The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was one of those kids that grew up watching Disney's Aladdin to the point that I still know all the words to the soundtrack by heart. However, this is the story I wish young girls would be told.
This was the story of a powerful jinni, a girl enslaved to a lamp for thousands of years, forced to serve countless masters. Zahra will do whatever she can to gain her freedom while learning the truth about what makes her strong and what makes her free. But it's also the story about a young princess, Caspida, and a handful of warrior maidens who fight to change a city for the sake of the people and for each other.
Everywhere you turn in this book, there are powerful women working to make changes happen and it was wondrous to behold. Seeing the story of Aladdin shift to become this tale of warrior women taking charge of their lives was brilliant. I had no idea going into this that the story would evolve into that but I'm so grateful that it did.
Zahra was a poignant narrator, and the story has her speaking to her Habiba, Roshana, her previous master and dear friend, detailing the current adventure and struggle she's on to gain her desire to become free. Aladdin was charming and reckless and motivation all rolled into one. Caspida and her Watchmaidens were a driving force, their strength and devotion to each other an uplifting angle to the story. Even Roshana was given enough development to allow the reader to understand the loss and regret that Zahra still feels after losing her friend hundreds of years before the events of this story.
The writing was detailed, flowing with enough snark, humor and charm to make the characters breathe and shift and grow as the story reached its end. I'm looking forward to reading more books by Jessica Khoury in the future.
Rating on my scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 9 Stars
I plan to add this to my personal library as soon as possible. And once I have it, I'll read it again, just for fun.