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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden WishThe Forbidden Wish
by Jessica Khoury
Paperback, 352 pages
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling
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Goodreads Summary: 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.

Cindy's Review: ** I won The Forbidden Wish from a Goodreads giveaway, which did not influence my opinion of this novel. **

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, focusing on a prohibited relationship between Aladdin and his jinni (genie), Zahra. Taking the place of Aladdin’s well-known, blue and mischievous Genie, Zahra has a backstory of her own. Zahra narrates the tale as if she is talking to her beloved Queen Roshana. The Wise Queen once ruled the omnipotent city of Neruby — a vast land that was destroyed 500 years ago by a devastating war. The war is rumoured to be single-handedly started by Zahra who had used Roshana’s trust to bring down Neruby. After the conflict, the descendants of Roshana banned the jinnis and created wards to prevent their entrance. 

 The novel begins when Zahra meets Aladdin. A magic ring that Aladdin stole leads him into the ruins of Neruby, where he finds and rescues Zahra from her 500 year imprisonment in the lamp. Zahra is glad that she is finally free from her dungeon of darkness, but decides not to become attached to Aladdin due to her past experiences with Queen Roshana. Zahra was forced by the King of Jinnis — a Shaitan, one of the most powerful of the Jinn — to kill Roshana because of their forbidden human-jinni relationship. She does not want the same fate for Aladdin. Zahra’s hope for Aladdin to quickly choose his wishes soon changes when the Shaitan appears once more and assigns Zahra to save his son, Zhian, who was captured and trapped in a bottle inside the castle. In return for saving the Shaitan’s son, she is promised freedom.

Zahra’s only hope to release Zhian before the month ends is to manipulate Aladdin and use his wishes for her benefit. In an attempt to enter the castle, she urges Aladdin to wish to become a Prince so he can get revenge on Darian, whose father murdered his parents. Aladdin has the chance to make Princess Caspida fall in love with him so he may inherit the throne with her in place of Darian, the betrothed of Caspida.

As this plan is put into action, Zahra learns how to understand Aladdin and helps him fall into the character of his disguise. Facing many threats from inside and out of the castle, Zahra is racing against time to achieve her freedom, without betraying Aladdin. Aladdin and Zahra’s adventure leads readers through a magical and enchanting adventure filled with finger-curling danger and unexpected surprises. 

I highly recommend The Forbidden Wish to readers who would enjoy a desert fantasy with an extraordinary twist.

Rating (1-10): 9~

Happy Reading~ 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2)
by Amy Engel
Paperback, 290 pages
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA Dystopia
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Goodreads Summary: Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for.

Cindy's Review: 
The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel is the long-awaited sequel of The Book of Ivy. This duology follows Ivy Westfall, the daughter of an underground rebel in a dystopian society called Westfall. Ivy’s grandfather founded the town, but lost the authority to govern the new nation. Instead, the Lattimer family mandates the town. Separating between the poor and the rich, the townspeople diverge in their lifestyles and opinions. The side of the poor are supporters of the Westfalls, while President Lattimer’s followers, the rich folks, approve of Lattimer’s dictatorship. 

To keep peace, the two sides are placed in arranged marriages every year. Ivy, as the daughter of Justin Westfall, is expected to marry the son of President Lattimer, Bishop, at the age of sixteen. Her father and sister, Callie, eagerly hatch a plan for Ivy to break Bishop’s armor and use her advantage to kill him; thus taking down the heir of the Lattimer lineage and allowing the Westfalls to restore their power. Forced into a marriage she does not want, but at the same time, hoping to receive her father and sister’s approval, Ivy complies with the scheme. 

As time passes, Ivy finds that Bishop is not what she had imagined him to be. Defying her family’s demand to kill him, Ivy sets a trap for herself so she can be caught. She takes the blame of the murder attempt and is casted out of Westfall. Ivy is left to die beyond the fence.

The Revolution of Ivy follows Ivy’s survival and growth outside the fence. Though Ivy faces natural obstacles, she receives aid from Caleb and Ash, siblings who live as itinerants in the wild. Throughout the story, readers see Ivy’s character growth and conflicting thoughts about her tangled life. During the first half, Ivy tries to accept that Bishop will no longer be a part of her life and puts him in her past. When Bishop suddenly appears before her, Ivy fights against him. Not wanting to resolve their conflicts and not willing to admit her innocence, seeing Bishop again is painful.

When news was brought back about Westfall’s chaos and downfall, Bishop and Ivy head back to save Callie from execution and to keep Westfall from crashing down into a civil war. With the conclusion filled with action, Bishop and Ivy prove to be worthy of mending the political disarray of Westfall.

The Revolution of Ivy is a page-turner that will keep readers at the edge of their seat with excitement. Its quick and steady pace allows for readers to stay fixated with the plotline. Readers will be left satisfied and content as they turn the last page. 

Once more, Engel produced a novel of perfection, bundled with action, romance, and humor.

The Rating: (1-10): 8.5

Happy Reading~