We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Audio time: 14h45
Format: Hardback provided by Fierce Reads and Chapters Indigo, audio provided by Macmillan audio
Top 3 Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
My rating: Set it on fire/ If you have nothing else to read/ you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: Chapters
Add to: Goodreads
Hi bookdragons!! Ready to be swept away by some magical read? That’s what I wanted and what We Hunt the Flame did for me, taking me away in Arawiya for a dark and magical journey!
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.
A lush and vivid world
What captivated me with We Hunt the Flame is the way Arawiya is written, with its beauty, its complexity, and its lore.
« Love is for children, said the girl.
Death is for fools, said the shadow.
Darkness is my destiny, said the boy.
Allegiance is my undoing, said the eagle.
Suffering is our fate, said the beauty.
And they were all horribly wrong. »
I love when authors take the time to describe the universe we are invited in, to build legends around it and bring some magic into its chore. That is what is happening with this book, while we learn about the Six Sisters who were protecting the land, and what happened to them. The author also takes her time before sending the characters to their quest, and I really appreciated that. We first learn about Zafira, her life and her losses, her friends and how life is in Demenhur. We also learn about Nasir, his assassin’s life and struggles, the way his father treats him. I really enjoyed that the author took her time to plant her characters on solid grounds, and give us a better idea of their life and what brought them to where they are. How they came to be basically. It was very well done!
Great characters BUT
Hafsah Faizal did a great job in terms of characters building: Zafira is incredible and brave, while also really struggling with accepting who she is.
“Tell me, why do you hunt? »
« For my people. To feed them. » Zafira said.
« No one can be that pure.”
Nasir thinks he has accepted all of his darkness and terrible fate…
“A monster. For a monster will always be enslaved to a master.”
…but maybe, after all, there is a light for him. Yasmin was full of wit, and other characters we discover along the way (don’t want to spoil too much) were a great addition to the team. My little favorite: Altair! I loved his character (sassy but with a big heart underneath) <3. All of that is good you’ll tell me, so why is there a but? Well… I have NOTHING against hate to love relationship but for Zafira and Nasir (come on this is not really a spoiler right?)… well it did not work for me, I did not feel it right. It was too fast on not resting on enough solid elements for me to really believe in it. That plus some very infuriating reactions from Zafira make me not 100% behind the character building. Plus, there is a very spoilery thing happening in the end that drove me crazy in terms of character actions!!! (you’ll probably understand when you get there lol)
A perilous quest
What is really at the heart of this book is this quest Zafira is embarking on, followed by Nasir even if he has his own agenda. Because Zafira is the only hope of Arawiya, the Huntress capable of crossing a dark and magical forest and coming back safe and sound. And so, only she can rediscover an ancient book able to restore the magic to her land, and so, save them all from destruction. To do so, she must go on the dangerous island of Shar, where all evil creatures were once imprisoned…. but the worst of them are still roaming around!
“We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.”
Honestly, it was a bit far stretched to me that Zafira was the only one in an entire country that could do this quest, even if some explanations are given later. With that being said, the entire adventure was still quite enjoyable and full of dangers and revelations, just what every reader need! A dangerous desert, a team of misfits having to work together against their desire, deadly creatures, and magic… I mean, of course, you want to read that 😉
In a few words
If I was not convinced completely by the characters and their actions, I was completely captivated by the universe Hafsah Faizal created for us, by Arawiya and its inspiration from Arabic culture, but with a very specific magical system. I definitely want to see how the destiny of our heroes and this land will keep intertwining in the next book!
See you for a cup,