We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal is a YA fantasy inspired from arab culture and mythology and centered around two characters, Zafira and Nasir, in Arawiya, a sultanate with five caliphates. And Arawiya used to have magic, due to Six Sisters Of Old. However, after a battle with the Lion of the Night, they disappeared and took magic with them. With magic gone in their land, the caliphates are suffering. They either are swarmed with snow despite being in a desert. Anither caliphate’s people are hollow, and another has lost their fertile lands as a consequnce of the magic lost from their lands. And there’s a dark forest, the Arz, creeping closer to them, day by day.
Zafira is a hunter, but her caliphate hates women, so she has to hide her identity. She’s a special type of hunter with the ability to enter the Arz without getting lost and find her way through any situation. And Nasir is an assassin. Actually he’s the crown prince to Arawiya, but he’s mostly an assassin with daddy issues.
One day, a mysterious woman known as the Silver Witch meets Zafira and sends her upon a quest to retrieve a magical book in dark magical prison known as the Sharr. And she does, because this book will bring magic back to Arawiya. And the Sultan sends Nasir after her, because he wants the book too.
That was the general intro to the book. However, I will know discuss more details about the book, and there will be spoilers so please don’t read on if you don’t want to read any!
I enjoyed the book! The world building was exquisite, Faizal took her time describing the setting and she infused it with elements from arab culture and I was immersed inside Arawiya. It was a breath of fresh air to all the western or paranormal fantasy stoires I’ve been reading recently, although I’m still a huge fan of western fantasy. I also enjoyed how fantasy elements were a major point to the plot. I read alot of recent fantasy books where magic is there, but it is a back drop to the story. But in here, it is the center idea of the plot, driving the story foreword
The tale of the Lion of The Night and The Sisters Of Old really took me by surprise! When the book first introduced the story I was blown away, and felt like reading an entire story of that. (I’m a big fan of fairy tales and mythology and it sounded like that).
And I loved shipping Altair and Nasir together. It was fun, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
And now the things I didn’t like:
The love between Nasir and Zafira because it seemed sudden and kinda based physical desire. I personally like slow burn romances, and this seemed a little too quick. And also, I feel that Zafira did love Deen by all the ways she described him, and how she always thought about him even when he was alive. It was just the burden of her being the Hunter that made her have no time for romance, and that I can understand. But her not being in love with Deen, I couldn’t.
Also, for a second, I thought there would be a romance between Altair and Zafira when she mentioned that she missed him and they both were like 0_0. You know? And I like guys like Altair, and would have been okay with it. At the least, if they did have a thing, it wasn’t be based on lust.
Speaking of ships, I thought Zafira was a little obsessed with Yasmine? In the beginning, I thought she was in love with her. But that might because I have a shipping problem worse than FedEx.
I also, didn’t like how it took so long for them to start the quest!
Although I liked the Arabic influence, I didn’t like how Faizal replaced the curse words with the arabic words because based on my understanding, daama means bloody. And kharra meant shit, and when I got the hang of it, my brain just translated the words for me, and “bloody this” and “bloody that” made me feel like I was reading Harry Potter and kinda threw me off. I like how they describe the food, clothes and decorations in arabic, but if you’re going to curse, please do it in one language.
So, if you paid attention, majority of the things that I didn’t like are petty, and are due to my personal taste which is hard for anyone to get.
I loved the book! I’m a huge world building fan, and fantasy fan and so, when I get to see a different world with magical elements and all that, I fell in love. I loved the mythical monsters like the irfit. I loved the safin creatures. I loved how each caliph lost something due to the missing magic. I loved Faizal’s writing, SO beautiful and poetic and I love Altair!
I personally liked the book and would recommend it to fantasy lovers who want to be immersed in the world they are reading, and I am definitely going to read the second book, We Free The Stars coming out in January!
Now, after reading the book, I had some strong feelings.
I hope Altair is okay! I feel so bad for him! He mentioned how no one cared for him when he watched them leave him behind on Sharr. And also, he mentioned that Nasir stole their mother from him, so even though he is a terrific older brother, I feel like in the second book, he might have resentment towards everyone and he might turn into a “bad buy” giving us more angst! Which I’m honestly hoping for! And I hope his dad doesn’t torment him too bad.
Also, I feel like Kifah needs some more spotlight. Like she’s so cool and we got a little bit of her past, but I feel like there could’ve been more of her. You know? She was just there saving everyone.
Also! I hope Yasmine doesn’t kill Altair for revenge! He’s been through a lot already! And he’s my favorite!
Now, tell me, how about you? Did you like the book? Hated it? Favorite moments? Is there something you don’t agree with me? Something you’re hoping to see? I want to know! Please leave your opinions below!