We Hunt the Flame is the October BoTM of Stars and Sorcery, hosted by my friend Nandini @ Unputdownable Books.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know of my aversion for high fantasy. I used to love fantasy growing up but my tastes changed as I grew older. I stopped reading epic and high fantasy altogether just because the genre was always a hit-or-miss for me, tipping more towards the “miss”.
But I’m a huge fan of Hafsah just based on her tweets and Middle Eastern and South Asian folktales were what I grew up on. I just HAD to read We Hunt the Flame. Read on to find out what I thought of the book.
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.
Zafira is a Huntress who masks herself as a man to hunt in a dark forest and feed her people. Nasir is the Crown Prince who assassinates anyone his autocratic father, the Sultan, asks him to. The Hunter, the Prince of Death. They’re both famous, they both don’t want to be, they’re both broken in their own ways. With the dark and magical forest Arz advancing on Zafira’s caliph, she embarks on a quest to retrieve an artifact that can restore magic in the world. Nasir is sent on a mission to intercept the Hunter. Whether the two are successful in their respective missions and how they find their own selves in the process form the rest of the story.
I finished this book in two sittings, over a weekend I was supposed to be busy doing other chores over. Is that enough a testament to how good this book is?
I enjoy character-driven books more than plot-driven ones, which is probably why I can’t read some fantasy. But this book is just as character-driven (if not more!) as plot-driven. The characters are fleshed out really well–they’re unique and you can’t help but root for the tortured, lost beans that the ragtag group in this book are.
The plot has just the right mix of scheming, secrets, and tension that you won’t be able to rest until the last page is turned. It also involves a lot of twists, some of which my stupid brain made me figure out even before they happened. But I assure you it’s just me. I just love figuring out foreshadowing and ruining things for myself. But the story is completely enthralling, the twists thrilling, and any reader’s will to put the book down non-existent.
Oh and did I mention the angst? This book is filled with it. Yearning glances, tension that can be cut with a knife, the whole shebang. I was alternatively groaning and cursing out the two characters throughout because holy cow, move your asses and make out already, you angsty biscuits!
In all, We Hunt the Flame is a fast-paced, enthralling read everyone will love. With beautiful writing and charming imagery reminding one of ancient Arabia, this is a brilliant, promising debut. The sequel, We Free the Stars, releases only next year and I will be impatiently waiting in the corner, thank you very much.
Rating: 5 out of 5