The Candle and the Flame | Review

Greetings readers!

I would love to thank Scholastic Canada for sending me one of my most anticipated reads of the spring! I had the lovely opportunity to buddy read this book with a friend on bookstagram @Faris_books, with whom I had lovely conversations with about this novel.

Also can we congratulate me for actually putting an ARC review out before the book is published. I feeeeel accomplished!

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

The Candle and the Flame
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Price: $24.99

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.

Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon CA

What I Liked




Fatima. Okay. I feel like she is a little tricky to talk about for reasons, but I did enjoy her growth and journey very much. It was a little jarring after the first 100 pages because of said *reasons* but it was all really quite interesting. There was a very important change to her that I really enjoyed seeing unravel despite the jarring sense that I had when it first happened. Overall, I did love Fatima’s character. Her strength, her resolution, her experience with grief and learning to embrace the changes of her life and circumstances made her such a remarkable character.

Bhavya…I didn’t know exactly what to think of her at first but her amazing transformation towards the end there. I WAS LEFT WITH MY JAW ON THE FLOOR. My love for her was completely cemented in those chapters. WOW.

Sunaina……….mmmmm I had trouble with her. To be honest she was not one of my faves for a lot of reasons and I tried very hard to ~~empathize~~ but we reconciled and I really enjoyed her growth throughout the book too!

The Maharani…a boss. A boss. A GODDESS. *snaps fingers three times*

The Alif sisters…they were so much fun! Absolutely incredible and dynamic, the life that they added to the story, the heart and soul that they put in was so much fun and warm and incredible.

Zulfikar was also pretty amazing. I loved his inner wars against himself and his duties. His self-doubt in juxtaposition with his self-assertion. I really enjoyed watching him grow alongside Fatima and the way he had to maneuver between the Ifrit world and the human world.

And shout out to the Maharaja for being the softest of all Soft Boys™.

The Magic

I loved the characterizations of the djinn. I loved the exploration of the different species. The justifications behind their actions and the histories that they share with the humans and other djinni. I loved their magic and powers they wielded. I thought the Naming gift was the most interesting of them all! It was just so cool how its versatility was described and the power that names have in this story!

The World

Just set on the outskirts of the silk road. There was a lot of cultural expression and lots and lots of food descriptions. There were so many languages, religions and cultures included even if we only got glimpses of them here and there. I am so thankful for the glossary, it really helped keep me in check. It just made the experience all the more richer and much more tangible for me. And now I know a few new words in another language and as a language student that pleases me immensely XD

The Political Intrigue

Quite, quite, quite interesting. It really was a highlight to this story. The nail biting bits toward the end there really had me on the edge of my seat. As mentioned, the powerful ladies of the novel really stepped it up and came out to slay in this game of politics played by men. AND I MEAN IT WHEN I SAY THAT THEY SLAYED.

The writing was quite poetic.

It was highly enjoyable, easy to understand and overall beautiful! At first I wasn’t quite sure if writing this novel in 3rd person was gonna fly with me, but I totally see why it worked in the end. THE INTENSITY IT CREATED!! *I almost teared out my hair* It kept up the suspense and Azad was able to dig deeper into more characters and the world.

The Romance

I thought it was sweet. Especially the end there. My heart.

The Questionable

I felt like certain things were a bit too convenient. Some events were predictable and there was not much of a shock while reading so I was missing those AHHH moments. But then again I wouldn’t exactly call this a high fantasy, so don’t expect too much physical action although there was some included. It was more about the politics of it all and the inner struggles of the characters that we had to contend with.

Overall, I really enjoyed myself while reading this. I flew through it which is always a great sign. I learned a few things that I didn’t know beforehand about Islam, seeing as it is such an important part of Fatima’s being. I laughed, my heart clenched and found it to be an absolutely beautiful experience.

Rating:  4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely! This is a new fresh feminist fantasy that I am sure many will DEVOUR!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading this book? Are you more character-driven or plot-driven in your reading? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


15 thoughts on “The Candle and the Flame | Review

Add yours

  1. Sometimes I feel like I really want to read this and other times I’m not sure if I really want to read this. I’m just not SURE where my heart lies!! I’m a mess of uncertainty. BUT. BUT. Reading a review from you before the book even drops is like, a whole other thing. ALTHOUGH I’m also confused because I SWEAR I saw a copy of this in Indigo two days ago I swear it.

    Wait. *Googles*

    Okay the Internet swears May 14 but I SWEAR I saw it in Indigo and I thought “Hey, I have a gift card and Rendz is super excited about this book so should I buy it now?” and then decided no, I will wait because um, my suitcase already is overweight and I need to do some math and also magic so I don’t have to pay extra luggage fees.

    Point is: if a library has this book, I was to read. But idk if I am sold on wanting to buy it. I don’t know why though. My heart is not in it yet. THE REVIEW tho, written by idk someone really good at reviews I guess, *shrug* very well pointed out things I like 1) amazing ladies and 2) soft bois

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see you are in quite the dilemma Sha! i don’t blame you. I think borrowing it at the library will be best for you! That way if you fall in love with it after, you can purchase it to own if you’d like. (That’s what I do at least) And if it ends up not meeting your groove you can safely return it lol

      I think Indigo had their copies out early which they do a lot of times with books.

      I am super glad you enjoyed my review though! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That does seem like a good plan for me to follow. And I recently found a bookstore near me! Now to locate a library. I have a mission!

        I’ve noticed that… Indigo really does put their copies out early. Which… good and bad?

        Yes! Always, you know it. I was waiting for it. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was hesitant to try this book but it was teasing me so much! I’ve always loved the concept of djinn but the one series I’ve read about it (Rebel of the Sands) disappointed me so much I didn’t want to get into it with too high expectations. I also have The Forbidden Wish and one other on my list but I think I need to push this one to the top of my TBR! (Plus, it’s a great add to my YARC challenge :P)

    All the characters sound really diverse and wholesome, and I love how they go through such personal journeys of growth. Politics and great writing? Yes, YES. I also live for sweet romance! Overall, I don’t see how I won’t like this book. But, again, I won’t go in with too much hype, otherwise it’ll ruin it.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much, Rendz! Wonderful review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hesitate no more! I haven’t read Rebel of the Sands, but I really enjoyed this take on djinn! (The Forbidden Wish is also on my TBR!)
      I think the characters really make this story so if you are more character driven I think you will like it! I don’t want to hype you up either, but should you choose to pick it up sometime soon, I hope you enjoy it!


      1. That’s awesome! Yeah I really enjoy character driven stories but I don’t mind plot driven either. They just need to click with me on some level, regardless of what it is. I have strong hopes for it after your review, though! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooooh I’ve been eyeing this one for a while, but I have to admit that it keeps getting lost in my TBR. I’m super excited for it again after reading your review. I WANT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL THE POWERFUL LADIES. gimme gimme MORE gimme more. I’m down for some poetic writing as wellllllllllll. Wonderful review, Rendz! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes to everything in this review!! I recently put up my review for it and we definitely agree on almost everything. The Maharani was honestly a queen. I loved her! And I just wanted to give The Maharaja a hug. All the women in this book were absolutely amazing. But you’re totally right about the lack of action. And the end was all a bit too convenient like it wasn’t the epic ending I expected or would have wanted. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I gave it 4 stars too. Wonderful review!!

    Liked by 1 person

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