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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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.…

The Candle and the Flame

by Nafiza Azad

Overall Book Review:

The Candle and the Flame is a book of love, loss, good, evil, grief, and hope.  It runs the gamut of emotions and will leave you wanting more and hanging on to your seat until the very last word.

I feel like this book review should be divided into a before and after.  Part one of this debut novel is rough.  I get that the author was trying to create this beautiful, heart-wrenching view of a middle eastern/Indian type of setting.  However, so much of the beauty and intricacy was lost because you have to flip to the glossary so many, many, many times.  At one point, I made a copy of the glossary so that I could stop flipping pages.  Some sentences required a referral four or five times.  I think the use of so much Urdu and Hindu really made the first chunk of pages difficult to get through.

But then you turn the page to part two and the book instantly becomes this page-turning, fantastic adventure.  There are still some Urdu/Hindu terms, but it is so much less, and the story line just jettisons into an amazing story.  While a fantasy book, there really is something here for everyone.  There is intrigue and impending war between humans and their non-human magical allies.  There is a love story that develops that is heartachingly beautiful and sacrificial.  There are friendships in unlikely places and adventures galore.

When you get to the last pages, you’ll definitely feel like you have run an emotional marathon.  The book is well suited if the author decided to parlay this into a series.  Overall this is a good book, just stick with it through part one and part two is worth the effort.

This book was provided to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence and Gore:  Caravan of people and animals slaughtered by magical beings; multiple recalls or references to massacres with little to no detail; report of death of solider; girl cuts arm with blood depicted; man killed by magical curse; arm is forcibly pinned behind body; battle with death by magical means; 1 page hostage situation with minor injuries and poisoning death; child dies from illness; practice sparring with sticks; three verbal threats; magic burns man’s arm; burns to arms and hands; multiple reports of murders; coup with stabbing and beheading; 2 page scene of death by magical means; deep gash to chest; man murdered with poison; head is cut off.

Sex/Nudity:  Mention of same sex love affair; five instances of characters holding each other in embrace; hug; man grabs woman around waist; instance of hand-holding; 6 instances of kissing.

Mature Subject Matter:

Socioeconomic and racial conflict; death; war; divorce; ethics.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.