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review 2017-05-01 23:13
Book 24/100: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
The Forbidden Wish - Jessica Khoury

3.5

There are so few "Aladdin" retellings out there, and so this wasn't quite the retelling I wanted it to be.

What I would like is a retelling that really delves into the potential historical and cultural setting of the original tale, sticking fairly close to the bones of the story because that hasn't really been done yet. I feel like after a few rich, close-to-original retellings have been published, that's when you can start doing funky things with a story, and "Aladdin" just isn't at that point yet. So, after getting over my disappointment that this retelling was not particularly true to the original, I tried to enjoy it on its own merits.

But my enjoyment ended up being somewhat uneven. It takes place in a vaguely Middle-Eastern fantasy world that borrows more from current YA tropes than from the original tale or the historical or cultural context in which it is based. There is a love triangle, of course, mostly focused on Aladdin and the genie, who is female. The love story didn't particularly grab me, which is the driving force in the book -- I was more interested in the princess and her struggles to come into her own amidst political turmoil and being constantly undermined by her power-hungry uncle and hounded by her cousin, who was also her betrothed. The tale also seemed to owe just as much to Disney's rendition of "Aladdin" as to the original tale, both in its description of Aladdin's appearance and personality and in its emphasis on the importance of freedom to a genie and the role a master's wish can play in granting that desire.

So while I know I shouldn't hold too much against this book for not being the "Aladdin" story I wanted it to be, I also feel like it probably wouldn't have particularly interested me if it were not billed as an "Aladdin" retelling -- and its relationship to the original tale was thin enough that it could have just been a story about a genie who falls for her human master.

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review 2016-07-06 14:00
Thoughts: Kalahari
Kalahari - Jessica Khoury

Kalahari

by Jessica Khoury
Book 3 of Corpus

 

 

Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret...
But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own?

When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide.  It’s up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales.  Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.

But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she’s ever known about the natural world.  A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group.  After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion’s silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.

In this breathtaking new novel by the acclaimed author of Origin and Vitro, Sarah and the others must not only outrun the virus, but its creators, who will stop at nothing to wipe every trace of it.



I suppose the longer I put off reviewing a book, the less I realize I have to say about it.  Especially since there really wasn't much to say about it to begin with--at least not much more than what I've already written in my pre-review thoughts.

So I guess, in short, Kalahari was an interesting and exciting read once the story got going.  And I might even chance to say that it is the most enjoyable of the three Corpus books--at least in my opinion, it is.

But again, that is after the story got going, and after I chose to let go of how our band of teenagers end up in the life-or-death abandonment problem that they were left in in the first place.  It took a bit of letting go, really, but after the letting go was accomplished and I moved on, the rest of the book wasn't bad.

But to be totally honest, despite the fact that this book is a work of fiction, who thought it was a good idea for the only two adults in this entire situation to run off in pursuit of dangerous poachers, leaving the teenage daughter in charge of five other teenagers?  And taking all the supplies with them?  And taking the only working vehicle with them?  And taking pretty much any possible form of survival with them?

Because, I get that the chances of things going wrong are nil, since everyone was saying that the area is a rather peaceful one.  But things CAN go bad nonetheless.  And agenda or no agenda, passion or no passion, a responsible adult DOES NOT take the only other adult and the only vehicle and run off leaving a bunch of kids to fend for themselves in the middle of nowhere.

Really, the snobby rich kid was kind of a jackass, and kind of annoying, but he got one thing right: Sarah's father was absolutely irresponsible for running off like that when he's got a whole group of kids he was supposed to be watching after.

Ahem... now that I've got that off my chest...

To be totally honest, after that first part, the rest of the book really was quite exciting.  As I'd stated, it reminded me a little of a Michael Crichton novel, if only because we get a group of strangers together and throw them into an environment where things can and DO go wrong, thus pitting them into a life or death journey to find a way out of said life or death journey.  It's just, this book is about a bunch of teenagers (who have way too much dramatics, really), has a lot less death, and the way in which the kids are thrown into danger could have been better handled.

I DO like that, no matter that the rest of the teens were angry with Sarah and her father for what happened, they still conceded that Sarah was the strongest and best suited to get them out of their situation.  So even with all the angry and the emotions and the dramatics being thrown around, they still followed her instructions even if reluctantly.

I also like that they eventually learn to work together, although Sarah was the one who lead them where they needed to go.  I liked that Sam (the love interest) wasn't made out to be the perfect teenage hero--he was there as support and followed Sarah's lead instead.  I liked the constant danger and the survivalist story line.  I even learned to like the rest of the group: Avani, the brainy know-it-all; Joey, the jokester; Miranda, the diva; and Kase, the rich snob.

And I also loved, as per usual with Jessica Khoury, the detail and the descriptions and the setting.

Kalahari isn't the best of books, but it IS written beautifully.  And the kids might have been rather one-dimensional and non-outstanding, but they were an interesting group to follow.  And the ending was quite satisfying even if a bit rushed.

All-in-all, Kalahari was quite the enjoyable read, even though I have the distinct feeling that I maybe am giving it more star rating than it actually deserves (I have half the mind to drop it half a star for lots of reasons).  But that's my prerogative.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square C1 -- Sci Fi

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/thoughts-kalahari.html
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review 2016-07-04 02:53
Pre-Review Thoughts: Kalahari
Kalahari - Jessica Khoury

Kalahari

by Jessica Khoury
Book 3 of Corpus

 


This book reminded me a little of a Michael Crichton book I once read... maybe... but with teenagers and less death.  Kalahari turned out more exciting than I'd expected, based on what my impressions of the first two Corpus books had been, so that's definitely a good thing. 

There are always little things here and there that didn't work for me, but if I sweep those details aside, the book is still engaging as heck.  As I said, I hadn't been expecting it, but much like previous Jessica Khoury books, the story is easy to get into and the action draws you in instantaneously once you get there.

The beginning was a little slow to start, and I definitely had issues with how the author creates the first piece of conflict, but after that, things just rolled right along.


Full review to come.

 

 

***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square C1 -- Sci Fi

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/pre-review-thoughts-kalahari.html
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review 2016-05-23 20:00
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
The Forbidden Wish - Jessica Khoury

This book was amazing.  It was such a unique retelling of Aladdin and the world itself was even more unique.  The relationship between the characters had me hooked on this book.  The story was so gripping and it was impossible to put the book down.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fairy tale retellings.  

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review 2016-04-16 01:10
"Woe to the man who befriends the jinn, for he shakes hands with death."
The Forbidden Wish - Jessica Khoury

This was a magical retelling of the story of Aladdin! Though I should add that there were a few key differences from the familiar story, as the jinn for one, is female. And she was a brilliant character: flawed but very powerful.

Verdict: I really liked this story even though it was heavy on romance!

 

Zahra, the jinn, after spending thousand of years enslaved to her lamp, begins to dream of her freedom as for the first time it seems like something truly attainable...

Aladdin finds her lamp and on his way of revenge, he will fall in love and endanger his entire kingdom...

 

Jessica Khoury's writing should be praised: it was excellent and very descriptive. I liked the world she created and the humanity she breathed on her characters. Oh and the names - where did she come up with these names? My favorite character was the jinn, Zahra. She was selfless and fearless, terrible and kind...The narration is from her point of view, an element that certainly makes the story more immersive.

All the characterizations of time on this story were brilliant:

Time has a way of burying things, shifting like the desert and swallowing entire civilizations, erasing them from map and memory. Always, in the end, everything returns to dust.

So, what is the Forbidden Wish? Read and you will find out!  
If you are fond of retellings don't pass on this one!

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