Looking for a book with a female character with unusually dark eyes and hair in a desert setting.

The girl also an orphan, and she can speak any language she'd ever heard (Arabic, Turkish and French mentioned). She remembers from her early childhood her native language, but no one she ever asked about it can identify it, and she doesn't know the name of the language herself.

She lives in the slums and uses her medical diagnostic skills to cure people, but passes it off as magic in which she herself doesn't believe. The reason for her act that it is illegal, or at least frowned upon for women to be healers. In one of her magic sessions with a 'possessed' girl, she decides to use her native language, to impress her clients by making the incarnation more mysterious, but accidentally summons an ifrit or a djinn.

The MC's name starts with an N, no family name.

I heard about the book in YouTube book recommendations now I can't find.

  • 3
    A very nice description. Well done for adding lots of unique details.
    – Valorum
    May 13, 2020 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


This is The City of Brass by S. A Chakraborty.

The City of Brass is a powerful #ownvoices debut novel people. S.A. Chakraborty’s debut novel follows the story of Nahri. She is an orphaned con artist living in eighteenth-century Cairo. She doesn’t know who she is, who her parents are, or how she is able to heal people. She also can understand and respond to seemingly any language without prior knowledge of the said language including a strange tongue she somehow knows even though she’s never heard anyone else speak it. Nahri is a 20 something young woman with no hope and does tons of swindling activities in order to survive. She has dreams of one day going to Istanbul to learn to heal properly. While executing a phony healing ceremony, she accidentally calls on Dara, a powerful djinn with a violent past and reveals that Nahri is part djinn, descended from a long line of healers. To be safe she must flee Cairo as she is a target for ifrit (evil djinn with no souls who are her family’s enemies). We then follow her and Dara as they make their way to Daevebad where only those with djinn blood can enter. Daevabad is far from perfect the rulers oppress the shafit (half-djinn) and there is always the threat of rebellion and war. Nahri is actually part of the tribe that conflicted with the current ruling tribe. She swapped the oppressive powers of France and the Ottoman Empire in her native Egypt for a new set of injustices and oppression.

enter image description here

  • that's the one! Thanks.
    – user129038
    May 13, 2020 at 8:51
  • This sounds very interesting. May 14, 2020 at 4:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.