Review: “The Candle and the Flame” by Nafiza Azad


Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy



“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.”


My Thoughts

CandleFlame-coverWomen, on the other hand, come in a endless varieties. Every single woman who appears in The Candle and the Flame, no matter how brief or insignificant her role, is a living, breathing person with a rich interior life. And each one shatters stereotypes and tropes. Her characters aren’t just the princess, the Chosen One, the put upon sister, the heartless mother, the obedient wife. Like their names, they each carry multiple characteristics within them, some complementary, some contradictory. Their past experiences and future dreams shape their present choices and they rarely do what’s expected. There’s even a queer character – she doesn’t use that exact term, but she does say she isn’t romantically attracted to men. I can’t remember the last time I read YA fantasy with such complex character development. To be honest, I’m actually ok with men getting the short shrift and women getting all the exposition. Fiction often does the opposite, and even young adult fantasy tends to give dimension and depth to only a few characters with the others remaining shallow and hollow…


To read the rest of my review, head over to

The desert sings of loss, always loss, and if you stand quiet with your eyes closed, it will grieve you too.

Perhaps it is the comfort that the shared sense of sorrow brings that draws her to the desert. Perhaps it is the silence broken but for the wind sifting through the grains of sand on the dunes. Or maybe it is the wide desert sky, the blue of which peers into her soul and finds things there better left to the darkness.

Thanks to Scholastic for sending me a review copy.

Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.

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