Rummanah Aasi
Description: 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.

Review: We Hunt the Flame is one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. I know the author Hafsah Faizal who is a book blogger and creative artist behind Icey Designs. I could not wait to read another thrilling fantasy series set in a mythical Arabia and I am so happy that she has received lots of rave reviews for her debut novel.
 I enjoyed We Hunt the Flame, but not as much as I would have liked and perhaps my expectations for this book was too high. This fantasy debut novel is set in the Kingdom of Arawiya where its five caliphates can only be saved by an artifact that will restore magic once again to the land. We follow two perspectives, the hunter and the assassin, in alternating chapters. The Hunter is able to navigate the cursed forests in order to save his caliphate of Demenhur, which is covered in snow where there once was sand and its people are on the brink of starvation. Few know that the Hunter is actually a girl named Zafira, who is disguised as a man since women are perceived as tainted in Demenhur. Nasir is both prince and assassin, his targets the perceived enemies of his father, the tyrannical, abusive sultan. When Zafira is summoned to embark on a quest for the lost jewel, Nasir is sent after her, to take it and kill her. They are soon thrown together, first as enemies and then reluctant allies, by the secrets and whispers of an enemy who poses an even greater threat.
  I loved the world that the author created which is clearly inspired by ancient Arabia and has a vibe of the Assassin’s Creed video games. I liked the attention to detail, but sometimes it seems way too much and drags the plot down. My biggest problem with the book is its pacing issues. We spent a lot of time with Zafira and Nasir in their own settings where nothing happens and then suddenly in the last 50 pages or so of the book all the twists and major developments occur without any downtime to understand how it affects the characters. The themes of morality and understanding others beyond stereotypes are present throughout, which I really enjoyed. There is a large cast of characters and attempts at diversity among skin tones and various fantastical creatures are appreciated. There were times, however, where it was hard for me to keep up with who is who and some characters, particularly important secondary characters, are not well-fleshed-out but I think will hopefully be in the next book. We Hunt the Flame is an appealing fantasy and what is hopefully a growing genre outside of Eurocentric stories. I am curious to continue with the series and learn about the characters and their fates.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and strong violence. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
2 Responses
  1. I think that is why I haven't read this one yet... high expectations. I was going to give it a few months and then see if my library has it (or bug them to get it!). Glad you did enjoy it despite the challenges and I look forward to starting on the series.

  2. Too bad this one didn't live up to your expectations. A girl disguised as a boy for battle usually works well.

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