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Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

We Hunt the Flame
Hafsah Faizal
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published May 14, 2019

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About We Hunt the Flame

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.

My Review

I read some conflicting reviews of this book before actually sitting down to read it myself, so I was pretty nervous about reading it.

Turns out I didn’t need to worry, though, because I enjoyed the story a lot. The very beginning basically reminded me of what I’d hoped A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES would be. (I DNF’d that book because I couldn’t get past the family dynamics between the main character and her sisters and father. I know, tons of people love the series… it just isn’t for me.)

I’m a huge fan of those angsty heroes who, against all odds, still want to do the right thing. I felt like Nasir hit all those notes for me. He’s an assassin, made to be a cold, unfeeling weapon, and yet, he’s so human and so vulnerable underneath his chilling exterior.

Zafira is tough and smart, and she also feels like she has to put aside her emotions in order to succeed at her quest. But is she stronger without her emotions, really? I love stories that explore those kinds of questions, and WE HUNT THE FLAME totally satisfied on that exploration.

For some reason, though, I didn’t expect it to be an ensemble cast. I assumed that at some point Zafira and Nasir would make a necessary but uneasy alliance but that it would be just the two of them. At first I didn’t invest in the rest of the team because I didn’t expect them to be around long. But as I got to know them, I liked them more and more. (It took me the longest to warm up to Altair, but by the end, I am solidly a fan, and I need to know what happens to him next!)

I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were deep and engaging, and the story of a land cursed and the quest to break that curse and return magic to the people definitely hooked me. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series, WE FREE THE STARS, which is currently scheduled to come out in January 2021. I think readers who enjoyed SIX OF CROWS or AN EMBER IN THE ASHES will love this one.

Content Notes for We Hunt the Flame

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Set in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Arabia.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some faux curses like, “Skies.” Some curses in Arabic used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Strong sexual tension– lots of meaningful glances and obvious attraction. Some sensual kissing.

Spiritual Content
Lots of magic. Six sisters with powerful magic once ruled the kingdom, including one who imprisoned evil on an island. On that island there are creatures who impersonate people to trick or confuse Zafira and Nasir and their allies. Shadows and dark make up some magic. A powerful magical being appears to be possessing and controlling someone else.

Violent Content
Scenes show combat between Zaphira, Nasir and their allies and others. Some descriptions of torture that Nasir endured at the hands of his father and an enemy. Brief descriptions of torture.

Drug Content
Some social alcohol drinking.

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