marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Forbidden Wish

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

A retelling of "Aladdin". Sort of. You will recognize rather more tropes from the Disney version than from any older version (three wishes only, Aladdin's an orphan, etc.) -- but then it shakes them into a new story at least as distant from Disney as it was from the older ones.

A jinni -- our narrator, Zahra, recounting her tale to a long dead woman -- is in a ruin, smoke trapped in her lamp, when a boy comes in and finds her, to be greatly startled that it's not so a jinni, but a girl. He was brought there by a magical ring that he stole, and his pursuers catch him.  She gets hints about how he wants to overthrow the kingdom first -- and then he wishes them away.

It gets complicated from there.  The king of the jinni offers her freedom for a task, Aladdin wishes himself into a prince, parts of Zahra's history is still famous (she's a traitor), the king's brother is using him as a puppet, the princess is a free-wheeling and fearless soul, Zahra gets shown trapped jinni, and more.  Every wish has its price, some wishes are impossible or (as in the title) forbidden, and there's always the danger of loop holes.
Tags: fiction reviews: fairy tale based

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