Friday, July 27, 2018

"Wish: Aladdin Retold" by Demelza Carlton

Maram, one of the daughters of the Sultan is is returning home from a trip to another kingdom where she had been acting as her father’s envoy and ambassador. Her mother had been one of the Sultan’s wives, but had been condemned as a traitor for falling in love with a man other than her husband. Maram is not just one of the Sultan’s daughters, but as the daughter of a traitor she has been raised to be a courtesan, trained in the ways of pleasing men.

Aladdin is what is commonly known as a “street rat” or someone who has nothing and is out seeking work every day, often not finding enough work to keep himself and his mother fed. Years before, his father had been a successful merchant, though he had died before he had been able to have his son apprenticed anywhere. Without a husband and his income, Aladdin’s mother had been forced to sell anything of value over the years to keep the two of them fed. Unlike most, Aladdin is somewhat educated and always honest and true to his word. He meets the princess by accident on one of her trips to a bathhouse, and is quickly as enamored of her as she is of him. But her status places her entirely out of his reach.

This was a fun retelling of the Aladdin story. It has all of the expected parts of the tale: a genie, a magic lamp, a princess, a Sultan, and his advisors. I enjoyed the description in this book of how Aladdin comes into possession of the magic lamp and the genie. One aspect of this retelling that I wasn’t familiar with was the explanation of how the genie came to be. I also enjoyed the fact that Maram isn’t your typical pampered princess. She was an ambassador for her father and quite successful in negotiating treaties and trade deals for the kingdom.

I enjoyed the twists in a story that many of us are quite familiar with. This is not a simple story of a young man finding a magic lamp that makes all his wishes come true. There is so much more to the tale. I found this book highly entertaining and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys twisted fairy tales.

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