The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad: A Richly Developed Fantasy Perfect for Fans of YA/Adult Crossover Fiction

I feel like The Candle and the Flame deserves so much more buzz and marketing than it currently has.

It’s a great book. In the scope of all modern lit, The Candle and the Flame develops a complex story about not only Fatima Ghazala and her newfound powers, but also the entire City of Noor and inhabitants within.

Which is why I feel like it would have been wildly successful as an adult novel.

Similar to the storytelling style of Jade City and The City of Brass, The Candle and the Flame is not only about Fatima Ghazala and her changes, but also about Noor as a whole. This community-based approach of storytelling, rather than the individual-based approach commonly found in YA, makes me think that The Candle and the Flame could have been so much more successful in adult fiction spheres.

This isn’t to say you can’t write this way for YA and I am still very happy that The Candle and the Flame is getting published at all, because it’s fantastic, but I personally think that this wonderful story would have found and even more passionate and supportive fanbase in adult fiction, as YA readers might not be expecting Azad’s storytelling style, as they frequently read YA for that individual & personal connection.

Still, like I said, fantastic! I really loved reading and would definitely recommend this, for a plethora of reasons.

The worldbuilding is amazing! Also, food.

I was totally in love with not only Noor, but also the intersection of cultures and the magic and so much more.

I realize that it is a bit of a lot to take in, but ultimately I just kind of let myself be taken along for the ride and just enjoy things, without trying to learn every single inner working of every single thing from the start.

And you know what? It worked. I enjoyed reading and didn’t feel stressed and understood the mechanisms behind the magic and the Ifrit relations and everything else. There’s many type of Djinn and the way they interacted was a big part of the story (and something I actually understood!).

Plus, Noor is such a diverse and rich place—I love the entire building of the city and how Azad created not only the rich palatial portions, but also the slums and the less favorable areas. It was really well-rounded and well-developed and Noor felt like a character in itself with the way that it was such a distinct ecosystem.

(Also, there’s so much food that I was drooling! So many delicious dishes mentioned, I was definitely hungry while reading!)

I found the character & personal connections to be really significant.

This was one of my favorite parts and ultimately what bumped my rating up!

I think a lot of people have a slight misconception that meaningful relationships are more meaningful when written in a personal way, but Azad manages to disprove this.

Even though the writing style was very much narrated, rather than told from the main character, it still kept up a lot of meaningful relationships—both with Fatima Ghazala and her sister, her friends, the love interest, and side characters, as well as the relationship between everyone and the City of Noor.

I think the relationships were written really well and were one of the main reasons why The Candle and the Flame was still so great and still held appeal for YA readers, despite the different writing style. I do think you have to look and progress into the book before you really start feeling this immense connection to the characters, but the potential is there if you want to find it.

My one critique is that it felt kind of aimless in what was in store for Fatima Ghazala. However, I didn’t really mind.

This is probably my main issue with this book—although it is a bit of a non-issue for me.

I felt like things were happening in the first half, but we didn’t really have a goal for Fatima Ghazala for a while.

And part of it is the narrative style, but another part of it was that I felt like I was just unsure of where the story would go. I wasn’t sure what Fatima Ghazala do or what she would face—all I knew was that she was doing stuff.

However, I didn’t really mind because Noor was such a lovely place and I feel in love with the city, so eh. Things were still happening, I just didn’t have a good sense of where they would go in the future.

Would definitely recommend to lovers of adult fantasy OR YA readers looking to familiarize themselves with adult fantasy more.

Such a great book and honestly very underhyped, in my opinion! I wish this was a series and we got to see more of the characters, but still very much enjoyed the story and the characters—even if it was different than what I had expected!

4.5 stars


The City of Noor is a thriving stop along the Silk Road, a place where Ifrits and humans coexist after the Ifrits defended the humans from the Shayateen djinn attack. But when one of the strongest Ifrits dies, plans are set into motion.

Fatima was one of the sole survivors of the Shayateen djinn attack and she inherits the Ifrit’s powers as the Name Giver. But this power comes with responsibilities and much to learn, and Fatima will play an important role in the exposure of a deadly plot against the humans and Ifrits who are working together to rule Noor.

add to goodreads here

Thank you to Nafiza Azad and Scholastic for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Are you excited for The Candle and the Flame? What do you think of these narrative styles?

13 thoughts on “The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad: A Richly Developed Fantasy Perfect for Fans of YA/Adult Crossover Fiction

    1. ooooh yes, I get this! I know the omniscient POV isn’t for everyone (feels very adult fantasy imo–would have done a lot better in that genre) but I think the story slowly builds, so I hope you ended up loving!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well you have me VERY curious about this book, Vicky and it’s true that I haven’t heard much about it before, which makes me kind of sad, because it sounds SO interesting. Thank you for putting it on my radar! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oooh yes! I always feel sad when I see books not getting as much marketing as they should–but yes! I hope you get a chance to pick it up, marie! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll be honest, I’ve been hyped for this book for the gorgeous cover alone! 😛 But it is so nice to hear how much you enjoyed this one, it has made me even more intrigued to get a copy myself!

    Wonderful review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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