really shows, especially when you compare her actions from hundreds of years ago to the current time in the book. She has those magical powers, too, so that’s a plus.

Put them together (as well as a little angst which coincides with the plot), and you have a delicious and sizzling romance that got me giggling and swooning while reading.


I really don’t want to spoil too much with this wish so I won’t go into that much detail. Throughout the story, Zahra has the constant support of one of her dearest friends, even if she wasn’t there physically. Seeing short flashbacks of their time together and their sisterly relationship was just a sweet addition to the story that aided in Zahra’s character growth. Their camaraderie really brings out the feels and is just another example of how Zahra, despite being a magical being, has a heart.


So remember that beautiful princess I mentioned earlier in the review? Well, she may be next-in-line to the throne and engage in court pleasantries, but she can certainly fend for herself. There is a daring twist added to the princess and her guard (of women) that I really enjoyed, and it made me fall in love with these more minor characters. They are all fierce and intelligent women that navigate their way through the scheming politics of the bad guys without them knowing.

Additionally, our main characters can hold their own ground too and reading about them do so is just thrilling. Zahra’s magic is pretty awesome when first described in the book, but ooh it just gets more and more fun as I read more and more of the story. Aladdin may just be a street rat in the beginning of the book, but his heritage catches up to him by the end of the book when we’re looking at a revolution.


I’m not really vocal about it when I reread books, but I have no hesitation in saying that I will be looking forward to rereading The Forbidden Wish. (I’ve already read through the tabbed pages too many times to count.) Why? Because I’m absolutely in love with the characters, the world, and the story. Jessica Khoury delivers an gorgeous retelling of Aladdin that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. There were so many excellent additions to the plot that blended well with the original story to become a great work of its own.

Overall, The Forbidden Wish delivered these wishes – and more! Why do I need a djinni to grant wishes when this package is all I need to have them fulfilled?


22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

  1. Wooooo 5 stars… err… arrows! This was actually not on my radar at all! So keen to read it though because I haven’t really come across a great Aladdin retelling. I’m also thinking of reading Exquisite Captive soon and I think that book also has a djinni in it… so I’m excited to binge these books! Also, I need some good romance in my life.

    (Lol I was about to buy it on iBooks but it’s $16.99…so will probably just buy a physical copy).

  2. Your graphics for this are amazing!

    I’m actually planning on picking this up next week and I’m so excited to read it because I’ve heard nothing but amazing things. Also, yay for a sizzling romance! Aladdin and Zahra sounds perfect.

  3. Aladdin was my favourite Disney movie when I was a kid. I’ve never heard of another retelling of the story.It really interests me as well to have a female magical character that is hundreds of years old paired with a mortal. It might just be my limited reading (and my obsession with The Vampire Diaries), but I feel like usually it’s only the guy who is centuries old.

    Also – that cover! I love it.

    1. Isn’t the cover just lovely? Although I do admit, the original was just as beautiful.

      I totally agree, it’s usually the male in the pair who is centuries old! This makes it quite different. And while I’m not about that immortal-character life, I think it was portrayed really well in this book!

  4. I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long and I’m glad to know my anticipation is warranted !! I loved your bolded statements especially about the princess and her guard, I’m curious to see what they’re like and your review has me eager to meet the characters, especially the swoony romance pairing. Lovely review ! 🙂

  5. I love a well-written retelling and this sounds like it won’t disappoint! I agree, I LOVE everything about the cover. I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you for the review! 🙂

  6. I also feel in love with this just from looking at the cover! First heard about this one probably about a month ago and I’ve been really wanting to read it ever since. I’m glad to hear it’s just as good as it looks.

  7. Your review make me want to read this book even more! Aladdin is my favorite Disney Princess movie ever, so I’m really excited to read this one!

  8. I wasn’t sure about this book and whether or not it would be worth my time but you’ve changed my mind. Great review!

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