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.
tw: blood, mention of the death of children, loss of a loved one, body horror, torture, abusive parent.
This is my standard for great Young Adult Fantasy from here on out.
The prose is deadly, sinister, and clamours at my heart in just the right way. I am in love with the writing, the details, the atmosphere, the seamless characterization. Hafsah Faizal pushes you beneath the pages and behind the shadows to watch her characters ache, burn for each other, and cry for each other. She’s so incredibly good at making it feel like her characters are as real as your brother, your friend, or co-worker. Her characters feel tangibly real on a level I haven’t seen in young adult fantasy in a very long time. The world is natural and organic, ripe and fresh. Side note: the way the food is described is gorgeous. The magical system with elemental magic is fascinating to me. This book is the absolute opposite of info dumping.
After I finished this book, I sat with my kindle and realized it would be one of those rare books that I would pick up for a re-read when I need something magical. A total December read in my opinion.
Zafira lives in a world much like ancient Arabia but with some magic thrown in here and there. She has the ability to hunt in a cursed forest to her help her family and friends. Dressed as a man, a hunter, she steps into the woods to provide and protect her people.
I would just like to address something before I continue. I have seen some reviewers stating that Zafira dressing as a man is participating with the patriarchy and that this signfies tropes aligning with anti-feminist tropes of the past. Zafira is a character inspired by Muslim ancient Arabia. Her dressing as a man is due to the cultural inspirations. Zafira is not a white woman. Lets not compare white christian women’s struggles against the patriarchy to Muslim arabic women. It’s incredibly insensitive and doesn’t account for their own choices with feminity and feminism. I would also say people seem to confuse women’s right to be masculine presenting versus women hating feminity because they hate women. These are different things and I think we need to have a conversation about how both can exist. One does not negate the other. Just because a woman is masculine presenting does not mean that the author hates feminine things. Both are realities but that’s not the situation here. Lets be done with that.
Zafira leaves her home in a plot against the king. Nasir, the prince of death, is son of the king. Along with Altair, he traverses the lands to follow in her footsteps to another land. This is a place of legends and myths. There, they both meet tragedy, death, and some other tasty developments. They meet new companions. The glares, and the gazes they sweetly throw each others way when they think the other isn’t looking is just my catnip. It’s all entirely juicy and angsty and i just want to smoosh them together. They’re both such angsty teens and I just want them to cancel each other out so they can be happy skipping along into the sunset (sobs).
I won’t go too deep into it because I think one of the beautiful things about this book is the fact that not only are the relationships slow burn but so is the book itself. You just sorta have to live through it.