Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Sands of Arawiya #1)

Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Sands of Arawiya #1)We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux in May 2019
Format: ebook
Source: Library
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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.

I wanted to love We Hunt the Flame. Hafsah Faizal has been a part of the YA bookish community for a very long time, and I remember being very excited for her release. Unfortunately, for me, We Hunt the Flame simply did not live up to the excitement.

“People lived because she killed.” “People died because he lived.” These two sentences were how Zafira and Nasir were introduced. Zafira is a huntress that pretends to be a hunter in a community that frowns upon women working. Nasir is a prince and an assassin, doing whatever the sultan tells him to do. They live two different lives, but they both want the same thing for different reasons and have vastly different plans on how to obtain it. The story ends up being a treasure hunt of sorts with elements of magic thrown in, lots of secrets, and a high possibility for death.

The story was split into three acts. I’m going to put it out there right now, I found the first act to be extremely boring. There were moments when I thought about putting the book down. However, Hafsah Faizal’s writing was absolutely beautiful, and I had high hopes that things would get better, which it thankfully did. The first act, about the first third of the story, is primarily about Zafira and Nasir. It tells a lot of backstory and sets the stage for their journeys. I personally thought the pacing could have been faster, but that could just be me.

The last two acts were great. At this point the plot is well underway, and the story moved along fairly well. I really enjoyed all of the secondary characters that were introduced along the way. It was fun watching them all trust yet distrust each other. Some of the characters were hiding huge secrets, which came into play towards the end. I loved all of the secondary characters, perhaps even more than Zafira and Nasir.

The ending did end on a cliffhanger, and I’m excited to see where Faizal takes the story. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series.

If you’re someone that enjoys fantasy, I recommend picking up We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal and giving it a try. Despite the slow plot at the beginning, I ended up liking the story in the end. If you’ve already read We Hunt the Flame, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s chat!