*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Pan Macmillan and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.
Nobody knows that Zafira is the Hunter. Forced to disguise herself as a man, she braves the cursed forest to feed her people. If she is exposed as a girl, all of her achievements will be rejected.
Nasir is the infamous Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If he refuses he will be punished in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya – but neither wants to be. And when Zafira embarks on a quest to restore magic to her suffering world, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve magic 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, Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt the Flame – first in the Sands of Arawiya duology – is a breathtaking debut about discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
At first, We Hunt the Flame reminded me of The Hunger Games, as the young female protagonist hunts to feed her family and finds herself volunteered for a dangerous quest to save their whole society. It doesn’t take long though for Hafsah Faizal’s characters to take on a life (and personalities) of their own, and I was quickly utterly hooked.
We get two threads here, which weave together as both main characters find themselves searching for the same thing. Zafira is on a Chosen One quest to save the world, whereas Nasir is on a journey of self-discovery and attempted redemption from his many misdeeds. Along the way they gather friends and companions that provide support, emotional development, and a fair amount of comic relief to lighten the serious elements (I LOVE Altair and Benyamen; with their irreverent banter masking their true feelings and motives).
There is a real sense of setting and worldbuilding in the physical landscapes, but also in the magic systems and the histories of the different races; and the scattering of Arabic words enriched the linguistic style, infusing it with a taste of the desert sands and exotic spices. I felt transported to the forest, the desert, the shadows, and totally invested in the band of unlikely comrades and their mission.
This story ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, drawing the reader enticingly forward to the next book, so I am very pleased to see that it should be with us Spring/Summer 2020. I can’t wait!
Love is for children, said the girl.
Death is for fools, said the shadow.
Darkness is my destiny, said the boy.
Allegiance is my undoing, said the eagle.
Suffering is our fate, said the beauty.
And they were all horribly wrong.
– Hafsah Faizal, We Hunt The Flame
We Hunt The Flame is available on Amazon right now!