Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Series: Standalone
Published: February 23rd 2016 by Razorbill
Language: English
Print Length: 352 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Romance
Target Reader: Young Adult

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Hardcover: Periplus

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.

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REVIEW BY ALEXA

“I have no form, I have no name. I am the Slave of the Lamp, and your will is my will. Your wishes are my commands.” Zahra

Apakah kamu suka kisah 1001 malam? Setting eksotis kota padang pasir? Kisah Aladdin dan Lampu ajaibnya? Kalau iya, kamu pasti penasaran ingin membaca kisah ini, retelling kisah Aladdin dari sisi si gadis Jin, Zahra. Selain digambarkan didera rasa bersalah yang bertubi-tubi, Zahra juga adalah jin terkuat yang disebut dalam sejarah dan kisah legenda kuno. Dia misterius, kuat, dingin, manipulatif dan juga cerdas. Aku tak yakin dengan deskripsi terkuat ini karena di sepanjang buku dia hanya memberikan tampilan sihir ala jin yang sudah kuketahui. Atau mungkin karena dia termasuk jenis jin yang langka?

POV orang pertama Zahra terasa puitis dan indah tapi juga lambat, repetitif dan super deskriptif. Kau akan bisa melihat dan merasakan bagaimana bentuk taman permata terindah di dunia, suasana gurun, rasanya terkurung dalam botol, indahnya pakaian dan istana para Sultan, kemegahan sihir para Jin dari narasi buku ini. Itu membuatku tersendat di sekitar 50 persen buku.

Jessica Khoury juga memberikan karakter hero pada Aladdin si pencuri yang digambarkan cerdas tapi super serampangan, charming dan bisa sangat menawan kalau berusaha. Aku suka bagaimana penulis mengembangkan background kisah keluarga pencuri ini lebih dalam dari sekedar romance beda dunia.

“And what do you know of love?”
“That it must be a choice.”
“Oh, my naive thief. ” I pause briefly to meet his gaze. “Love is rarely a choice.”

Romance mereka berdua nyaris tidak terasa sampai di pertengahan buku. Aku menyukai proses bagaimana kepercayaan dan loyalitas Zahra mulai terbentuk dari tindakan-tindakan tulus kecil yang dilakukan Aladdin untuknya. Momen romantisme mereka walaupun sedikit tapi sarat emosi. Aku menyukai bagaimana Zahra memilih untuk tidak memanipulasi permohonan-permohonan Aladdin, berlawanan dengan naluri alaminya.

“Cruelty, I understand. But kindness frightens me, for my defenses are weak against it. “~Zahra

Benang merah utama kisah ini sebenarnya bisa kita temukan dibanyak film/buku romance. Bagaimana seorang membantu temannya berusaha mendapatkan seorang gadis pujaan tapi berakhir dengan menyadari cinta juga tumbuh dalam dirinya. Tapi Jessica membalut formula lama ini dengan setting memukau, taburan intrik kerajaan penuh konspirasi, dendam, dan pesan moral girl power. Dia juga memberikan ending penuh twist yang cukup bisa diprediksi dari awal tapi tetap membuat penasaran tentang bagaimana “caranya” ending itu tercapai.

OVERALL RATING

3stars happyreading

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Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Release Date: November 10th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 824 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

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REVIEW BY ELLE

Wohooo… The final book! Wait… what… the pages??!! R u kidding me?!! Okay… calm down.
I finished this long train wreck in 2 days. I think it’s my average speed for YA genre. Like I mentioned before, I RARELY read YA & Fantasy. BUT, Lunar Chronicles intrigued me because the fairy tale retelling. Guess what? I’m so surprised that I enjoyed this long journey. Satisfied enough.

Credit: http://embercrown.tumblr.com/

What I liked:

  • I loved Winter. She’s the most different character from all Snow White I’ve ever known. She’s not weak and stupid. Yeah, almost all Snow White is too naive. Winter never use her power and it droves her mad. She has a lunar disease and made her hallucinate. She has quick thinking and witty. Winter is my favorite character so far.
  • Jacin Clay; her bodyguard and longtime (boy)friend. He’s very serious man and intense. Jacin is hardly likable at first but in this book, I loved him as much as Winter. They’re really adorable couple with special cases. I could feel their chemistry. They’have their own each other back. Even Jacin never shown his true feeling but I could feel his struggle to be with Winter.
  • I thought we all too fast arrived in Lunar and it will end soon. But, it’s not like that. The author takes Lunar region very seriously and invite us to feel the atmosphere and environment around the Lunar. It only show the important part for the story and wrapped nice and quick.
  • Cinder, Iko, Wolf, Scarlet, Cress and Throne has their adventure for the rebellion. They have on-off and doesn’t end for a long time. Well… two has gone, two is coming. Kaito himself has to face Levanna with his diplomatic style which I never like but it’s his only excess. Kaito is the least likeable hero for me. Cress and Thorne is an adorable couple but still immature. Scarlet and Wolf is the second fave couple because they’re strong and kick-ass!
  • There are some unpredictable events that I never think of that will happened. Of course, the group meet some obstacle and it’s not an easy one.

“Do you ever think about the future?”
His expression turned wary. “Of course I do.”
“And … does it include me?”
His gaze softened. Releasing the overhead pipe, he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “That depends on whether I’m thinking about the good future or the bad one.”
Cinder tucked her head under his chin. “As long as one of them does.” ~Cinder to Kai

What I didn’t like:

  • This is very long journey for a revolt. Not simple but complicated. Like shit happened all the time. They’re such an unlucky group. Hahaha… Sorry. It’s real! The plot is keep going backward and forward.
  • I could just skip the battle part, you know. No adrenaline rush and forgettable. It should be the main point of Cinder’s plan.
  • Anti-climax. Well, that’s easy. After all the act she has done, she’s gone just like that?? No suffer?? It’s too kind, you know. Unbelievable.
The conclusion: Winter is almost perfect for me. There are some flaws that I couldn’t let it go. The ending was wrapped quickly and efficient without dramatize too much. They get happily ever after. It was an entertaining journey with a list twists and turns. So much for emotions; happy, sad, confused and frustrated. Marissa Meyer successfully re-telling the fairy tale story mixed with futuristic theme. It’s not easy to imagine but her world building is kinda engaging till the end. I would love to read other series from this author.
“I have lived in fear of her my entire life,” she continued. “If this is the only chance I’m given to stand against her, then I have to take it. I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to be afraid. And I don’t want to be separated from you, ever again.” ~Winter

Credit: http://basiltonpitchs.tumblr.com/

** Long live Her Royal Majesty, Queen Selene Channary Jannali Blackburn of Luna. **

OVERALL RATING

4.5starshappyreading

Mini Review → Fairest: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer

Fairest: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Release Date: January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 272 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
International: Amazon US • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

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REVIEW BY ELLE

“Come here, baby sister,” she whispered, and despite the terror twisting inside Levana’s stomach, her feet obeyed. “I want to show you something.”

Credit: http://qselene.tumblr.com/

Wow… Even for a novella, I was surprised with the story. Omg, this is very DARK read for Young Adult. It’s just pure evil in many ways. Levana is the main character in Fairest along with Channery; her sister queen. Poor Levana… I don’t want to spoiler but this is a must read. I know it’s so sad what happened with Levana, then I realized what’s behind all of her condition. She’s smart, very ambitious and determined since a little girl. We will know the glamour behind Levana. Ever her cruel sister, Channary who become queen seems stupid and ignorant. She doesn’t care about the kingdom until the point she realize that she need a heir to secure her position. She has unrequited love with her royal guard but she didn’t care. She keep pursue him until the point she has to use her power over him. Her thought is more disturbing since her nephew; Selene born.

She has learned that there is no kindness and pity, otherwise she wouldn’t survive. Levanna learned the hard way to achieve everything she desired. Her love was blinded by jealousy and obsession. She has consistency for being DARK and CRUEL more than Channary. It’s just WOW… I liked it! But I don’t think this book is a good read for children because some material is a little disturbing. The ending is a quite unpredictable and somewhat heart-breaking. Well, I couldn’t wait for Winter. Almost my question and guess already answered in Fairest but i still need the conclusion in Winter 😉

description

OVERALL RATING

4.5starshappyreading

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Release Date: February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 512 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Amazon US • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

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REVIEW BY ELLE

Yay!!! Rapunzel is my other fave fairy tale (not Disney version). Cress is book #3 from Luna Chronicles and her story based on Rapunzel. We could see a glimpse of her story from Cinder and Scarlet. And the fact that Cress is the one who helping Cinder all this time. Too bad, Cress didn’t meet my expectation to be more entertaining than the previous series. There were some pros cons when I finished Cress.

Credit: http://booksandsugarquills.tumblr.com/

“Captain?”
“Yeah?”
“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.” ~Cress to Throne

What I liked:

  • Cress has some consistency on her character. A genius and brilliant hacker. She is the one who protect Cinder group all this long. She’s shy and sweet but not introvert because she was never socialized with another person beside Sybil Mira. Unfortunately, I’m not impressed with Cress beside her amazing skill. Cress is too naive and helpless. It’s quite hard to find some positive thing about her. I feel that she’s more like cameo on her own book than main character which is always Cinder. She has some potential to be explore.
  • Thorne… is being Thorne itself. He always the spices for this gloomy group which is I found he’s very interesting character. And he’s not useless. He’s the one who makes sense better than Cinder. (Thanks for Chris Pratt being my imagination). My kind of prince charming! *swoon*
  • The bad one is more evil than before. It took a while to process that part because I’m very sure this book is for YA, right? So, I don’t have any critic for the bad guys. They’re just so evillll… 😀
  • The father and daughter moment even just for a while. It should be longer but… Ugh, my feels. I could taste tears.

“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

What I didn’t like:

  • The story is more boring than Scarlet. It’s too descriptive with everything and so much unnecessary event (e.g the desert part!). That’s why i had to drag my ass to finished this. Sigh.
  • I would love to read more Cress and Thorne. They have potential but apparently, it was cut down just like Scarlet and Wolf. I thought this book is about Cress?
  • Sometimes… Just sometimes, I feel he’s like a pedophile towards Cress. Just saying. LMAO. Maybe, Cress is too innocent and… childish? She’s lack of affection and seeing Thorne save her like ‘Prince Charming’.
  • We will see Jacin; the royal guard who claimed that has been controlled and now, he decided to help Cinder… which is not interesting. He still in grey area.
  • There is no adventure which give me no adrenaline rush. Just liked bedtime story for children. And The ending is a bit anti-climatic. Argh.
  • Most of the characters didn’t develop very well. They’re just… plain, especially Kai. He couldn’t do anything, for god’s sake! He’s a prince but he never have military education? Or self-defense? #facepalm
Cress didn’t impress me and somehow boring. It’s too often changing chapter before I could process it. I was glad to found that Winter is going to be the last book. I couldn’t handle more ‘cameo’ because apparently, Cinder is the main point/character in this entire books (Is it because she’s Princess Selene?). It seems the whole group is rather useless even some of them has special skill but there is no improvement. At all. I didn’t really enjoy Cress because this is the weakest story. Like I said, there are so many unimportant things mentioned. That’s why I need Winter asap to wrap this quickly.

OVERALL RATING

3stars

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Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Release Date: February 5th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 400 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Amazon US • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

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REVIEW BY ELLE

Once upon a time… there is girl who always wear a red hood went to search for her missing grandmother, but in the journey she met a big bad wolf. It turns out the wolf isn’t that bad. He’s only a big guy with piercing green eyes. Wohooo… This is definitely one of my fave fairy tales. Scarlet is book #2 from Lunar Chronicles and retelling Little Red Riding Hood story. As i mentioned in my previous review that Marissa Meyer succeeded capture my interest. I’m giddy to reading this asap after i finished Cinder and I have high expectation that Scarlet is better than Cinder. To be honest, i’m quite disappointed because it wasn’t as I imagined. There is plus minus in some characters and story.

Credit: http://booksandsugarquills.tumblr.com/

What I liked:

  • Scarlet; red riding hood. 18 yo hot headed, rebellious and brave girl. She’s very independent and strong willed.
  • Wolf isn’t his real name. He has the mysterious bad boy aura around him. Dark ruffled hair and green eyes. Yeah, definitely HOT. He isn’t shy type but maybe only not good at socializing. He hold my interest for a while.
  • More secret will be reveal and we will have more to see about Cinder’s originality. Who is helping her? How could she became cyborg? What’s wrong with her lost memory? Well, your answer in Scarlet.
  • There is some shocking and a little terrifying moment (maybe for YA?). Yay, there is more adventure, new villain, and less whining.
  • I really really like THORNE! Omg… he exactly looks like Chris Pratt (from The Guardian of Galaxy) in my imagination. Cocky and easy going. *heavy sigh*
  • Iko. No words for her. I still adore her and now she is a space ship? No kiddin’!

“We met less than a week ago and in that time I’ve done nothing but lie and cheat and betray you. I know. But if you give me a chance…all I want is to protect you. To be near you. For as long as I’m able.” ―Wolf to Scarlet

What I didn’t like:

  •  I liked Scarlet but can’t loved her. Like the original story, she seems too easy to trust new people. She’s less mature than Cinder, though.
  • Wolf isn’t scary enough. He supposed to be raw and dangerous. Wolf is like a puppy here 😦 For stars, he’s an ALPHA but he’s not strong enough to handle it. I don’t know the story behind Wolf and it left me with so many questions.
  • Kai is useless as always. No creativity and power behind his title. He’s no different from my Cinder’s review. Bleh. His character didn’t any make significant progress.
  • Cinder is still in denial for her role as a Lunar Princess. Dejavu with another story with the same denial. I want her to be strong and not sloppy. I wanna see her growing up but I think it’s a little too much to ask for now. Sigh. (I need to remind myself because this is YA). Dr. Erland is the only one who can help her now but she turns into another ‘direction’ which is failed.
  • I need some kick-ass moment. Nope. It’s not happen on this book either.
  • Please… I need Scarlet and Wolf moment. They have some potential to be develop. It’s just weird because suddenly there is insta-love without right moment and bonding time. This story supposed to be more focus about Scarlet and Wolf.

Overall, Scarlet is less good than Cinder. I had hope that this could be surpass Cinder but apparently, nope. Scarlet has interesting story and held my interest but not until the end. There is too unpredictable and everything looks too easy. Slower pace than Cinder that almost made me skip every boring part. I liked Scarlet but not enough to love it. Still an enjoyable read because I love Red Riding Hood story. I still want to continue this series. Marissa has to unlock the potential to be more ‘challenging’. Once again, I hope Cress meet my expectation. Pretty please… for Cress.

OVERALL RATING

3.5stars

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