We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Published: May 14, 2019
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 sultan. 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 Zafira and Nasir 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 sultan 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.
After almost two years of owning this book, I’ve FINALLY finished it! I found We Hunt the Flame to be enjoyable, if a little slow at times. The first third of the book is largely spent on worldbuilding, which was necessary for background but was a bit of slog to get through.
The two main characters of Nasir and Zafira were decently fleshed out, and I’m definitely rooting for them to get together as a couple. I similarly loved Altair, the general for the Sultan and Nasir’s sort-of-friend and hope there is more of him in the following book! All the other supporting characters were somewhat shallow to me though. There was an attempt at adding a bit of backstory to Kifah, a character who joins the band later on, but it came across as rushed and I never felt connected to her character.
There were some species and events, such as the Kaftar hyena-shifters, that seemed kind of just thrown in the story. I remember these creatures showed up again at the end after like three pages of appearance earlier in the novel, and I had to google the word to remember who they were. Admittedly, these may be more common creatures to those familiar with Arabic myths, but I had no idea what they were before this book.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and will be picking up the sequel to see what happens to the main characters (and what fate befall Arawiya overall)!