Out in July, 'Nura and the Immortal Palace' is unlike anything you've read before. It's a dazzling, magical adventure steeped in Muslim tradition; imaginatively invigorating, majestic and kaleidoscopic. M.T. Khan has written a sparkling debut.
Nura lives in poverty, working in the mica mines to help her mum support the family. She's determined to win her fortune underground by finding the legendary Demon's Tongue. But in her eagerness, a terrible accident causes the mines to collapse, trapping her best friend Faisal inside. Nura braves the dark to rescue him, only to discover a hidden route into the magical, perilous realm of the jinn. Can Nura overcome lies, illusions and deceptions to save her friend and herself?
Every page of 'Nura and the Immortal Palace' is imbued with a sense of wonder with a voice that rings with charisma and truth. M.T. Khan has woven a tale that feels different; it is unpredictable, wonderfully strange and enchanting. I loved discovering the nature of the mischievous jinn, the unsettling qareens and the wild sultanas within the spatial-temporal quirks of the palace itself - with celebrations such as Eid grounding the story in quasi-religious fervour. This is a book bursting with beautiful imagery and succulent language. But at its heart it's about the education of Nura; her understanding of how to rise above the exploitation she faces in her life, reflected in the world of the jinn. This is daring and important storytelling. Through all the glitz and the glamour, there are always humans suffering and in need of help. 'Nura and the Immortal Palace' reminds us of what matters in a world of greed and illusions.
This is going to be quite a book to stir the imagination of children this summer. I highly recommend it.
Thank you to Walker Books for the proof copy to review.