This Friday I want to talk to you about two books that I bought on Wednesday, two new fantasy titles, by two new emerging writers, Joan He and Nafiza Azad. Both of whom are following in the footsteps of other fantasy authors I’ve read recently—S.A. Chakraborty (THE CITY OF BRASS), Ausma Zehanat Khan (THE BLOODPRINT) and Tasha Suri (EMPIRE OF SAND).
THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME
by Nafiza Azad
Hardback, Scholastic 2019
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.
Come on, what’s not to like?
THE DESCENDENT OF THE CRANE
by Joan He
Hardback, AW Teen 2019
Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.
Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
Described as a Chinese Game Of Thrones by Publishers weekly, this gorgeous looking book is not just a coming-of-age story, but brimming with palace politics, and great world-building. I can’t wait to jump in to both books.