Azad's debut YA fantasy is set in a city along the Silk Road that is a refuge for those of all faiths, where a young woman is threatened by the war between two clans of powerful djinn.
About the Author
Nafiza Azad was born in Fiji and spent the first seventeen years of her life as a self-styled Pacific Islander. Now she identifies as an Indo-Fijian Muslim Canadian, which means she is often navigating multiple identities. Nafiza has a love for languages and currently speaks four. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Children's Literature from the University of British Columbia and co-runs The Book Wars (thebookwars.ca), a website dedicated to all things children's literature. Nafiza currently lives in British Columbia with her family.
Read an Excerpt
Fatima remembers the package. She removes it from her messenger bag and holds it out to Firdaus. "The merchant delivered this today. It’s a book."
Firdaus eagerly takes the package. "I've been waiting for a volume of poetry written by an obscure Kmemu poet."
Firdaus rips open the brown paper wrapped around the book and makes a sound of pleasure when he discovers that the book is indeed the volume he was seeking. He flips open the book, running his fingers through the text. Fatima watches him, consoled by the pleasure he takes in the written word. He suddenly, unexpectedly, goes still, and the old Ifrit’s face empties of expression.
"What is it, baba?" Fatima moves closer to Firdaus. Firdaus lowers the book, and Fatima sees a smudge of black on the edge of the paper. She watches that viscous blackness slither from the paper onto Firdaus’s hand before being absorbed through his skin.
Firdaus's gold eyes flash black, and Fatima staggers back a step.
"The taint," Firdaus says through clenched teeth. Black veins appear on his skin and spread like the vines of a grape plant. Fatima watches helplessly.
"What do I do, baba? Who do I call?"
Firdaus's skin is sallow, and he is sweating profusely. He grips the edge of his desk tightly, keeping himself upright. The book has fallen unnoticed to the floor. "Listen, ya binti, listen." Fatima nods frantically.
"You are a child of flesh and blood, and I am a being of fire and bone. Were I merciful, I would bid you run and end this tale here. But I am Ifrit and my stories are eternal even though I am not." Firdaus extends his trembling right hand to Fatima. "In return for the kindness I have shown you, will you become the ink that writes my tale?"
There never was a choice.
Fatima reaches out and grabs his right hand with both of hers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The city of Noor is a refuge for all - those of diverse faiths, origins, statuses, and that includes not just humans, either. After being attacked and destroyed by the Shayateen Djinn, a group of Ifrit Djinn travel from Al-Naar to help rebuild the city, taking half of it to rule. When Fatima has to take on a vital role for the Ifrit, she goes through a change, or an addition, that makes her question the definition of a monster. The Candle and the Flame is a 391-page novel. The plot unfolds slowly, revealing a world with fiery magic. There are a few things you should consider while deciding to read this book. It's not a light read, and elements of gore, trauma, fear, and grief are very prevalent. The reoccurring violence and death can be disturbing, although it is definitely portrayed as serious conflict and not glorified. That said, the themes about peace versus chaos, the different ways of experiencing grief, and finding happiness among turmoil are captivating. The book becomes more of a page turner near the second half. There are many character relationships, backgrounds, and explanations of the world it takes place in. For this reason, don't get discouraged if you're feeling confused during the first quarter or so of the book. To understand the book's world fully, there is a lot to understand during the setup of the characters and how they live. This requires some focus to absorb. It may have been a bit easier to fully understand if I had realized that there is a glossary in the back, so definitely use that as a resource. I would recommend closely keeping track of the different characters and their relationships as well as using the glossary to explain cultural terms. The beauty of Noor is that it is so diverse. Clothing, food, religion, and beliefs are discussed in a natural, insightful way. The descriptions are vivid. There are also interesting points of view from characters of different backgrounds and economic statuses. I liked exploring the city alongside them and seeing multiple points of view of a place or a relationship. This is a fascinating book that explores many themes while being enjoyable and entertaining. Review by Camille J., age 14, Los Angeles Mensa
This book was excellent! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these characters and going on an adventure with them. I absolutely loved this book!
All the stars! What a gorgeous story! I loved the MC’s, Fatima Gazhala and Zulfikar. I loved how the author, Nafiza, breaks down common Middle Eastern misconceptions. The women in this story are strong, smart, more than capable of taking care of themselves, and just awesome, and all without being obvious about it. The descriptions are perfect- I felt totally immersed in the world without feeling like it was being showed down my throat or overdone. I especially loved the clothes descriptions :) There are lots of foreign language words which threw me off a little, but there is a helpful glossary at the end. My new fave nickname is Chanda :) I recommend this book to everyone!