Title: We Hunt the Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Arabic, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 19th September 2020
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
5th sentence, 74th page: She clenched her teeth and dug in her heels.
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.
This novel was just… astounding. Like I am seriously, ridiculously impressed and somewhat jealous of the fact that this is Faizal’s first novel. I always know that I’ve read a good book because I finish it and just… kind of… pause. And stare into space. Which is exactly what I did at the conclusion of this story. I just sat there… staring into space and feeling all of the feelings that this novel bought on.
I love that this is a book unlike anything that I’ve ever read. For starters, I really haven’t read many books that are based on historical Arabia (I think that I’m writing that correctly…). So it was a whole new immersion and experience for me. Plus, the storyline, whilst with a few similarities to some of the storylines in YA books that I’ve read… it somehow felt totally different. Or maybe I just need to read more YA books… not only was the setting and background so completely unexpected, but it also made me feel intrigued to find more authors who focus on similar patterns and moments in history – I have a lot of Regency, Victorian and UK based history books. Now I need to find more like this…
Closing the final page of this book left me with so damn many feelings! I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel! Actually, first thing I did… after staring into space trying to process everything that I had just experienced was to find out when the next book is out and what happens. Yet another book that I have to add to my wishlist and remain hopefully looking out for the publication date. I hope that everything going on in the world doesn’t delay it!!!
Not only was this an amazing adventure set against a brilliant background, it was also a story which beautifully focused on the strength of love and women. From the very outset – it’s about women being able to do what they want and having a strength completely comparable to that of men. Partnered with how love can alter and shape us… save us in some circumstances… it just felt so beautifully optimistic.
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