Hi. I’m on my phone, so the formatting of this might be odd, but since I’m doing Blogtober, I need to try to post today. Here’s my review of We hunt the Flame. I will fix it tomorrow morning, add links etc., as I have a family obligation today. Sorry about that.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal is an ancient Arabic inspired YA fantasy, which I was very excited to read. I knew I enjoy the setting, as I liked The Wrath and the Dawn, and Rebel of the Sands a lot, but with the amount of hype that surrounded the book, I think I set my expectations a bit too high.
We follow Zafira, a huntress, who pretends to be a man (as women have no power in her country) and hunts the magical forest, so her people wouldn’t starve. There’s also Nasir, the Sultan’s son and “The Prince of Death” – an assassin. In the world where old magic is gone, the forest steadily creeps up across the land, and anyone who steps foot in it goes insane, the two, although separately, are sent on a quest to bring magic back, by finding a lost artefact.
The concept of this book is quite simple, and honestly, nothing new, but it didn’t really bother me. I enjoy quest stories, it’s definitely a trope I like to read. The book starts off with a great amount of world building and descriptions, while the plot moves rather slowly – I expected it to follow in the same fashion (I have absolutely nothing against slow paced stories, if they pay off), but unfortunately, after about 100 pages or so, the descriptions just… stopped. It’s a shame, as the world was my favourite bit of the story – the forest, part of a kingdom covered in snow, instead of sand, ancient witch Sisters etc. The writing set a really great base for the story, I loved the beginning, I thought it was rich and vivid, but sadly, it then focused on the characters.
I didn’t like the two main characters, but I didn’t dislike them either. Both Zafira and Nasir felt quite bland to me, as did most characters in the story, with the exception of Altair. They all had tragic back stories, and I appreciated the back stories themselves, but didn’t much care for them. I guess, what I’m trying to say is that I think the characters were the weakest point of the story, though there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with them.
What I say in nearly every review by now, and what probably is getting stale for many, is… I really disliked the romance in this book. It genuinely comes out of nowhere. It’s an enemies to lovers kinda deal, and I know it can be done well (The Wrath and the Dawn!!!), but in this case it was insta-lovey and completely unbelievable. I had no doubts those two would have a thing going on from the very start, but not because it was in any way hinted or built up – it was just the kind of cliché I expected from the book.
Although, as I mentioned, the book was slow paced, I enjoyed the writing and the setting. There were a lot of words I didn’t understand, and it irked me until I found the glossary at the end, which made my reading experience a lot more positive. It definitely added to the atmosphere and the overall feel of the story.
It sounds like I’m complaining a lot about the book, which would suggest I did not like it, but the truth is – I did. It wasn’t a gripping, riveting story, it didn’t push any boundaries, it didn’t do anything new, but it definitely has a potential as a series, especially after that ending. There’s something about it that makes me interested in picking up the sequel – I think it’s going to be worth reading. As a debut, this book is far from perfect, but the idea for it is good and I believe the author will expand on what I thought was a very interesting world.