We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faiza

Zafira is The Demenhune Hunter. Dressed as a man, she safely enters the Arz, the forbidding evil woods encroaching on the lands, to kill game and bring back the meat to feed the starving people in her caliphate.

Nasir is the son of the corrupt sultan. He is used by his father as an assassin to kill of any political enemies who might try to undermine his power over the five caliphates in his land.

We Hunt the Flame starts with a mission for each character that enables the reader to learn about the characters’ rich, yet devastating backgrounds and special, intricate abilities. Both come from families that have suffered loss and are finding ways to grieve. They are troubled young people and only through a quest of sorts will they find a sometimes respite and a path for growth… The Silver Witch has come to Zafira offering an opportunity to bring back magic to the world. Zafira must travel to the desert island of Sharr and find a powerful talisman to “end the magic drought.” Nasir has also been tasked to travel to the island, but his goal is to steal book for his father. There are so many hidden motivations to sift through. The book really heats up when they get to Skarr!

There are three things I really liked about this one. The author changes the lengths of the chapters in different situations. Some are contemplative and a good deal longer. Some are focused on fight scenes and are quick to shift the perspective back and forth between Zafira and Nasir. I felt like the dream sequences were done well. (I’m a real stickler for dream sequences!) Zafira is especially affected by the magic on the island and sees visions of monsters they encounter in the real world and in her mind. The diverse crew that joins up on the island is filled with characters that all bring particular gifts to the quest. 

While the explanation of the world building is necessary in this one, it made for a bit of a rough beginning. We get the political makeup of world as well as the class structure, but it was heavy at times. It might have helped to spread it out over several chapters. In reference to what I said earlier about chapter length, the first several were a lot longer and more dense.

Overall, We Hunt The Flame is a vibrant tale of growth in a “world inspired by ancient Arabia,” populated by monsters and friends, human and otherwise.

4 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Macmillan Children’s, and Hafsah Faizal for an advanced copy for review.

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