Cover Image: Nura and the Immortal Palace

Nura and the Immortal Palace

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me free access to the digital advanced copy of this book.
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Oh wow. I was finally able to read this and I LOVED IT. Would it be Islamic mythology? Whatever it was, I hadn’t read anything about it before. Learning their beliefs of jinn, how to avoid them, prayers to protect you, and more was very interesting. The story itself was intense at times. I enjoyed Nura and Faisal. Through the book you were able to see Nura grow and realize what was more important in life and you saw Faisal be an amazing friend. Great book for middle graders and adults alike.
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I love how more middle grade stories are exploring fantasy worlds that are not just ye Olden European realms. YA fantasy has been broadening more in this direction, but the middle grade with the most marketing has still been very U.S. or Euro-centric until the last two years or so. Before Nura and the Immortal Palace, I could only name Tahereh Mafi’s Whichwood (criminally underrated) with any kind of Middle Eastern rep in middle grade fantasy. 

This book features the classic plucky female protagonist whisked away to a magical realm in order to save her best friend. It’s a remarkably sinister world for a middle grade fantasy that I loved, and my biggest critique is that the world itself was never explored much beyond the initial first night of Nura’s arrival. She is very quickly imprisoned in a palace she spends the majority of the book trying to escape, which didn’t leave much room for worldbuilding. And the idea of an evil doppelganger of yourself and your friends essentially ensaring you in another realm is such a grea concept, and another that never really fully utilized. 

I will say there was also something hilarious about this book presenting a “marriage of convenience” premise more believable than most adult romances. But that was left (thankfully) unexecuted. 

By the end of the book, I found the author’s note surprising when she instead revealed the central theme of the novel was advocating for children’s education. I can see it, a bit, in some of the aspects of the conclusion of the novel. But that didn’t feel like what the individual pieces of the novel were leading to. It felt more like a coming-of-age fantasy as Nura learns to temper rashness with thoughtfulness, rather than a commentary on oppression. But I fully respect the author’s intent, even if I couldn’t quite connect all the dots to lead there. 

Thank you to the publisher Little Brown Books for providing an e-ARC for honest review via NetGalley.
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spirited away vibes: PRESENT.
i loved this so much. M. T. Khan did incredible things with this story. highly recommend.

- thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the free e-ARC.
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💎 Nura does not go to school unlike the other kids. She works in a mine despite her mother's wish because she knows she needs to help her mom provide for their family. As an eldest child myself (in an Asian household at that) I understand her need to work and to have that sense of responsibility to look out for other people. Nura is a very resilient kid. She's a fighter and a survivor which helped her a lot when she was whisked away to the magical world of jinn. 

💎 What I love the most about this book is her friendship with Faisal. Kids can be fun and annoying to follow around, but their dynamics is truly adorable. They rely on each other so much, even their daily own safety while working on the mine. 

💎 The book heavily centers on child labor and the importance of access to education. Nura and the other kids tire themselves out working on a very dangerous place everyday in exchange for a few coins. Mostly, not because they chose to, but because they feel obliged to help their families. It mirrors the reality that child labor is indeed an alarming problem and it happens everywhere. Some kids don't even have access to a proper school until they're teenagers.
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What a fantastic read, and yes I can see the comparisons to Ghibli both in the atmosphere, but also the darker elements that are present. Nura and the Immortal Palace has all the fun elements needed for the target audience, and is a fun book that delves into magic and friendship, and all the things that will appeal to younger readers, while also tackling more serious issues in a way that is accessible and adds layers to the story.
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Thanks to NetGalley & Jimmy Patterson for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

Nura is thrown into a magical world of djinn who mischievous creatures of fire. Can she escape with her best friend before they're trapped there forever?

This was a pretty intense fantasy book with deep messages about society. It was all really good though--especially relevant for today.
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Aru Shah and the End of Time meets Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away in this mesmerizing portal fantasy that takes readers into the little-known world of Jinn.
Nura longs for the simple pleasure of many things—to wear a beautiful red dupatta or to bite into a sweet gulab. But with her mom hard at work in a run-down sweatshop and three younger siblings to feed, Nura must spend her days earning money by mica mining. But it’s not just the extra rupees in her pocket Nura is after. Local rumor says there’s buried treasure in the mine, and Nura knows that finding it could change the course of her family’s life forever.

Her plan backfires when the mines collapse and four kids, including her best friend, Faisal, are claimed dead. Nura refuses to believe it and shovels her way through the dirt hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself at the entrance to a strange world of purple skies and pink seas—a portal to the opulent realm of jinn, inhabited by the trickster creatures from her mother’s cautionary tales. Yet they aren’t nearly as treacherous as her mother made them out to be, because Nura is invited to a luxury jinn hotel, where she’s given everything she could ever imagine and more. 

But there’s a dark truth lurking beneath all that glitter and gold, and when Nura crosses the owner’s son and is banished to the working quarters, she realizes she isn’t the only human who’s ended up in the hotel’s clutches. Faisal and the other missing children are there, too, and if Nura can’t find a way to help them all escape, they’ll be bound to work for the hotel forever.

Set in a rural industrial town in Pakistan and full of hope, heart, and humor, Nura and the Immortal Palace is inspired by M.T. Khan’s own Pakistani Muslim heritage. 


Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!
One word for this book : GOOD
If you like Aru Shah series, you're going to like this book.
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I can't believe it's taken me this long to write a review. Guess I'll blame it on the jinn? Or being so utterly struck by the delight of M. T. Khan's words? 

Whatever the case, even months after finishing, I know one thing wholeheartedly: THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE. 

Seriously. It is everything I love in MG: voicey, fun, magical, clever, and buzzing with layers that can be unwound. Maeeda was clearly born to write for this audience. NURA AND THE IMMORTAL PALACE has all the magic of a classic portal fantasy (those Ghibli comparisons are *so* deserved), but it doesn't shy away from the realities of child labor and classism either. 
The result is a breathless adventure chock-full of witty dialogue, heartwrenching FEELS, and settings you'll never forget, from a jinn hotel to the streets of Pakistan. I am CRAVING whatever Maeeda writes next.
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This was a very interesting middle grade fantasy novel. There were some dark themes that made it more suitable for older readers instead of younger readers. The characters are well-developed and the world-building is very original and fantastical. I especially like how it was set in Pakistan. It gives readers a glimpse of its culture. I recommend this for fans of The Girl who Fell Beneath the Sea, The Lady or the Lion, and The Tiger at Midnight!
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Absolutely loved every minute of this book. I couldn’t get enough. 10/10 stars across the board.
I enjoyed the way the storyline grabbed me from the state. Highly recommend this read.
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This was so magical! It definitely had the Studio Ghibli vibes the author describes it and it felt like I was reading a Studio Ghibli movie. It shows the harshness of the job that the main character has to take on while also showcasing the beauty of friendship and the magic! The world was amazing and so beautifully written - I cannot wait for what the author writes next and what she has next in store!
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M.T. Khan has believably created an entertaining story with dark themes (a life of grinding poverty, grief, single parent family, child labour, exploitative and dangerous work practices) and a fantastical setting.

Nura is determined to make enough money to take some of the burden off her mother, and to help her mother and younger sisters get out of their deep poverty. Nura works in a mica mine along with other children, including her best friend Faisal, in her rural village in Pakistan. The conditions are dangerous (Nura’s father died in a cave-in) and though children should not be working, much less in these terrible conditions, Nura knows her mother’s gruelling work in a sweatshop isn’t lucrative enough, so she became a miner.

Nura is determined to dig deeper and further than anyone else does in search of the biggest piece of mica, but ends up causing another cave-in, trapping five other kids, including Faisal. The contractors in charge of the mine make minimal efforts to recover the kids, which convinces Nura to find them herself.

What she finds instead is a way into a realm of djinn, and a fabulous hotel where the food is plenty, and everything is beautiful and everyone is wealthy. Nura is taken in by the glitz, and all the food, and participates in various contests the djinn hold, in the hope of securing a fabulous prize. Unfortunately, she forgets one should be very careful making bargains or entering contests with djinn, and she swiftly finds out that she is trapped, and discovers that the kids she was looking for are also trapped with her. To make things worse, they have three days to escape, or they’ll be trapped in the djinn realm forever. She and Faisal work hard to figure their way out through the portal that brought them there.

This was much darker than I expected, but I really appreciated how the author showed us how our comfortable lives in the West are supported by often exploitative practices elsewhere. 

As well, I really liked how Nura had to confront parts of herself, such as how her stubborn actions have sometimes hurt people around her. 

At the same time, this was a fun adventure story with a great friendship at its heart, and two terrific kids who have to deal with sneaky, false bargains and outwit the djinn holding them prisoner. 

Thank you to Netgalley and to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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A thrilling, fast paced MG adventure fantasy with excellent Muslim representation. This story tackles a challenging topic of child labor folded within an exciting story with loveable characters and vivid world building. At times creepy, at times sweet this is the perfect Middle Grade to put in the hands of fans of Aru Shah. 

12 year old daughter absolutely adored it.
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Nura and the Immortal Palace is a beautiful and vividly written book with some of the best and most descriptive world building I have encountered in a while. 
While this is a fun and magical story, Khan was able to incorporate important issues like child labour (Nura works to help support her family) without it becoming over bearing or off putting for the young reader. 
I loved Nura and her love of her family and her best friend, Faisal. I loved the imagery and all the magical elements that were included. 
Overall I enjoyed the book and was excited to share with y’all! The cover is gorgeous and the story inside is entertaining! Pick it up today!!
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I love middle grade novels that highlight aspects of the real world by shedding light on how young people are forced to live through the harshness we find in reality. Khan excels at this in Nura and the Immortal Palace, as Nura shines as a protagonist who has the longing for more than life at the greatest margins in her society land her and her family who also understands that these longings are unlikely to ever be reconciled. So it makes sense when she jumps at the opportunity to change this, even at the deadly detriment this will mean for those that she cares for. 

This is a good story that would feel more gusto if the antagonists were less cartoonish and the storytelling was more subtle in sharing its morality.
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a fun and fast paced middle grade novel! a great introduction to this author, i cant wait to read more by Khan in the future. I have seen this book everywhere and that's why i was so happy to get an arc of it!
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as a bengali woman who is extremely close to her culture, 'nura and the immortal palace' was everything i wanted, if not more. nura herself is a passionate, hard-headed character who loves fiercely and has a temper that works in her favor. she's balanced out by faisal, her best friend. 

the 'spirited away' vibes that i got while reading this, with our amazing characters falling headfirst into the realm of jinn was absolutely magical. this was a super quick read and an amazing addition to the middle-grade bookshelves, bringing culture and diversity and learning experiences to so many children.
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Nura’s tale is the tale of millions of child laborers around the world. Greedy corporations illegally employ these children for cheap labor used in the manufacture of certain goods.

Nura works in the mica mines with many other children and labors to earn meager funds for her large family, including 3 siblings and her widowed mother. 

Her mother wishes for her to cease working in the mines and pursue an education but Nura doesn’t share her mother’s vision and would rather be a help than a perceived hindrance. 

When she decides to go after the infamous Devils Tongue, things don’t go as planned and Nura and her friend Faisal end up in the fabled land of the jinn.

In a very Spirited Away like fashion, this story follows Nura and Faisal as they work together to outwit the powers that be at the Sijj Palace.

They must use their wit, strength, and love for one another to conquer the trials that await them, if they ever hope to be free again.

Shedding light on complex issues involving poverty cycles and child labor, Nura and the Immortal Palace is not just a wonderful middle-grade book - it’s a commentary on things that happen right under our very noses, that most of us are unaware of.

This tender tale of family and friendship will have you on the edge of your seat.

The world-building is solid, the characters are balanced and so very human. All in all, a strong middle-grade read!
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I’ve been very excited for this MG since the author announced it and actually received an ARC, but have been in a major reading slump for the past few months so I didn’t read it pre-release. (Still, thank you to the publisher and NetGalley and my review is still honest!)

I’ve been trying to get out of that slump this week and decided to pick up my finished copy of Nura… I ended up binging it in less than 24 hours!

This fun and meaningful MG fantasy follows child laborer Nura and her best friend Faisal, who are mica miners in a small Pakistani town. In an effort to help her impoverished family, Nura digs a little too deep in the mine and causes it to collapse, which results in several children, including Faisal, going missing. When Nura goes looking for him, she discovers a portal to the jinn realm (and yes, I did keep saying “astagfirullah” in my head while reading lol), a place at once beautiful and fantastical and filled with deception. Getting Faisal back will require some trickery of Nura’s own.

I loved so much about this book but will list just a few things that especially stood out:

✨ the characters and setting leap off the page
✨ it delves into a topic more serious than you’d expect in most middle grades, the plight of child laborers in places like Pakistan (and Bangladesh, where my family is from) who are forced to work and deprived of tools like an education
✨ Pakistani culture and Nura’s Muslim faith are intertwined fluidly with the plot (the moment where Nura recites the Throne Verse had me emotional)

I would highly recommend reading Nura if you or your child are fans of MG fantasy!
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