RELEASE DATE: May 14th 2019
AUTHOR: Nafiza Azad
GENRE: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Magic.
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.
Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.
The Candle and Flame is Nafiza Azad’s great fantasy debut novel. First of all, let’s talk about that cover which looks absolutely gorgeous. It was the first thing that grabbed my attention and after reading the synopsis, I was sold because I couldn’t resist any book that has Jinns. This was a beautiful read filled with feminism, magic, female friendship, cultures, religion, and light romance. It’s a character driven story and mostly a slow paced read. I’m usually not fan of slow books but I still found this very enjoyable. The writing style and the world building was pretty good.
Fatima was a strong protagonist who is loyal, caring, stubborn, sweet, and brave. She’s very fond of her elder sister Sunaina whose parents adopted her when she was a little girl. She’s an independent girl and doesn’t like to follow old rules. Her feelings and emotions felt very realistic. She’s an admirable character and enjoyed her growth throughout. Zulfikar was a broody and aloof djinn who is the protector of Noor. When he meets Fatima, he’s surprised to find djinn’s fire in a human’s body. The relationship between Zulfikar and Fatima was nearly a insta-love but it didn’t bother me much because I liked watching them together. This book also has great female friendship. I absolutely enjoyed Fatima’s three friends. They’re pretty fun. Coming to the secondary characters, I liked Fatima’s sister Sunnaina, Rajkumari Bhavya, Rajah Aarush, and Rani Aruna.
It’s mostly a character driven plot so if you’re expecting for a fast paced action packed YA fantasy then this isn’t the one for you. I loved the female friendship and the feminism aspect in this book. The Muslim representation was great. The romance was a nice addition. I enjoyed Zulfikar and Fatima’s sweet relationship. The diversity and the culture was another great aspect of this book. I didn’t expect to see Koreans in this book which was very refreshing. It’s kinda impressive how the author cleverly connected all cultures from different regions in one book. A little friendly warning that don’t read this on an empty stomach because the tasty foods mentioned in it will definitely leave you drooling and hungry. The writing was beautiful and vivid. The book was written in third person pov shifting between multiple characters. The world building was perfect. I really loved the world of Noor filled with magic, and supernatural creatures like Shayateen, Ifrits, and Ghul. The author brought this city to life through her vivid writing.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book! It’s too bad that it was a stand-alone read, I would love to explore more of this world. For a debut, it was a good start and I’ll look forward to her next work.
I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a character driven YA fantasy filled with feminism, and great female friendship.