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...

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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.

  • julia ♥

    Ever since laying eyes on this over-the-top GORGEOUS cover, I've been in love with this book.

    pulled me in with its enchanting premise and I couldn't wait to devour it. Imagine how elated I was to see I could read this beauty early! The Candle and the Flame blew me away with its fantastical story and Nafiza's magical writing

    Ever since laying eyes on this over-the-top GORGEOUS cover, I've been in love with this book.

    pulled me in with its enchanting premise and I couldn't wait to devour it. Imagine how elated I was to see I could read this beauty early! The Candle and the Flame blew me away with its fantastical story and Nafiza's magical writing style. 2019 has a bunch of diverse fantasies coming out, and I'm absolutely LOVING it. Then, it's probably no surprised I ended up adoring everything about this beautiful book.

    The Candle and the Flame follows Fatima, who lives in Noor, a city previously destroyed by the Shayateen Djinn. The only ones who survived the attack were Fatima and a few others. Now, peace has seemingly returned to Noor under the rule of a new maharajah, and the city currently lies under the protection of the Emir, Zulfikar, and his army of djinn. Carrying her past with her, Fatima has been surviving on the streets of Noor for as long as she can remember, however, when one of the most powerful Ifrit dies, something fundamentally changes within Fatima's being. She is pulled into a whole new world, and something bigger than she ever imagined existed has come for her.

    The Candle and the Flame weaves such an intricate and immersive story, it's hard not to be pulled into this beautiful world right from the first page. The beginning of the book nicely sets the stage for this fantasy standalone. There is a lot of world-building going on in the first chapters, which I found infinitely fascinating. The author manages to incorporate so many beautiful Silk Road as well as Islamic cultural influences, which I absolutely adored. The book is filled with beautiful languages: Arabic, Hindu, Punjabi, to name a few, and she manages to seamlessly transition between them to create an intricately crafted universe.

    Despite the fact this book is rooted in fantasy, The Candle and the Flame contains a lot of social commentary that really hits the spot. I particularly loved how the book addresses topics such as women's rights by taking on a fierce and feminist take by for example introducing a matriarchal society, and the many (MANY!) kickass female characters. It's refreshing to see how women aren't pitted against each other for once, but instead they all receive a big role within this beautifully crafted universe. I also love seeing the multicultural universe that this book supplies, by mixing languages and cultural influences.

    The writing itself is absolutely breathtaking. The tone of the book is so magical and fantastical and really helps to immerse the reader within the story and its world. The beautiful lyrical prose and elaborate descriptions really make the universe that the author depicts come to life.

    I think the characters, too, were very nicely done and built, considering this book was always meant to be a standalone. Stand-alones have the danger of falling into the insta-love trap because there is so little time to start, build, and conclude a story. I loved the relationship between the two main characters, and the romance didn't feel forced at all. Instead, the novel had a very fairytale-like feeling, with its magical aspects and its deep romantic bond.

    I genuinely ended up adoring this book. The world-building, gorgeous culture, and solid themes are what made The Candle and the Flame stand out for me. I think this is an excellent book if you're looking for a great immersive standalone that, despite its fantastical elements, bears an important message. This read is a solid 5 stars and I can't wait to see what the author writes next. I LOVED IT!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Anyway,

  • 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

  • Mary S. R.

    A magical book set along the Silk Road based on Middle-Eastern myths? WOW.

    I LOVE how

    fantasy books are becoming! Personally that's one of my fave things about the genre: how it can

    A magical book set along the Silk Road based on Middle-Eastern myths? WOW.

    I LOVE how

    fantasy books are becoming! Personally that's one of my fave things about the genre: how it can

    Also a book about

    and destruction and rebuilding :)))

    This is the most important thing about it and what makes this a total MUST READ:

    So yes, I need this, and that's not even talking about

    Such potential :) can't wait to see what tapestry the author has woven this artfully;

  • megs_bookrack

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

    My goddess.

    It's gorgeous!!!

  • ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)

    DNF at 40%

    Sadly, I DNFed it. I think this is a case of "It's me, not you". I wanted to give a million stars to this book, (I even pre-ordered it) because:

    - Intricate Multicultural Universe

    - Diversity

    - Lush sceneries

    - Amazing Female Friendships

    - Women Empowerment

    - DJINNS, I mean, who doesn't like DJINNS?

    - And that lovely cover.

    But unfortunately, it was really hard to stay focused.

    There were too many POV's, t

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)

    DNF at 40%

    Sadly, I DNFed it. I think this is a case of "It's me, not you". I wanted to give a million stars to this book, (I even pre-ordered it) because:

    - Intricate Multicultural Universe

    - Diversity

    - Lush sceneries

    - Amazing Female Friendships

    - Women Empowerment

    - DJINNS, I mean, who doesn't like DJINNS?

    - And that lovely cover.

    But unfortunately, it was really hard to stay focused.

    There were too many POV's, too many characters and confusing Politics and very large amounts of information supplied all at once. I could not connect with Fatima, most likely because of the 3rd Person Present in which it was written.

    The romance was insta-love and it was sweet but the writing and characters just didn't click with me. However, I still recommend it and I praise the author for weaving very important messages in this story and creating an amazing world. I will definitely try to read what she writes next!

  • Angelica

    Here’s me pretending to be a responsible adult finally reading my ARC... days after the book was already released 😬

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