Review: We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal

We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal

We Free the Stars (Sands of Arawiya #2)
Hafsah Faizal
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Published January 19, 2021

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About We Free the Stars

The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.

As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.

Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, WE FREE THE STARS is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.

We Free the Stars on Goodreads

My Review

I started listening to the audiobook version of WE FREE THE STARS last year, but some health stuff happened and I just found it really hard to focus on the story (a me problem, not an issue with the book) so I put it aside for a long time. Recently, I decided I was ready to pick up the story again, so I started at the beginning and listened all the way through.

The story picks up where WE HUNT THE FLAME ends, and it follows three main points of view: Zafira, Nasir, and Altair. I loved the romance between Zafira and Nasir, but I think Altair was still my favorite character. He’s the one who always has some witty or snarky thing to say, and I especially loved the banter between him and Kifah. Kifah might have been my second-favorite character. Ha.

I feel like WE FREE THE STARS strikes a really great balance between the keeping up the momentum of the plot and exploring the relationships between characters. Zafira’s relationships with her sister and her best friend are both deeply important to her, and I loved the scenes that gave us insight into those. I also loved the relationship between Nasir and Altair as brothers and what that bond means to each of them since both grew up isolated.

Though it took me a long time to finally finish reading this book, I am so glad I read it. I loved the beautiful story world and the relationships between all the characters. I think fans of Renée Ahdieh or Sabaa Tahir will enjoy the Sands of Arawiya books.

We Free the Stars on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Representation
Characters are coded Middle Eastern. Kifah is asexual.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
So much romantic tension between Zafira and Nasir. Lots of intense kissing.

Spiritual Content
The Sisters of Old provided magic to all the people of Arawiya. Some characters have magical ability.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Multiple battle scenes. References to torture.

Drug Content
None.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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