As a huge Khoury fan, I was so excited about this novel I obviously pre-ordered and dove in the moment it was released. (And yes, I did attempt—more times than I'd like to mention—to get an arc, but was tragically unsuccessful.)
I love Khoury's style. I love the thrill ride she invites me on with her exquisite pacing, the immersion I experience by absorbing the world she's built via lush, lyrical prose, and the unique angle(s) she presents. All of these and more are reasons why I'm so conflicted (and sad) about this review.
I would like to say that I absolutely, with-all-my-heart-and-soul loved The Forbidden Wish...but I'd be lying.
The Forbidden Wish is easily Khoury's best work: the characters are flesh and blood, living and breathing in the pages; the pacing, as always, is phenomenal, and the plot riveting—some truly wonderul twists!—not to mention the brilliance of the subject matter (retelling of ALADDIN? Can you say radiance??!); her trademark prose (aka gorgeous) continues to impress; and there isn't a plot hole in sight.
It's extremely well written and well-thought-through. I loved the characters and their complexity (and quirks). I loved the spin on Aladdin. I loved the immensity of scope involved in making the world and its rules believable.
What went wrong?
Well...that's just it. In the world of YA, Khoury has hit a triple homerun. The novel fits the genre perfectly and I can see her topping charts and receiving well-deserved praise for her work alongside uber-popular authors. And again, the work truly is fabulous. So it's less what went wrong and more what went right.
One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with Khoury's work—aside from her impressive storytelling ability—is that I could always count on it being original and easily distinguishable from its YA counterparts. Were her other novels as advanced in terms of style and execution as The Forbidden Wish? No. Origin had a few questionable aspects, Vitro's romance was a bit lacking at points, and Kalahari's characters, while endearing, needed a nudge to cast off. The Forbidden Wish has none of these issues.
Instead, Zahra's voice, while acceptable and fitting and well done, disappoints solely because it sounds so similar to others in the YA world. Same goes for the romance...even for the themes. I feel like a loser and a betrayer for writing this review T_T, but these are my honest sentiments. I'm happy Khoury penned a great novel. I'm sad that, to me, it can be lumped in with so many other greats instead of beaming from a pinnacle. In my eyes, Origin will always, always be set apart—same goes for Vitro and Kalahari. But The Forbidden Wish, for all its wonder, lacks that trademark spark.
In case I haven't made this clear: there is literally no fault to be found in TFW; the novel is exciting and well worth the read, especially if retellings are your thing. My issue is completely personal (and subjective). I don't want to deter anyone from picking up this book because IT IS PHENOMENAL and deserves every morsel of praise it receives. And cover. love <3 <3 <3...! It just wasn't what I was hoping for.
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