I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Published by Macmillan on May 14, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
I have been very, very excited about this book for a long time and it did not disappoint! Just reading the plot on the jacket copy will draw you in, I promise, and though it is a world that is not safe and is full of danger, you will still want to remain. We Hunt the Flame did a really great job of giving each character a real identity and fleshing out who they were. Zafira, brave and determined, is also so emotionally vulnerable it hurt sometimes. Of course, Nasir tugged at my heart, as well, with a father who woudl not tolerate (or show) compassion. As far as romance goes, this is an excellent slow burn. It also has the hate-to-love trope, which is real catnip for many readers (like me) and combined, these two elements go really well together. I also liked the way it allowed the reader to really get to know Zafira and Nasir as separate people. That is the upside to the slow burn, and it is a good one in this case.
Both main characters are trying to find the same item, which gives the book a very tense timeline as well as a foundation for excellent action and, frankly, some unexpected turns. Those twists and turns really aided the pacing, which never seemed to slow down or become mired in its own stories, which sometimes happens in fantasies. While the world building and the beautiful imagery of the writing enhanced the story, it never became more important than the characters and their flawed and complicated lives. Zafira must pretend to be a boy in order to feed her people and the idea that women must be secondary is addressed in a way that felt meaningful to me, as a reader. The writing was beautiful and descriptive, as well. I saw someone mention that this woudl be good for fans of VE Schwab and Laini Taylor, and I can say that this writing has that same magical feel to it. Overall, We Hunt The Flame lived up to he hype for me and I can’t wait for book two!