Title: We Hunt the Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Release UK: 8/8/19
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 29
(see breakdown below)
I received a free eARC copy from Pan Macmillan, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
From Goodreads: 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 gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
This has me a bit torn. I sit very much in the middle about this book. I was immediately drawn to the writing, it is beautiful and it was the sole reason I kept reading. It really is the corner stone of what otherwise for me was a rather run of the mill fantasy tale.
I have read other reviews that have raved about the Middle Eastern setting but I just didn’t get that feeling. I felt this was lacking in worldbuilding completely. We get very brief descriptions of places but are never given the feeling of their culture and history. It all feels very temporary, just a set that our story is played out of instead of a world of its own. We have no real explanation of the magic system just that there was magic and it went away, I am still unsure why. It is just a little lacklustre for me.
The characters for me were also very one dimensional. The only character I really liked was Altair but thats because I generally love the Sassy talking, privileged princeling trope.
Neither of the two perspectives had any kind of driving force over the narrative. We spent so much time in their respective heads that it actually became somewhat confusing as to what was genuine movement of the plot and what was their imagination. All this time the characters spend pondering and wandering around in their own headspace just slows the whole adventure down to a snails pace. Nothing seems to really happen in the outside world for the majority of this book.
When we do get action it is fantastic! When the twists hit they are great. This is what pushed this closer and closer to a 3 star read as these parts were gripping. There were just so far apart that I got bored.
Overall, I just found this book to be average, which is disappointing as I thought this would be one I would love. I will definitely read more for Hafsah Faizal. Her writing is gorgeous, I just like my fantasy to pack more of a tension filled race than a pleasant meander.
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