My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
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 the Aladdin story from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
Beware spoilers ahead!
I had heard about this book last month. A lot of my friends were reading it and enjoying it. I didn’t really get the hype. I didn’t see the appeal about the jinni being a female. Maybe it was because I couldn’t see it working out in my head or that I enjoyed the Disney Aladdin movie too much. But nonetheless curiosity got the best of my and I read the sample from iBooks. I was hoping to understand the hype and maybe read the whole book. Unfortunately this did not happen.
The book begins with Zahra waiting in her lamp. Like she has for the past 500 years. Much to her surprise a boy comes at where she is located. She cannot really see the boy to well because she is pretty deep in her lamp. After the boy takes in his surroundings he comes across her lamp. She realizes that this boy has been looking for her.
She comes out of her lamp only for the both of them to realize that the place where she’s in is about to collapse. They run and barely manage to escape with their lives. Once they are out safely the boy reveals himself to be Aladdin.
Aladdin explains that he acquired a ring that was able to track her down. After the two converse he finds out as well as the readers that Zahra is the one jinni that everyone fears. She made friends with the Queen and they were in the process of a treaty between the humans and jinni’s. Something went wrong and Zahra betrayed the Queen. Now the jinni’s aren’t allowed to walk among humans.
Despite this Aladdin still wants his wishes. He takes Zahra to his home and she finds out that he stole the ring from a Prince. Aladdin had heard it would help him in his quest and he stole it. Aladdin then reveals that he wants to wish for Zahra to kill said Prince.
When I went and read the reviews for this book a lot of people said that the author has an amazing writing style. Of course I expected to be floored by the writing. I was not impressed. I found that while the author started explaining Zahra’s surroundings the descriptions didn’t flow well. Instead of being engaged I was bored.
I was also really annoyed with the amount of times the word ‘thousand’ was mentioned. For example if Aladdin said something offending to Zahra she would think about how a ‘thousand’ responses were on the tip of her tongue. It was ridiculously repetitive. I didn’t like Aladdin or Zahra. Even though it was early in the book I couldn’t see them as love interests. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around it. I found myself preferring the movie. It seems as though Retellings’ are not for me.
When the action started that was when it started to get interesting. And I liked how while you do get 3 wishes there are consequences to the wishes. And the action scenes were written well. I also enjoyed the mini flashback to Zahra and the Queen. These likes did not save the book for me.
Overall this book was not meant for me. I definitely prefer the movie. But I still recommend it to those who would like a retelling of Aladdin and enjoy retellings.