Books·Canadian

The Candle and the Flame

A YA novel by Nafiza Azad.

Nafiza Azad

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. (From Scholastic Press)

From the book

The desert sings of loss, always loss, and if you stand quiet with your eyes closed, it will grieve you too. Perhaps it is the comfort that the shared sense of sorrow brings that draws her to the desert. Perhaps it is the silence unbroken but for the wind sifting through the grains of sand on the dunes. Or maybe it is the wide desert sky, the blue of which peers into her soul and finds things there better left to the darkness.Ghazala doesn't know which of these things attracts her the most, but since the day she lost everything, the desert has been a balm to all her hurts. This place with its emptiness and the promise of heat glimmering underneath the sand lies in Qirat, a country divided almost perfectly between the desert and the forest.

Every chance she gets, Ghazala slips away from the fiery landscape of her home, from Al-Naar, to soothe herself with the unchanging panorama of the desert. The humans call this place the Desert of Sadness; they believe that the land grieves for the forests that once stood on it.In the moment before she transforms from a being of smokeless fire to a being of flesh and blood, Ghazala often thinks she can hear the land's lament. If she told her father this, he would call her fanciful and ask her to pay more attention to the act of transformation instead. When a djinni becomes flesh and blood, she dons her Name and feels her fire flow into a shape that is uniquely hers.

The Ifrit clan of the Djinn have the ability to bring over material objects when transforming. Ghazala has her oud slung over her shoulder from a strap she attached to it for times when the silence is a bit too loud. At this moment, she stands with her hands clenched into fists,breathing hard. The transformation is not difficult if done properly,but when performed in a rush, the physical toll is considerable. As soon as Ghazala has her breath back, she masks her fire, the fire that defines every djinni, no matter their clan and physical shape.She pulls the heat deep within herself so no other djinni will be able to sense it. 


From The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad ©2019. Published by Scholastic Press.

 

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