The Candle and the Flame

The Candle and the Flame

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, N...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Candle and the Flame
Author:Nafiza Azad
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Candle and the Flame Reviews

  • Nafiza

    This book is about many things but it is mostly about women being women in the most fantastic ways possible.

  • Rachel Hartman

    I blurbed this book, and it is certifiably delightful!

    For me, I think my favorite part was how hopeful it is. You have all these different people -- different religions, ethnicities, outlooks, histories, to say nothing of the magical djinn -- and they're all living together at this great crossroads of the world, and they're finding ways to understand each other and get along. Not that it's always easy! But people of goodwill, this book seems to say, can work to find a way (often through food, h

    I blurbed this book, and it is certifiably delightful!

    For me, I think my favorite part was how hopeful it is. You have all these different people -- different religions, ethnicities, outlooks, histories, to say nothing of the magical djinn -- and they're all living together at this great crossroads of the world, and they're finding ways to understand each other and get along. Not that it's always easy! But people of goodwill, this book seems to say, can work to find a way (often through food, haha). And it's just such a relief. It's needed and necessary and beautiful, and I just wanted to curl up and stay there forever.

    All that, plus an exciting plot and fabulous romance! I know, I know, most people mention those first, but world-building is my catnip.

  • Acqua

    It's a slowly-unfolding tale about politics, family and love set in Noor, a city on the Silk Road, and it's the kind of really detailed, atmospheric fantasy I can't get enough of.

    I struggled with it at first. I often do, with slow-paced novels, but what made this one particularly hard to get into was the

    It's a slowly-unfolding tale about politics, family and love set in Noor, a city on the Silk Road, and it's the kind of really detailed, atmospheric fantasy I can't get enough of.

    I struggled with it at first. I often do, with slow-paced novels, but what made this one particularly hard to get into was the

    . I don't have any problems with it, as it's a choice that clearly made sense for the story, and I struggled with it because of habits, and not because of bad execution.

    And the writing really is beautiful. Food descriptions are my weakness, and this book has so many of them.

    (the beautiful

    ) and it's never just a dress or jewels, Nafiza Azad will tell you which kind of dress, which kinds of jewels. Which also means that, depending on how familiar the cultures represented are to you, this book might require a lot of googling. And to say that I don't mind that is an understatement, I actually love it.

    The city of Noor is now one of my favorite YA fantasy setting. It reminded me a bit of the Cairo of P. Djèlí Clark's

    - not because Noor and that alternate version of Cairo are similar (they're really not), but because both these fantasy books portray multi-cultural cities with humans of different cultures and faiths coexisting, and also coexisting with Djinn.

    . Also, this means that you get descriptions of Turkish food and Korean food and so many dishes from the Indian subcontinent.

    (Also, there's a mention of a very minor character being queer and I appreciate books that acknowledge explicitly that queer characters exist in their world. And I'm not completely sure it's canon but Sunaina is totally not straight as far as I'm concerned)

    But enough about the setting, let's talk about the story and characters. When the author said that this book is

    , I didn't really know what she meant, but now I can say that I totally agree. There are so many female characters in this book, all of them very different from each other, some of them morally gray to some degree, and

    - how easy it would have been to make the rajkumari just a spoiled, entitled princess who hated the protagonist, and how many books have I read that do exactly that -

    . I loved reading about Fatima Ghazala and Sunaina's relationship as adopted sisters who went through a lot together, because it's strained and developed and all but stagnant during the story. I also loved reading about the Alif sisters' banter.

    I really liked Fatima Ghazala, especially because she was allowed to be distant and sometimes cold without being villainized for it. Also,

    !

    I liked her romance with Zulfikar, even though I didn't feel strongly about it - they're not... my type? I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the romance - and I really appreciated the conversations they had

    The political intrigue in this book was predictable, but I also feel like it was supposed to be - this isn't the kind of book that wants or needs to surprise you with plot twists - so I didn't mind that too much.

  • may ➹

    , Fatima Ghazala. She grew so much throughout the book and she was so fiery (both literally and metaphorically). I thought she was a strong character, both when it came to her development and her personality, and I loved reading about her!

    , were so amazing? In this world, there’s a lot of misogyny, but it’s always called out, and seeing all the women in this book be so strong and fie

    , Fatima Ghazala. She grew so much throughout the book and she was so fiery (both literally and metaphorically). I thought she was a strong character, both when it came to her development and her personality, and I loved reading about her!

    , were so amazing? In this world, there’s a lot of misogyny, but it’s always called out, and seeing all the women in this book be so strong and fierce was definitely a highlight. I mean, Fatima Ghazala pretty much burned someone for harassing and touching her inappropriately. I would like to request the rights to be that powerful!!

    ✧ Other themes I loved included

    . I’m a sucker for any kind of strong familial bond, and as is expected of an Asian book, there were many in this one! I loved Fatima Ghazala’s relationship with her sister, and especially with her elders, and I thought her fun friendship with the Alif sisters added a nice contrast to the other heavier content.

    . Though it was a little hard to get into at first, it was still so beautiful, and Azad’s descriptions of pretty much just everything (ESPECIALLY the food) were so enticingly written.

    ✧ Through Azad’s expert writing, I fell in love with the city of Noor. It’s extremely immersive, and the fantastic blend of people and cultures made for the Ultimate fantasy setting. Plus Silk Road-inspired!!! I don’t need to say anymore.

    I will admit that it was a little, uhhhh, insta-lovey, BUT it was written in a way that I was still able to care about it and like it and not just be completely annoyed by it (which happens all too often).

    ✧ I wasn’t expecting how dark it got sometimes?? It wasn’t horribly gruesome and violent (although you should still check CWs at the end of my review just in case!), but there were some instances where it got dark and I LOVED IT.

    ✧ (I also loved the tiny part where Sunaina said no man would ever feel right to marry… WLW SOLIDARITY!!! I have high expectations for her and a certain someone based on that ending.)

    ✧ I think my biggest issue (and why I took off a half star) with this book was that I had

    in this book, and as a result, the plot was kind of just all over the place. There was no one big climax (at least, one that I could see), and while Fatima Ghazala’s character develops so much, I just didn’t see her goal throughout the book and that threw me off.

    ✧ I also think that while the writing was absolutely gorgeous and full of beautiful descriptions,

    , at least in the beginning. It got much easier to read the further you get in the book, but the first 70 pages or so were definitely a bit of a struggle for me to read quickly.

    ✧ And finally, it’s a minor thing, but the

    . I think that it wrapped up nicely, but because of the whole missing character goal and climax, I just felt like there was something more to come, and there wasn’t.

    I think that while it may take some time to get into the book at first, it is

    . I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and while I may have had issues with character motives, I loved the characters themselves and immersed myself in this beautiful world.

  • Angelica

    Again, this is another book that I am unsure about. On the one hand, I was super into it. On the other hand, it feels like nothing much happened?

    Again, this is another book that I am unsure about. On the one hand, I was super into it. On the other hand, it feels like nothing much happened?

    There are periods of time where it might feel like the plot isn't really moving and it's because the book takes that time to concentrate on fleshing out these characters and making them people that we can cheer for, especially the women.

    All the women there felt distinct, with their own voices and own struggles. All of them were unique and interesting and I wanted to read more about them. Even the minor female characters like Aruna and the Alif Sisters were amazing and I loved every second of it. Also, can we take a second to appreciate Bhavya's complexity?

    That said, my love for these characters wasn't enough to make this a five-star read.

    For this being the author's debut novel, I think it has fantastic writing. My problem is that while it was beautiful and fluid, it was also distant.

    There is one big event that splits the book in two making a before and after. An event that fundamentally changes the main character's life. After the event the writing changes, adapting to Fatima's new state of mind. The issue is that also this makes it harder to relate to Fatima and her emotions.

    Another issue is that, as I mentioned, the plot sort of takes a back seat at some point.

    I wouldn't have minded it so much if everything didn't all rush together at the end as if in a mad dash to solve all the problems without us seeing much consequence for everything that happened.

    Lastly, this isn't so much an issue as it is an observation and a warning.

    The romance takes the very back seat on this ride, silently brewing in the background while everything else unfolds. I didn't mind this at all, in fact, I appreciated it, but in case you thought you were getting into something along the lines of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, this is not it.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I read most of it on the trip to New York to Maryland on my way back from BookCon. I was hooked into these character's lives and thoughts and struggles.

    Also, can we just appreciate the beautiful cover for a minute? Can we also appreciate that this is a standalone novel with its own self-contained story? We don't get very many of those anymore.

    Follow Me Here Too:

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    *vigorously shakes a magic 8 ball* will 3 star ratings ever stop being so awkward?

    The book is rich when it comes to the fantasy landscape and the magical structure but it's largely devoid of emotional power and the distant, almost detached narrative voice not only keeps the characters at arm's length but also often dampens the experience. The novel also wears its genre tropes on its sleeve and the romance was a bit on the nose. I was most impressed, however, by the subversive thematic elements (

    *vigorously shakes a magic 8 ball* will 3 star ratings ever stop being so awkward?

    The book is rich when it comes to the fantasy landscape and the magical structure but it's largely devoid of emotional power and the distant, almost detached narrative voice not only keeps the characters at arm's length but also often dampens the experience. The novel also wears its genre tropes on its sleeve and the romance was a bit on the nose. I was most impressed, however, by the subversive thematic elements (particularly concerning female characters, lady friendships, and traditional notions of heroism). It's a lovely debut for the most part, I just wish I was wildly passionate about it.

  • Taylor

    ...

    My grief is of a different kind, gentle reader, for I was highly anticipating

    , with it's desert fantasy setting, feminist themes, and promise of magic.

    Today we're mourning the very last time I ever gave a shit.

    *shakes fist*

    I just. UGH. I wanted to love Nafiza Azad's debut

    I mean,

    at that cover! I weep from its

    ...

    My grief is of a different kind, gentle reader, for I was highly anticipating

    , with it's desert fantasy setting, feminist themes, and promise of magic.

    Today we're mourning the very last time I ever gave a shit.

    *shakes fist*

    I just. UGH. I wanted to love Nafiza Azad's debut

    I mean,

    at that cover! I weep from its beauty. Considering the premise of this book as well, I was sure that I'd at least like this book.

    In

    , we follow our main character Fatima. She has lived in the city of Noor, a desert metropolis home to thousands of people of many cultures, races, and ethnicities. Ever since a band of evil Jinn called the Shayateen attacked the city and slaughtered most of its citizens, a group of orderly Jinn called the Ifrit have protected Noor alongside the Maharaja, and at the beginning of this book, the death of an important Jinn causes Fatima to gain magical abilites that no human has ever possessed: Jinn fire. Because of her new magic, she is transported to the palace of the Maharaja, where she meets Zulfikar, the emir of the Ifrit that help protect the city. Palace intrigue, secrets, and danger ensue as another Shayateen attack is imminent.

    What sounded like a heart-pounding, lush fantasy story turned out to be a

    Yeah, I'm just as surprised as you probably are.

    I'll start off by talking about the things I liked: mainly, the beautiful setting.

    Azad painted Noor City in gorgeous array of sights and sounds and colors, so much so that I felt truly transported. The entire novel's sense of place was most definitely the strongest aspect of

    , as well as the jinn lore that was intermittently introduced throughout the story. Could the world-building have been more organic? Yes. I understand, however, that this is Azad's debut, and

    especially if you're trying to balance a story and character arcs on top of that.

    I also really appreciated the themes Azad chose to explore here. I'm always here for feminist stories with female friendships and relationships at the fore front, and on some levels the author delivered. I will, however, say that the whole endeavor was very...

    Which leads me into my main issues with this book.

    Every character and story element in this book felt contrived and under-developed. It's bad that I don't remember half of our characters' names, even though I finished this a couple weeks ago. While Fatima, our heroine, had more dimension to her than the rest of our characters,

    Azad also did something peculiar with Fatima halfway through the book:

    Like, COMPLETELY. It was so jarring that I almost put down the book entirely.

    I got used to it, but I can't deny that Fatima (oh, sorry, Fatima

    ) and the constant repetition of her full name really annoyed me.

    Also, after her sudden transformation, Fatima Ghazala becomes good at pretty much everything over night: she stands up to herself, masters her magic very quickly, and defeats a trained soldier in a swordfight after

    practice. She also has no idea how beautiful she is.

    ...

    *retreats to an isolated mountaintop to contemplate my existence*

    None of the characters felt real. Fatima's best friends, who were a trio of sisters, were cute, but not very interesting. I didn't give a damn about the princess of Noor or the Maharaja. Sunaina, Fatima's older sister, had the potential to be interesting but wound up boring me too. Even Zulfikar, who I

    I was going to like, who was

    to be this badass warrior, turned out to be a boring idiot who did nothing but make stupid decisions.

    The antagonists were mustache-twirling villains with hardly feasible motivations. Aaruv, the Maharaja's younger brother, was just a

    who assaulted woman, and nothing else. It would have been more interesting if Azad at least made him appear likable at first, but he was just disgusting. The other main villain in

    was a part of a twist that I spotted from a mile away, and he was also

    I would've had a better time reading this book if the story were in any way entertaining,

    Nothing. I'm serious. Characters walk around the night market, eat street food, and talk about crushes and other trivial stuff that doesn't matter for

    The pacing slowed to a crawl halfway through and I was so BORED.

    What's frustrating is that I can see glimmers of the great story that Azad was

    to tell. I really could, and why she chose to focus her attentions on mundane activities and boring dialogue instead of magic and intrigue baffles me. The political "intrigue" we

    in this book was under-developed and uninteresting, and even the ending left me completely unsatisfied.

    I hoped that the romance in this book would help me salvage

    enjoyment from

    , but I didn't like it. Zulfikar was a boring, bland,

    hot love interest with zero personality. He made so many stupid mistakes, did next to NOTHING for a majority of this book, and was drawn in by Fatima the moment he met her. *gags* There was no chemistry between these characters, and whatever angst the author tried to introduce felt forced and nonsensical.

    I can appreciate the amount of respect the two had for one another, and that their relationship wasn't problematic, but I didn't give a shit about their romance regardless.

    I know it sounds like I'm bitching just because I can, but I really wanted to love this.

    Sadly, though, this will probably be one of the biggest let-downs of the year for me.

    I cry. Yet again I was duped by a beautiful cover. Ah well.

  • Katie.dorny

    Yet another disappointment of 2019.

    This story just didn’t stick in my mind, or really make any sort of coherent sense within the story that was being forcibly told.

    The writing was so bland. The world building was good, but the characters were so one dimensional I couldn’t invest in any of them.

    Honestly I couldn’t detail much of the plot. Apart from our protagonist’s skill set and development (debatable) the rest just seemed to be thrown in like a wild game of Tetris.

    I need to stop beautiful cove

    Yet another disappointment of 2019.

    This story just didn’t stick in my mind, or really make any sort of coherent sense within the story that was being forcibly told.

    The writing was so bland. The world building was good, but the characters were so one dimensional I couldn’t invest in any of them.

    Honestly I couldn’t detail much of the plot. Apart from our protagonist’s skill set and development (debatable) the rest just seemed to be thrown in like a wild game of Tetris.

    I need to stop beautiful covers persuading me to read them.

    Arc provided in exchange for an honest review.

  • may ❀

    this cover is prettier than me and im totally okay with that

    ALL THESE ASIAN INSPIRED FANTASIES ARE MAKING ME WEAK 2019 did it y'all, it saved YA

  • megs_bookrack

    I want this cover as an art print on my wall.

    My goddess.

    It's gorgeous!!!

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.