Today we’re kicking off the blog tour for The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. Khoury’s most recent novel is a stunning retelling of Aladdin with beautiful, captivating storytelling and immense world-building. I believe this is a standalone novel but I would love to see more from this world because I never wanted it to end! I’m thrilled to have a guest post from Jessica Khoury today to tell us about The Forbidden Wish:
ALADDIN THEN & NOW
The first written version of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp appears over 300 years ago, and (did you know?) isn’t actually part of the original Tales of One Thousand and One Nights. It was added later by Antoine Galland, who first translated Nights into French around 1700. The story of Aladdin and his jinni (or genie) has been told over and over through books, film, and theater.
Here are some surprising facts about the original tale, and how they’ve been kept, altered, or discarded altogether in The Forbidden Wish.
The Vizier’s Son
A lot of people don’t know that in the original story, the princess Aladdin is so into—is already married! We are familiar with the scheming vizier, but his son is almost even more important in the tale, as he is the one who weds the princess. In The Forbidden Wish, you’ll meet a new version of this character in Darian, the prince who stands as Aladdin’s rival for the princess’s hand.
The Ring Jinni
Did you know that in the original tale, there were actually two jinn who helped Aladdin? One, the lamp jinni, we know well—but it’s the ring jinni who helps Aladdin escape the cave in the desert. Less powerful, but still crucial to Aladdin’s quest, the ring jinni is given sadly far less credit than his more powerful counterpart. He doesn’t appear in The Forbidden Wish, but I pay homage to him with a very special ring that helps lead Aladdin to Zahra’s lamp.
The Jeweled Garden
We all know Aladdin finds the lamp in a cave, in almost every iteration of the story as well as the original. But the nature of that cave might not be as familiar. In the original telling, the cave is home to an incredible garden created out of jewels. The Forbidden Wish stays true to the original in this case, but you’ll also learn just how this improbable garden of jewels came to be.
Aladdin, King of Jerks
No matter what version of the story you’re most familiar with, it probably features a swoony, daring Aladdin whose cleverness and wits are just as responsible for his success as the jinni’s magic. He’s an admirable and worthy hero, outsmarting the vizier and winning the princess. But would you be surprised to learn that originally, Aladdin wasn’t quite the hero you may know him as today? First of all, he spies on the princess while she’s taking a bath. Then, when Aladdin finds out the princess has married the vizier’s son, he takes some rather dastardly measures to win her away—including having the jinni magically transport the princess and prince’s bed to his house each night. There, the jinni drags the prince to a shed and locks him up, while Aladdin lays in the bed by the princess (who is so utterly terrified that she’s rendered speechless and immobile) until morning, preventing the couple from consummating their marriage, until at last the frightened groom begs for a divorce. So… Yeah. The original Aladdin’s basically a huge jerk. Like, the King of Jerks. In The Forbidden Wish, you’ll meet a very different, hopefully far more noble and likeable version of him!
The Witless Princess
The princess of the original tale is named Badroubouldour (say that five times fast), and if she has one defining quality it would be… stupidity. No, really. It’s an important plot point. She falls repeatedly for the tricks of a magician who is trying to steal Aladdin’s lamp, and must rely upon Aladdin to save her time and again. Not to mention the fact that she marries this jerk who broke up her first marriage and terrorized her for nights on end! C’mon, honey—woman up! Anyway, Badroubla—Badroubou—Badroulabou—oh you know who I mean. The rincess in The Forbidden Wish is nothing like the original. That’s one of the best parts of writing a retelling—you can use the parts you love, but you can also change the parts you didn’t.
Thank you to Jessica Khoury and Penguin for sharing this incredible novel with us. Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour – up next on IceyBooks tomorrow!
The Forbidden Wish hits bookstores on February 23, 2016!