Cover Image: Nura and the Immortal Palace

Nura and the Immortal Palace

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Member Reviews

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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This book was adventurous, promoting a good message. It was also my first middle-grade SFF book which was magical and scientific at the same time. I would recommend it to readers of any age.

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Nura is the exact kind of character who I would have felt so SEEN by as a Muslim, desi elementary school kid. I'm in my twenties now and I STILL feel so seen by this book. Such a beautiful and gripping story about faith and relentless tenacity, mixed with a very well-done commentary on child labor exploitation. So eager to read more of Khan's future works!

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Comparing a book to a Studio Ghibli movie will always, always put that book on top of my to-read list. And the comparison of Nura and the Immortal Palace to Spirited Away had me so excited to get my hands on it. Reader, this book did not disappoint.

My favorite things about this book:
➛ Nura is exactly the kind of fiercely protective eldest sister main character that I adore soooo much
➛ The emphasis on the cycle of exploitation and how the wealthy pit the powerless against each other so they won't realize the effectivity of banding together and rising up against their oppressors
➛ The underlying message of the importance of education
➛ The absolutely magical descriptions of the hotel...
➛ ...before the facade is peeled back and you see the darkness that lies beneath.

I'm glad I decided to make this one of my API Heritage Month 2022 reads. Can't wait for this to come out so I can get myself a finished copy!

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A fantastic middle grade with vibrant jinn and full of heart. I loved Nura and her friendship with Faisal, along with their determination to free themselves from the hotel. Gave me big Spirited Away vibes. It brought me back to childhood nostalgia, about the allure of getting everything you want, but at a price. I love the creativity of the Sijj Palace, and how the humans and jinn learned to work together in the end to save themselves. What made the book more endearing to me is the way the author utilized a concept familiar in Miyazaki's films, the idea that there is no true villain, just people/jinn that make Choices, and how there is always room for forgiveness and redemption for all characters (even the "villains!").

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This book was so wonderful and it was so great to see Pakistani culture and Muslim and Pakistani folklore in the story. From clothes to food everything was so familiar and I just loved it all. The descriptions of the food especially had me craving all of my favourites, especially gulab jamuns! I felt completely immersed in the world and just the small mentions of Ayat al Kursi and Eid celebrations it made my heart so happy!

If anyone says they work for passion or world peace and not the delicious food on their plate, they’re lying.

When I saw this story had jinns and set in Pakistan I knew I had to read it! It did not disappoint. We grow up with stories of jinns and how we each have our own Qareen that influences us to do some…not so great things and then I see how it’s so wonderfully woven into the story and how Nura and Faisal meet their Qareens and are tricked by them and then have to escape. It felt like my childhood stories come to life!

Not only is this story a magical adventure where a young girl is whisked off to the jinn world but through this there are discussions around child labour and exploitation of poor people which keeps the poor, poor and the rich get richer. I really loved how this is woven into the story without it being too heavy and it’s written in a way that young people can understand. I think these discussions are so important especially as it happens globally and so many people suffer as a result. How these people are pitted against each other so they don’t see who is truly causing their suffering.

The poor stay poor because the rich aren’t willing to spread their resources.

I loved the friendships in this book, between Nura and Faisal and how different they are to each other but how well they work together. How they deeply care for each other and go to great lengths to protect and help each other. It was also great to see how Nura slowly learns to work with others too that she initially finds difficult but as she learns she realises how everyone struggles in their own way.

I just loved Nura even though she was quite hot headed and always ready to fight, it felt real for a 12 year old who has had to grow up too quickly and been unfairly burdened by responsibilities that she shouldn’t have had to shoulder at such a young age. I loved how stubborn and resilient she was and yet it was also heart breaking to see her and the other children go through everything they had suffered and how it affected them.

I highly recommend everyone read this wonderful story!

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I loved this book and the energy that Nura gave. She was everything that I love in an MC, she is motivated, witty, street smart and loyal. It was interesting how the worlds kind of collided and how Nura was able to puzzle her way out of her situations. I really enjoyed her voice (especially her love for sweets) and her friendships as well. I think kids would really enjoy this book!

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The description of M.T. Khan’s debut novel Nura and the Immortal Palace promised a story that is Aru Shah meets Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, and it delivered on all of that and more. Readers follow young protagonist Nura as she is whisked away into the magical and secretive world of the jinn. Once there, she must race against the clock to escape the hotel before it's too late, and she is bound in service there forever.

I love getting introductions to cultures through books, and this book in particular introduced readers to some aspects of Muslim culture and stories. For example, you get to see Nura’s excitement for Eid, the emphasis on Islamic values, gulab jamuns (which sound yummy and I’m now determined to try), and lehengas. Readers are also introduced to some of the cultural folktales, specifically those focusing on the mischievous jinn. There’s so much depth and nuance to the jinn (similarly to how there are many different versions of the fae), and I enjoyed Ms. Khan’s unique spin on the species. Thanks to the story I now know that I should not sign any contracts given to me by strange creatures before thoroughly reviewing them. I also appreciate the reminder that if one’s elders have told repeatedly told you about how the jinn hate humans, you should probably keep that in mind while traversing their realm.

Worldbuilding is one of the highlights of Studio Ghibli productions in my opinion, and this book certainly earned that parallel/comparison. The descriptions were vivid and intricate; I never had an issue envisioning the picture Ms. Khan was painting with her words. While the story does spend some time in a fictional version of our world, it was a delight to see how imaginative the world of the jinn was. Ms. Khan brings the opulence of the hotel to life for the readers through Nura’s eyes, and it was fun getting to experience her childlike wonder and awe. I likened the experience to Alice falling through the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. The glitz and glamour of the hotel are just a facade though, as there is a realistic and much darker aspect that the owner tries to keep hidden from guests.

While this is undoubtedly a fun tale fit for most children, it doesn’t hold back from tackling some tougher topics (in a child-friendly way). For example, M.T. Khan highlights the perils of child labor, and how poverty is often a perpetual cycle when children are not given access to a proper education. Nura, in particular, does not envision a future where she is not working in the mines and aspires to save enough to send her younger siblings to school so they can escape the family’s situation. I’m positive I’ve never seen the issue of child labor touched upon in a children’s book before, and I was quite impressed by how well the author handled it. It can be a delicate tightrope in today’s politically charged climate to walk the line between touching on important social issues and maintaining the lighthearted feel that readers expect in children's books and the author seemed to navigate that challenge with ease.

Overall, Nura and the Immortal Palace is a strong debut novel from M.T. Khan. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope to be able to read more books from the author in the future (especially following this storyline - it's unclear at the time this review was written whether or not there will be more books or if this was designed as a standalone). If you’re on the lookout for a magical children’s fantasy with diverse representation and important social messages, then you’ve come to the right place! I would recommend this book to readers at the upper middle grade reading level and above.

Thank you to the author M.T. Khan, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, James Patterson Presents, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review Nura and the Immortal Palace. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Disclaimer: I received this E-ARC via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and this blog tour post.

Trigger Warning(s): Death of a parent, child labor, grief, and exploitation.

Rep: Pakistani Muslim characters.

My Thoughts Before Reading: When I first heard about this book I was excited! But I at the time had no intention to read it. I knew it was going to be dealing with a heavy subject matter and I wasn’t sure that I was prepared to read that.

I changed my mind on the urging of my sister. I am happy to say that I adored this book!

What I Liked: The plot was fantastic! It was fast paced, there was never a dull moment. I was at the edge of my bed anticipating all the high stakes.

The world building was superb! I loved reading about the imagery and magic of the Sijj palace. The dijjn’s and their powers were so cool to read about.

I loved that child labor and exploitation was explained in an accessible way! Of course it was a heavy subject matter and such matters should be published for every age group. That being said I truly believe middle grade authors have some sort of secret power in how they write their novels. They truly can write anything and it just turns out to make perfect sense and is done so well.

I really liked how the Sijj palace mirrored our own world. I won’t get into spoilers so the only thing I will say is that a lot of the circumstances are very similar to our world.

Nura’s relationship with her family was so lovely to read about! I loved how close she was to her mother, how she treated her siblings, and how much she cared about her family. The devotion and love she had for her family is something that readers will love reading about.

Nura’s relationship with Faisal was so cute! They were such good friends always having each others back, bringing out the best in each other whilst also calling out the other ones faults.

I loved the role Islam played! Whenever Nura would feel helpless she always thought about her religion. Ayat al-Kursi was actually written in the novel and it made my day when I read it.

Nura’s character development was fantastic! I loved how she grew and learned from her mistakes. She did make some rash decisions as well as assumptions (but who doesn’t) and she learns to acknowledge that.

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

What I’m Looking Forward To: I’m really looking forward to the sequel!

Conclusion: Overall I loved Nura and the Immortal Palace! I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, NetGalley, and the author, M.T. Khan, for providing me with a free digital copy to read. This has not affected my thoughts on the book. You can check out the other posts on the tour here:

Review of this book on my blog:

Rating of Nura and the Immortal Palace: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 stars✨)

These types of books are the ones that you can’t stop reading till the end and they are my favorite ones! The writing style of this book was really addictive okay? I haven’t read fantasy in a really long time and this book was just what I needed seriously. Anyway, the characters were really great. Nura’s Qareen, Dura, was so evil. At first, I thought she was a good character but oh well, she wasn’t. The plot was THE BEST, OKAY??!! AND THE FOOD!! AHHH! THE FOOD WAS THE BEST THING EVER. The descriptions made me feel like I was just standing there, eating gulabs and dancing to Bollywood music! The beginning, the middle, and the end, all were perfectly planned out and the balance was good. There’s nothing I want to complain about. Just pure perfection is what I call this book. Also, if you are in a reading slump right now, this book would be the best choice to get you out of it!

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What kind of magic is this?” I gasp. The makeup artist jinn only leans against the door frame of the dressing room with a smirk on his thick lips. “The kind that comes with money, beta.

Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours and NetGalley for the chance to read and review Nura and the immortal palace by M. T. Khan!

Nura and the Immortal Palace is M. T. Khan’s debut novel, perfect for middle grade readers. It was published on the 5th of July by Jimmy Patterson, which is a Little, Brown and Company imprint. The 273 page long book is set in Pakistan and the world of the djinn.

Nura is a child working in the mines trying to mine mica so that her mother doesn’t have to take up extra jobs. She’s also really fond of gulab jaman (who isn’t) and dreams of having the ability to buy few from vendors who charge even more when a poor kid comes up to buy them. She dreams of finding a mythical treasure in the mines so that her family never has to work again. After an accident that traps her best friend in the mines, Nura manages to dig down into the world of the djinn upon the invitation of her qareen.

I signed up for the TBR and Beyond Tour because I don’t think I’ve ever come across a middle grade novel that had djinn and was set in Pakistan. I hoped that M. T. Khan wouldn’t fall into the traps that most desi writers do by waxing lyrical about mangoes, and thankfully we get none of that. The book walks away with 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 in places where half stars are not available).

The book is fast paced and fun. I was so excited to see the appearance of the qareen, and the way the author included djinn stories in here. I loved the element of Ayatul Kursi in the book; and the way that it worked. I was a big fan of how we see that there are good djinn and not so great djinn, but they’re also living in a world that is eerily similar to ours; which is the cruz of the problem. The world that Khan set up was pretty interesting.

My problem with the book was that Khan did a lot of telling and not showing. I’m not sure if that’s just a problem I face as an adult reader, or if a child will feel them same. (Note to self: need to test this book on my 11 year old cousin).

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I read this book as part of the tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars rounded up

This is definitely one of the more unique fantasies that I've read not simply because of the diversity and representation but because of the issues that it tackles through a middle-grade story. I haven't read Aru Shah but Spirited Away is one of my all-time favourites to watch and I do think that the richness of the fantasy world that Khan creates through the Immortal Palace is a worthy comparison. This story is less than 300 pages so I was initially a bit worried that it would be rushed but save for a few difficulties I had with it, I thought that it was well-written and well-executed.

The world-building was fantastic and I was transported as much as Nura as she steps through this portal into the world of the Jinn. Khan brings to world this vividly terrifying yet magical setting that's rich in its abundance of everything one could ever wish for when it comes to riches, fashion, food and absolute luxury. I loved the way the hotel and the different forms of Jinn came so easily to life and it wasn't at all difficult to picture the Space, Time, and Matter wards of the hotel—I found these different sections fascinating and honestly, if the Jinn weren't so terrifying, I'd love to spend some time in this hotel and the Space ward, please! 😂 Khan's writing flowed nicely and the story was well-paced. I absolutely loved how she infused the richness of her Pakistani culture onto the pages—from the mouth-wateringly delicious foods (I developed a serious craving for even just a bite of gulab after reading this) to the bright and colourful fashions to the importance of the Muslim faith and the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr. It was so refreshing to read in a fantasy that’s so unapologetically Muslim and there's so much for the eyes and mind to feast upon in these pages.

That said, I think if you're expecting a magical and whimsical tale, you might be a little disappointed. There is certainly a great deal of magic, wonder, and thanks to the Jinn's inherent nature, a lot of trickery on these pages but the themes combined with our main character's irritable nature, lends the story a more serious tone that I felt took a bit of the fun away. However, I really appreciated the inclusion of issues such as child labour, poverty and education and how they were woven into the story. It's a harrowing and heartbreaking reality that many children in developing countries continue to face and I loved how Khan tackles it. It's a vicious cycle of poverty and while the author doesn't sugarcoat the reality of these situations for readers, I do think that she handles these topics sensitively!

While I enjoyed the story overall, there were a few issues I had with it. One of the things I had difficulty with was my inability to develop an emotional connection to any of the characters. It was heartbreaking to read about their situations and of course, I wanted them to succeed but there was something that kept me from connecting with them, and it might’ve been Nura's character and the story being told through her POV. I thought Nura was a complex and interesting character and while she experienced personal growth by the end of the story, I found her attitude to be unpleasant for most of it. I understand why she was the way she was—to say she's had a 'hard life' would be understating it and her tough exterior is what helped her return to the mines everyday. There's no questioning her drive and determination to succeed in anything; whether it be for the right or wrong reasons, if it's something she wants, Nura will fight tooth and nail to get it and I admired that about her. At the same time, she was often unwilling to give others a chance to voice their thoughts/opinions if it was in opposition to hers (which it usually was) and she was often flat-out mean and rude to practically everyone, even Faisal who was meant to be her best friend. This attitude started to grate on me as the story progressed and sadly, it did make the read a little less enjoyable for me.

Overall though, I’d say this was a smashing debut. I loved that Khan gave us such a vibrant story that brought to life this amazing Pakistani Muslim inspired fantasy world that tackles tough but important topics without sugarcoating or watering it down. If you enjoyed the bath house vibe in Spirited Away, then you’re sure to enjoy Nura and the Immortal Palace.

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Nura and the Immortal Palace is a portal fantasy with an incredibly strong moral message to it. Nura, an admittedly greedy girl, is a mica miner who accidently causes a cave-in seeking the ultimate prize. The cave-in takes with it her best friend and three others. Determined to find them she ventures back into the caves and finds herself lost in another world, that of the Jinn.

It's not often I find myself scratching my head at a middle grade. Typically they are fun, they're easy to digest and I think the target audience would love them. The best are perfect for adults and kids. Sadly this one I don't think would work well for either group. While the spunk and spark of the main character would probably go over well with some younger readers, I did not enjoy it. She felt thin, 2 dimensional, and by the end of the book she seemed not to have grown at all. She simply got away with what she did and still managed to come out a hero.

The moral message and philosophy in this book will probably also feel very heavy handed to adults and I'm almost certain most kids will find it wordy and off-putting. A great deal of it just felt like it came from no where, first we were following Nura as she sought money to buy food for her family for Eid but then in the last 2/3rds we're being told the importance of education (in an aggressive way, with flower philosophic writing). While I think both things are important - the telling of the story of a child in these circumstances and the story of the importance of education - I don't think the two were blended well. There was also the references to her father, which seemed at first to tease a bit of a mystery or a return, but were dropped quickly and never brought up again.

Overall this was fun in parts for me, but I don't think I would recommend this to any children I know or have taught. Adults may possible get something out of this with the early emphasis on the mica mines and drawing attention there, but otherwise it felt like both too much and too little.

2 riotous immortal palaces out of 5 from me.

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Definitely worth picking up. Adventurous and riddled with folklore to bring a strong young heroine at the centre. The theme of poverty as a vicious cycle impressed me the most, especially how it's conveyed through a middle-grade story. Full review will be posted soon.

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I could definitely see the resemblance to Spirited Away. The traverse into a hidden and magical world, that is full of spirits and monsters, the glittering world for the highborns and rich, how hard the “workforce” is slaving away.
But despite these similarities, for me the whole thing had a much different vibe to it.
There was a constant danger lurking and there was not really anything whimsical about it, which I had hoped for. I was a bit disappointed.

What didn’t disappoint was MT. Khan’s writing. It was fluent and vivid and the story was very well-paced.

I have to admit, I didn’t quite like the main character, Nura – she was fierce and a good and loving sister and daughter, but she also had an arrogance about her that annoyed me a bit. I could see where that arrogance came from though and it made me a bit softer towards her.

Woven into the book – rather prominently, I have to say – are the themes of child labour, education and exploitation. It showcases how young children are when they start to work to support their families, how the poor are exploited and manipulated.
I was wondering if those themes were not too heavy for a children’s book but luckily it never gets too graphic or too bad that you would say, you cannot give this to a Middlegrade student.

While I’m neither Pakistani nor Muslim, I still enjoyed the representation. It felt genuine to me and I can guarantee that young children will enjoy seeing themself represented. There is nothing dumbed down and seems to feature direct Islamic and Quranic references. (I had to ask my colleague about it and she confirmed and got curious about the book which I see as a total win.) I really quite liked it and I got really curious about the mythologies and stories.

All in all, I had great fun with this book, even though I couldn’t quite warm to Nura. The representation is great and the story has strong themes.

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Nura & The Immortal Palace was breathtaking and you should get yourself a copy like yesterday. Okay, that’s the end of my review.

Okay, so not really the end of my review because I need to tell you all the ways that Nura & The Immortal Palace has healed and kickstarted a reading streak and possibly granted me good health for the rest of the year. Delightfully succinct with an abundance of cultural nuance and charm. Nura & The Immortal Palace is more than a simple story of good versus evil. It is unapologetically Muslim and tackles issues like education, poverty and child labour and I am blown away by Khan’s ability to tell such a compelling story in only a matter of words and pages. It still gives me chills thinking about it.

Nura & The Immortal Palace: As Addictive as Gulab Jamun

Plot, Prose and Pacing: Simple And Honest

Finally, here’s a book that lives up to its Ghibli comparison! (link to Girl who Fell Beneath the sea) Twelve-year-old Nura, who is the narrative voice of the story, works in the mica mining mines along with others her age to help support her family but it is a dangerous occupation, especially for one so young. And one day, disaster strikes. The mine collapses and although Nura manages to escape relatively unhurt, the same cannot be said for her friends. Determined to save her friends, Nura sneaks back into the mines but is whisked away into a strange and hedonistic world run by the Jinns. But all the wonder and glamour hides a darkness that Nura must escape before it’s too late.

It’s a simple plot, I’ll be honest and perfectly apt for a middle grade fantasy. With comfortable twists, turns and plot development, it is everything I wished the current YA landscape would be. I never felt like the story lagged and every page was filled with a new world of wonder to discover. Everything was so vividly described and made you feel as though you were right there with Nura, experiencing the world as she saw it. I also loved how it was so unapologetically a South Asian Own Voices story without falling to cultural cliches nor watering down its elements to cater to the Western sentiment. I’ll touch more about this in the Worldbuilding section. But, I was absolutely blown away with just how much Khan is able to convey in just a handful of pages!

Characters: Endearing Darlings

Nura is the eldest sister we all deserve: fierce, protective and with an unflinching sense of responsibility not just to her family but also to her friends. Being the oldest sibling in my family, I often find it tough to relate to older siblings (link to The Ones We’re Meant to Find) written in most YA books because there’s something so unrealistic about their actions and motivations, but Nura’s portrayal was spot-on. She’s a quick thinker which I loved and she was able to adapt and learn from the precarious situations she finds herself in, all the while exuding eldest sister qualities.

While Nura is the main character of the story (duh!), we also spend a significant amount of time with her best friend, Faisal. Unfortunately, I think Faisal was severely underutilised in the story and remained quite a flat character throughout. He is the antithesis to Nura’s fierceness but at the same time, exudes a quiet strength that balances her out. I absolutely loved witnessing their friendship and how they’re so good at working together and they just inherently understand each other.

Worldbuilding: Fantasy Grounded in Reality

The shining star of Nura and the Immortal Palace has definitely got to be the world that Khan has built! I loved how vividly the world is described from the appearance of the Jinn to the hotel and it’s hedonistic and lavish activities; there are gluttonous food competitions and beautiful parties that stun and dazzle, exciting and colorful (literally!) characters from all walks of Jinn life and worlds that do not comply with the laws of physics and reality.

But beyond the vivid descriptions and gorgeously crafted world is the intricately woven South Asian, specifically Pakistani culture, from the addictive gulab jamuns to even the Jinns which are inspired by the mythologies themselves as well as the simple mention of Eid and Muslim prayer observances. While I am not Muslim myself, coming from a Muslim-majority country, it just makes me so happy to see the cultures I grew up surrounded by, treated with the dignity it deserves.

I also loved that Nura and the Immortal Palace addressed multiple prevalent world issues like the exploitation of child labour, especially in jobs deemed dirty, dangerous and difficult and the lack of access to education. More often than not, these two issues go hand in hand with poverty which the story also addresses. And, while Khan has made these issues easy to understand especially to a younger audience, it has not been watered down into a palatable version nor does it detract from the story. In fact, child labour and the explotative employees remains a major component of Nura and the Immortal Palace.
Did I Enjoy It?: Conclusion

To sum it all up, Nura and the Immortal Palace has been one of the most enjoyable books I have read in my lifetime and that’s not an exaggeration! I enjoyed it so much I read it in a single sitting. And for someone who loves finding the flaws in most books (and in most people), I can safely say that Nura and the Immortal Palace is flawless. I’d recommend everyone to pick this one up and keep reading it for the years to come. Now, I am off to procure myself some gulab jamun because this book made me crave some as desperately as Nura does.

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Thank you for this ARC! And a really good MG debut by Khan with the Ghibli-Raquel vibes, a good MC, JINN, and the setting and writing style here!

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I am so glad that I got the chance to read Nura and the Immortal Palace. This book spoke to my desi heart with its gorgeous world building, beautiful prose and wonderful main characters. This is the type of book that I would have loved when I was in middle and high school; and I love it a lot as a 21 year old. I am so glad this book exists now. And I completed get the Spirited Away comparison; it did remind me a lot of the movie. Honestly, I would sell my soul to see an animated adaptation of Nura. It would be beautiful.

A major reason why I really enjoyed this book was M.T. Khan’s beautiful writing. I don’t know if I have enough words to describe it, but her prose is delightfully enchanting. She describes things so well that you are able to view them in front of your eyes like you are watching a movie. Khan’s writing makes you feel so much and that’s really the best part about reading Nura.

Nura, our main character, is a young girl who works in mica mines to provide for her family. She is kind, determined and has a good heart through and through. You can’t help but root for her right from the start. As someone who is also an elder sister, her protectiveness and concern for her family felt so relatable.

I love how Khan wove in serious topics of child labour and exploitation while taking us on a magical adventure. This book showcases extremely fell how young children are exploited and manipulated by adults and how the rich are constantly working against the poor. These topics are written about in such a way that it doesn’t get too heavy but it also just strikes at your heart.

Oh, and if you are a lover of Gulab Jamuns, you’re gonna want a whole box of them after you’re done reading this book.

All in all, Nura and the Immortal Palace is a stunning middle grade fantasy that takes you on a fantastical adventure, while weaving in some important, real-world issues with the story.

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I LOVE this story! If you love Spirited Away as much as I do, then you will also adore this story! a

This book follows Nura, a young girl who mines for mica to help her family survive and get food. One evening, her mother tells her tomorrow is the last day she will mine because it is just too dangerous. So, on that next day Nura is determined to find the mythical Demon's Tongue. Unfortunately, she digs too far, and a cave in is caused collapsing on other kids that are in the caves including her best friend, Faisal. After searching the rubble, they only find one kid. Nura knows it's her fault this happened and so she starts digging to find her best friend and ends up in the world of jinn, and at the Sijj Palace, a hotel for jinn to stay in. She becomes distracted by the opulence of this world and ends up crossing the palace's owner's son who banishes her to the working quarters where she finds other humans who are now bound to the hotel forever. She does not want this to happen to her or Faisal, so with the help of the other children and a mysterious jinn, they work together to find a way out before they are bound to the hotel forever.

This gave me such Spirited Away vibes I was practically crying from the nostalgia of it all! It's so similar in ways, and yet so different. Nura is similar to Chihiro in that she's rather headstrong and maybe thinks about herself a little too much. They both grow in the story so much though. Nura used her headstrongness and stubbornness to work against the jinn, and she learns so much along the way to be a better person and more caring about others and the feelings of others.

The world is as you would expect. It's opulent, glittery, colorful, and just sounds like a lot of fun! But those tricksy jinn! They can be a lot of fun, but boy are they manipulative and tricky! They reminded me of some of the works in Spirited Away, their focus is on the wealthy jinn and taking care of them, and they don't care about humans and instead try to take advantage of them.

This story also dealt with a heavy subject, which the author does mention at the end of the book about child labor. This book just showed how greed can effect others, and how there are children who are just too young to work are forced to work in order to help provide for their families, and the work is generally dangerous, and these kids should have the opportunity to go to school, not work. I also loved how it did focus on the fact that even if you don't come from much, that does not mean your future is not bright, especially when you work for it.

"Sometimes if you dig hard enough, you can find sparkles in the dirt". Love this quote!

I really, really, REALLY love this book! I highly recommend it! 5 glowing stars for me! Thank you to the author and NetGalley for the free digital copy to read. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Middle grade isn’t usually my thing, but I guess this one was good enough. I do really like the overall message of the story and it did remind me a lot of Spirited Away. The author makes a point of shedding light on forced child labor, which is nice. However at the end of the day, I was mostly bored. Nothing really stood out to me; the writing is pretty basic, the plot is nothing that exciting nor surprising. Nura’s character annoyed me rather often. She kept treating her friend Faisal like garbage, and for what? That’s not being badass, that’s just being rude. I think the author was trying to paint Nura as a reckless, rebellious little girl but it felt off more often than not. Anyway, this book didn’t blow me away but it’s not bad either.

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