We Hunt the Flame
Sands of Arawiya #1
author : hafsah faizal
pages : [hardcover] 472
memorable quote :
We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.
favorite character : altair
People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
We Hunt the Flame is one of those books where I’m torn between why didn’t I read this sooner and why did I read this now when I need to wait so long for a sequel. The world-building is spectacular. The characters are wonderful, flawed, and cunning. I love a good plot that revolves around a deadly quest. All of these elements come together to form a book that’s exceptionally unique.
Or maybe it just tricked me into falling in love with two of the main characters so I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.
We Hunt the Flame is told in dual POV. Zafira lives in a place where people are dying because there’s no magic, except for the magical winter spread by the impassable forest encroaching on her village. Nasir lives in wealth, but suffers because of his line of work: assassination. The two have very different goals when they meet on their quests: Zafira wants to return magic and save everyone. Nasir knows he needs to kill her.
I’m not sure there’s any book out there featuring enemies to lovers that I’m not destined to fall for.
The supporting cast is great too (including my husband, Altair) although it seems like almost every character speaks fluent sarcasm. I enjoyed this for the most part, but sometimes it becomes hard to determine who’s talking when all of their dialogue ends up being very similar. I liked that everyone had very different (sometimes hidden and mysterious) motivations, making the plot even more complicated. I love it when YA has layers, intrigue inserted over all of the action and romance.
The one negative I have to say about this book is that sometimes the transitions in the plot are a little too jarring. If anything, I think We Hunt the Flame could have benefited from being slightly longer. There were some scene transitions (and even some points within the same scene) where something would happen and I would be left wondering how the heck we as the reader had gotten there. It’s fine to provide less information during chaotic/action-filled scenes, but there was never any backtracking that explained what we’d missed, when everything had a chance to calm down. I know I always talk about how I detest info-dumping but at some points it felt like this book did the opposite and withheld some information. Unfortunately I can’t give any specific examples without spoilers, and I did enjoy this book so . . . you’ll just need to read it for yourself and then we can discuss.
I liked where this book ended and how the setup is coming together for book two. I think it’ll be interesting–I think especially with all of the groundwork this book has done, there won’t really be as many moments of confusion for me as this story continues. It seems like we might get other points of view in the rest of the series too, which I wholeheartedly welcome. Let me into their heads! Give me all of their secrets! Well, not all of them. We’ve come so far and yet there’s still so much mystery wrapped around some of these characters.
If you’re a YA fantasy fan, definitely check out We Hunt the Flame. It’s exactly the right combo of familiar, beloved YA tropes with a unique storyline. It sort of subverts the whole chosen one narrative by having more reluctant (and angry, stabby) main characters. And truthfully, it’s a lot of fun!