Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on May 14, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
We Hunt the Flame is a young adult fantasy by Hafsah Faizal. I should point out that I have known Hafsah for several years now, ever since she was a book blogger and then a graphic designer in the book community. I have been a big fan of hers since day one, so when I heard she is writing a book, I knew I had to get a copy ASAP! And when I heard it was going to be an epic fantasy, I was even more excited. We Hunt the Flame is the first book in the Sands of Arawiya series, and I have to say…it did not disappoint. This book is a long one. It clocks in at almost 500 pages, and it sets up what is going to be a crazy awesome fantasy series. I am already salivating for the second book.
In We Hunt the Flame we meet Zafira, who hides as a male hunter at the start of the novel. I will admit that it took me a while to gain my bearing in the world in We Hunt the Flame. There are lots of names and lots of unfamiliar terms. I referenced the glossary and pronunciation guide several times while I was reading and it really helped me. There is a romance in We Hunt the Flame and it is a wonderful slow burn romance. I will admit, at times it was a bit too slow burn for me. And in fact, that is my only negative about the story.. the pacing was a little slow for me at times. Zafira receives her quest/objective really early on in the story but I didn’t feel like the story really picked up speed until the second half. Zafira sets out on a quest to find a magical artifact that will restore magic to her land, and hopefully save her land and people from the dark place they have fallen to. Umm… yes please! That is so up my alley! But it did take a while to gain speed in the story. The first half was full of beautiful prose (the whole book was) and wonderful world building, but not a ton of plot progression. That being said, the slow start to the story didn’t really detract from my enjoyment because I was still enjoying getting to know the world.
I also really enjoyed the characters in We Hunt the Flame. You can check out my casting of the main characters below, but I will let you in on a little secret…Altair was my favorite. I just loved the levity that he brought to the story. He is a wonderful counter point to the awesomely broody Nasir and the very serious Zafira. I am so anxious and excited to get my hands on the next book in this series. I need to know what happens next. If you are a fan of fantasy, this is a must read book for you. If you are a fan of dark fantasies, this is a book that I think will become your next favorite read. I loved that Hafsah was not afraid to go to some really dark places in We Hunt the Flame. And that ending! It totally killed me and left me craving the second book at the same time. If you love a great cast of complex characters and an epic fantasy, this is the 2019 read that you need to get your hands on immediately. I really enjoyed We Hunt the Flame.
If you find yourself struggling with some of the pronuciations, like I did, Hafsah has provied a nifty Pronunciation guide. Check it out Here:
The We Hunt the Flame Website also has a great character list. I am using the character descriptions from the site to share with you who I would cast to play each character in a movie.
Photo credits: IMDB
NASIR GHAMEQ (played by Mena Massoud)
Heir to the Arawiyan throne, Nasir Ghameq is known as the Prince of Death, a skilled assassin doling death at the whim of his father, the autocratic sultan. Resigned to his fate, Nasir struggles against a sense of compassion he can’t shake—and a hum in his blood that he doesn’t yet understand.
ZAFIRA ISKANDAR (Played by Sofia Boutella)
Raised in a snow-cursed caliphate, Zafira is the legendary Hunter no one knows is actually a young woman. Guileless, yet fierce, her retorts are as precise as her aim, and her honor is a force to be reckoned with. She will do anything for the survival of her people—even join a deadly mission to retrieve an artifact that could kill her in the process.
ALTAIR AL-BADAWI (Played by Jade Hassouné )
Arawiya’s prized and powerful general, Altair al-Badawi is brimming with secrets and hidden intentions. A fan of qahwa and life’s delicacies, Altair is charming and intelligent, and wanted by everyone—skies, even the sultan wants his head.
KIFAH DARWISH (played by Letitia Wright)
Originally from a family of inventors, Kifah Darwish prefers the power of the blade over the might of the pen. A self-proclaimed realist and lover of all things food with a penchant for snide comments, she leaves her place as one of nine elite warriors to join a deadly mission. Akhh, the things we do for revenge.
BENYAMIN HAADI (Played by Dev Patel)
Benyamin is safin, immortal and pointy-eared with heightened abilities. As vain as they come, the safi never runs short on words, his silver tongue a constant cause for frustration amongst the zumra. Originally from a high circle of safin, he values trust and truth above all else, hence the word ‘haqq’ tattooed around his eye—and the reason why he joins the quest for magic.
Who would you cast? Let me know in the comments below!