The Candle and The Flame by Nafiza Azad
Wow. Friggin’ wow.
The Candle and The Flame was instantly put on my TBR. Not just because it’s a Middle-Eastern inspired fantasy (my favourite). But because of the magic system and the glorious world-building, a magical version of the communities along the Silk Road.
Fatima has dealt with a lot, despite still just being a teenager. She lives with her sister and travels across the multicultural city of Noor as a messenger. And while her life seems to be settling into something manageable and not as traumatic, something magical is unleashed inside of her that she never knew was there.
I should also point out that humans share the city of Noor with Djinn, a powerful race of spirits that can manifest human forms when they are ‘Named’. Which is literally what it says on the tin. I love reading about djinn and Arabian anthology, and my list of how many stories I read involving them has racked up. But none really discuss how they came to exist in the human world until The Candle and The Flame.
I also loved the characters. But hey, you can’t really give a book five stars if you didn’t love the characters, right?
First of all, Fatima is a force of nature. She knows what she needs to do and she takes no shit. Someone’s annoying her? Bye. Someone’s not listening to her? Make them listen. She’s not about that polite life, and I get it. In trying times, you can’t be going round getting into romances and dealing with court life. Fatima is not interested.
That could be an alternative title.
Fatima also has a great support system around her. From found families to strong alliances, each character has their own distinct personality and forges a place for themselves within the story. No one feels like they shouldn’t be there. Despite how many perspectives there are in this book!
I cannot wait for the sequel, and I really hope a UK publisher picks up this title too. What a great addition to British bookstores The Candle and The Flame would be!