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 Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
“I push against the sides of the lamp, calling out to him, but of course he cannot hear me. He is just a common human boy. He cannot hear the cry of a jinni, a lamp spirit, a granter of wishes.”
I first read this book through netgalley and it was only a few chapters. Which was torture because I needed to read more from this wonderful retelling. As soon as I saw it at the library I picked it up. So glad that I did because I absolutely loved this book! The writing and the details are so captivating that it was hard to put down. The cover is stunningly beautiful! Jessica Khoury does the tale of Aladdin wonderfully! It’s different from the original story and Jessica makes it her own in such an incredible way. Of molding this jinn world to fit in her wonderful tale of Aladdin. The world-building is beautiful and well-written.
“You’re a-you’re a-“
Say it, boy. Devil of sand and ash. Servant of Nardukha, Daughter of Ambadya, the Nameless, the Faceless, the Limitless. Slave of the lamp. Jinni.
“…a girl!” he finishes.
For a second, I can only blink at him.
Zahra, I love her character. She’s sassy and quick on her feet. Even with how she keeps reminiscing with her past master. It was very touching that she still cared about her. Show’s that she isn’t what everyone thinks of her. She’s a thousand years old, making her very mature, reasonable, smart, strong, a bit guarded. All because of a hurtful past but, through her adventures with Aladdin she becomes more human. It also happens to be written in Zahta’s POV. I also like how the wishes came with consequences instead of being a typical wish that grants you wishes. That had me intrigued.
“Smoky,” he groans, “this isn’t going to be easy is it?”
Amusement tugs at mt lips, “Not a chance, thief.”
Thankfully in this retelling, Aladdin doesn’t seem to be love struck. Which was a nice change from the movie. He does of course seek out revenge in a non-harmful way. Aladdin is likable, even with his weakness for alcohol and petty crime. He’s imperfect, an impossible flirt, mischievous and wicked with his charming personality, everything that Aladdin is in the Disney movie. However, he is more grown and a little mature. I actually enjoyed his character in this book more than the movie. Made me see him in a different light.
“If you’re not free to love,” I whisper, “you’re not free at all.”
Now like in the movie Aladdin is interested in the Princess but it isn’t instalove. Though there is feelings for Aladdin and Zahra, it isn’t a love-triangle. I honestly enjoyed the romance and it was slow building.
I am not allowed to hope. I am forbidden a wish of my own. And so I will not think of the world above, of the open sky, of the fresh air and the light of day.
The writing is poetic and gorgeous. It seemed like I was reading a poem instead of a story. Jessica Khoury describes the world of deserts, palaces, and magic in a lavish and beautiful detail. I could almost picture a few scenes that happened. Like when Zahra turned herself into an animal (cannot remember what it is). That whole scene had me laughing.
You also have so much girl power in here. From Zahra to the Princess and her handmaidens. Completely different from the movie. I wouldn’t even mind this book being turned into a movie. As long as it was done well. The Princess is strong-minded and feisty. So are her handmaidens.
I give this book five stars because I really enjoyed it. Plan on buying it and reading it once again. Will also buy it for a family member. I do recommend this book to anyone who loves Aladdin, retellings, and of course strong females.