We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Publication Date: May 14th 2019
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux BYR
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Blurb: 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 the first instalment of the Sands of Arawiya series, following Zafira, the only one to have ever successfully navigated the deadly Arz. Disguised as a man Zafira hunts in the Arz, providing her people with food while the forest swallows more and more of her homeland. Across the country Nasir deals in death, working as an assassin for his power-hungry father. Their fates are soon intertwined as both are sent after the book that could see magic returned to Arawiya.
I really enjoyed We Hunt the Flame. Faizal has crafted a stunning and enticing world. The world building is truly rich, it feels like it’s real and makes you forget it’s not. Arawiya is split into different caliphates, each one and their peoples having been affected by the loss of magic (ninety years prior to the opening of the book) in different ways. I’d recommend not reading this if you’re hungry. The descriptions of food and dishes was so divine I was close to salivating.
We Hunt the Flame was a little slow to start. There’s a lot of build up before Zafira’s quest actually starts. This meant that it did take me a little while to really start enjoying it. It does also start snowballing towards the end. A lot happens very quickly and a lot is revealed. So despite the slow start the latter third really grips you and you reach the end bemoaning the fact you don’t have book two yet.
I definitely recommend We Hunt the Flame if you’re looking for a sweeping fantasy with magic, charismatic villains, and some good, old-fashioned enemies-to-lovers romance. As well as beautiful maps – which are a must have for me in fantasy books and this one is particularly beautiful!
“Be as victorious as the name I have given you, and bring the desert to its knees.”
*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are unbiased*