Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

The Candle and the Flame By Nafiza Azad – Book Review

I have been excited about this book ever since I first heard about it and then I was chosen to be part of the street team and I had so much fun! I was finally able to read the book once it released and I absolutely loved it!


Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

This book is a phenomenal debut and I cannot wait to read more of Nafiza’s books! She has written a very character driven story full of amazing women being their badass selves in the different situations they find themselves in. I absolutely loved reading about every single one of them. And lets not forget to mention the swoon worthy Zulfiqar. Just go read this book you will not be disappointed!

Her writing is so beautiful and completely captivated me from the beginning. I wanted this book to never end and I am so sad that it is a standalone. Her story starts with the call to prayer and Fatima wakes for Fajr. My heart could not contain itself when I read the wonderful diverse Muslim representation in the book. Not only is there Muslim rep but she also showed how people from different cultures and religions can live harmoniously together. Fatima’s adoptive sister is Hindu yet they have a really close relationship which we see from the beginning of the book. I absolutely loved seeing that!

“You can’t judge an entire population of people by the actions of a select few. You can’t use your grief and your sorrow to justify your hate and discrimination.”

Her book is immersed in the culture and traditions of everyone that lives in Noor and it was written so beautifully. I can see the inspiration of the Pakistani/Indian culture throughout the story, from the language to the clothes and the food and traditions/celebrations. Urdu being used by the characters as though it’s the norm and them eating gulab jamun (my fave!) while they work and the clothes that they all wear, every single thing made me so excited to see my culture as the norm.

The story brings several women together who come from different walks in life but have to make the difficult decisions and do what needs to be done to save the people of Noor. They are all badasses in their own ways. Standing up against injustice, not tolerating the sexism and predatory behaviour by powerful men and making the choices that no one else wants to make and thereby showing that they are far more competent at leading than those actually in charge.

“Well, I wasn’t sure whether I would be punished for hurting him.” Fatima Ghazala lets out a short brittle laugh. “What a strange world we live in. He attacked me, yet I am the one worrying about being punished.”

I loved how they supported each other, women empowering women! They all grew and came to realisations about themselves and how they allowed the views on women in the general society to influence and dictate what they themselves think they are capable of. They grow to realise that they are capable of more and are braver and smarter than people give them credit for. That they don’t have to abide by the “rules” of society. It was such an empowering and positive message which is woven seamlessly throughout the story.

The last thing I will mention is that I do not recommend reading this on an empty stomach. There is so many food references and everything sounds so delicious that it will leave your mouth watering and craving all the food!

If you enjoy books which are character driven where we get to read about women being their badass selves and a wonderfully diverse book, then I highly recommend reading this! I mean why wouldn’t you want to read this amazing book?!