reviews

REVIEW|| We Hunt the Flame- Hafsah Faizal // A well written and immersive fantasy in an ancient Arabia setting

Synopsis: People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)

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.

Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository

Publication Date: May 14th, 2019

Genres: YA Fantasy

Trigger Warnings:

death of parent, chronically ill loved one, death of loved one, murder, death, multiple blood mentions, parental abuse and neglect, misogyny, violence

 

Ratings: 3.5/5

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We Hunt the Flame was one of my most anticipated books of the year. It definitely had a lot of good things but also had some parts which I wasn’t a big fan of.

The Story and World Building

The story of the book followed Zafira, a huntress who pretended to be a man because of the misogynistic society she lived in. The second protagonist was Nasir, the broody assassin and also the crown prince of Arawiya.  They are both are sent on a quest individually to find a book which could bring back magic to the land and their paths cross that time and the story follows. The story was definitely interesting and it is filled with quite a few revelations and secrets. But I think it depended a lot on cliches which got tiring after a point. Personally, I think it could have been better but it did not completely disappoint and as such I have hopes from the sequel.

The world building was stunning. The desert setting of the book was really well done according to me and while reading you could actually imagine and feel it which made for a good reading experience. The descriptions of the settings and the food were super amazing. It all comes together really well.

The Characters

Our two main characters are Zafira and Nasir. Zafira seemed like a very interesting character in the start of the book but I think her whole character development kind of dwindled in the middle of the book. Her actions and storyline seemed repetitive after a point.

Nasir was the assassin who had a bad childhood and was abused by his father. Nasir was a lot like a cliched bad boy character who hates everyone and is broody but slowly comes to be known as caring. He is a grey character bordering more on the bad side than the good. Personally though I felt his characterization wasn’t that great. Beyond a point, his arc also seemed repetitive and only got interesting in the last 25% or so.

The other characters were Altair, Kifah, Benyamin, The Silver Witch, Yasmine, Lana and the sultan. Altair was the fun albeit a little secretive sassy character who was the bane to Nasir’s existence (a lot like the grumpy and sunshine best friend combination). His parts though fun to read sometimes felt like trying too hard. But for me his arc was written well with a lot of mystery around him by the end.

Kifah and Benyamin’s story could’ve definitely been explored better and I couldn’t really connect to either of them much. The Silver witch was a good character but her storyline really confused me and I wasn’t completely okay with her. The sultan was another character who wasn’t explored much other than in the start of the book. Lana was Zafira’s younger sister and Yasmine was her sister at heart and I really liked their characters and I hope to see more of them in book two!

The Writing and Pacing

The writing style of this book was my favourite thing about it. The author weaves absolutely brilliant descriptions and it was a treat to read it. Her writing was really beautiful and borderline poetic. It really sets the mood of the whole book and helped me to move over some of the drawbacks. Hafsah Faizal also uses Arabic words and it all comes together so well and I really liked it a lot. There is also a glossary at the end with all the pronunciations and explanations which I really loved as I can be quite a nerd!

The pacing was one of my biggest problems. It was slow paced and I thought after 50 pages that maybe now it will pick up momentum..but it never really happened until the last 50 pages and by then this pacing had worm me out. So even though exciting things took place, I couldn’t completely enjoy it. Since the pacing was slow, the focus was more on the characters. But the character arcs were also slow and as I mentioned before, they got repetitive. This bummed me the most about the book.

There were some plot points which I felt were unfinished. I had quite a few questions about the why and how of them. Short explanations were given for some but it did not satisfy me completely.

Commentary on Misogyny

Zafira disguises as a hunter to hide her true identity as misogyny is deep rooted in her society. This seemed like a very interesting plot point in the start and it was talked about but then it just..fizzled out.It just wasn’t talked about much after the first 20% of the book.  I expected it to be more prominent in the storyline but it wasn’t and that kind of disappointed me probably because I got excited about that prospect of a topic so important being raised in the story.

The slow burn romance

I went into this book knowing it has slow burn romance. And my god was it slow burn. Zafira and Nasir’s tension was quite palpable and it did build up to a great extent. They hated each other at first due to preconceived notions but then of course started to feel more.  I wouldn’t say I was completely okay when it happened but it’s not something which affected me much.  (That is the problem when you compare every enemies to lovers slow burn romance to Kunal and Esha from The Tiger at Midnight.)

Overall, We Hunt The Flame is an imaginative and well-written Arabia inspired fantasy. If you’re a fan of slow paced books mixed with slow burn enemies to lovers and a good world building, We Hunt The Flame is definitely the book for you. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re not a fan of cliches or slow paced fantasy as this book heavily relies on that.

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  • Have you read this book ?

  • Who is your favourite character ?

  • Are you a fan of slow paced fantasy ? Tell me about it!!

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10 thoughts on “REVIEW|| We Hunt the Flame- Hafsah Faizal // A well written and immersive fantasy in an ancient Arabia setting

  1. Great review! I am sorry that it didn’t quite live up to your expectations, but I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I think pacing and worldbuilding are the biggest things for me – I can be more forgiving if the characters aren’t as fleshed out as I would like. Looking forward to reading this one eventually! My library finally bought a copy, yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree. The world building was definitely good but the pacing really fell short for me.
      Oh yay!! I hope you read it soon and are able to enjoy it more than I did 😄💛

      Like

  2. Oh no, I’m sorry this didn’t turn out to be as great as you would have hoped! I’ve been hearing good things about We Hunt the Flame so far. It’s a bummer the pacing is slow throughout the entire book until the last part of the book and the character arcs were slow as well. 😦 Characters generally prioritize more for me than the plot, but the slowness and repetitiveness is a big oof. I have a copy of the book but have yet to read it! Slow-paced fantasy really depends for me, so hopefully I’ll have better luck when I get to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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