Author: Jessica Khoury.
Zahra, jinni of the lamp and prisoner of old, is released from her lamp for the first time in centuries when Aladdin finds it. Haunted by the death of the only friend she ever had, Zahra must try to keep herself from growing too attached to Aladdin as she waits for him to choose his wishes… especially when the jinni king offers her freedom in return for help rescuing his son from the humans. But as the two go through trial and hardship together, hiding Zahra from the flautists who would imprison her and moving Aladdin into place to start a revolution, Zahra begins to realize she has failed in the worst way possible. And her king is coming to exact his payment. Zahra must make her decision, give her alliance and risk her life for one side or the other, once and for all.
A fluffy, rather middling retelling of the story of the lamp. It is set in a desert/kingdom type, but not Arabia; it is clearly a new world by the author. This actually seemed a good choice. Had Khoury gone ahead and set it in Arabia the potential for failure would have been high. It’s easy for the foreign country setting to go wrong or stereotypical. There was a hint of generic-taste to the world, but in most places it was well-described and vivid.
The vivid world was due to the author’s voice, which is pretty – even beautiful, in places – and humorous. You’ll notice I keep saying ‘in most places’ or ‘for the most part’. That was the strange thing about The Forbidden Wish. It went from gorgeous, evocative prose and powerful jinni to a girl sighing over her inability to love humans and tip-toing around boring villains, without a blink. The Forbidden Wish also suffered from the classic problem of flat antagonists; the princess was intriguing, layers of personality hinted at even with short screen time. Zahra herself was irritating at parts but interesting, and surprisingly well portrayed as a jinni. Sadly, none of the minor characters were built up and even the main antagonist suffered from insufficient reasoning and humanity.
The ending was predictable, and much of the romantic tension spoiled by the fact that it was easy to see who Aladdin would choose and what Zahra must inevitably decide. Final one sentence summary: Fun, fluffy read that starts off with an intriguing premise but devolves into predicable, even cliché, romanticism and ending.
Sexual content: Scantily dressed girls. Character asks a girl whether she makes coin warming beds. Some kissing.
Language: 13 d***, 7 derogatory. Characters also exclaim “Gods!” referring to inverse gods.
Violence: Character hit by an arrow in the shoulder. Character backhands a boy. One character kicks another on the ground. Rather vicious ring-fighting between multiple characters, for money. Some fist fighting. One character cut’s another’s throat, killing him. One major battle.