We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

by - November 13, 2019


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (2019) 

We Hunt the Flame is a YA Arabian high fantasy written by a Muslim woman. It has a delicious enemies to lovers romance. Rating it a full 5/5 stars

What is We Hunt the Flame about?

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.

Quick Categories

Steamy hatefuck scale: 5/5 
  • YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK MADE ME SQUEAL SO MANY TIMES I HAD TO PUT IT DOWN JUST TO FLAIL. The romantic tension is SO delicious and SO indulgent. There's a “sparring and ending up on top of each other with my sword against your throat scene (swoon), an “accidentally walking in on you bathing” scene, and some “I hate you; I shouldn't care for you” monologuing. THIS BOOK GAVE ME LIFE. 

Secret softness scale: 4/5 
  • Nasir is actually a soft grumpy baby and Zafira is an angry baby. That is my favorite dynamic. They eventually warm up to each other by protecting each other and the scene of one of them tending to the other’s wounds is *chefs kiss* PERFECTO. And also very horny. I was shocked at how beautifully horny this YA novel is lol. It's horny in a classy way though. No actual smut... just LOTS of tension and kissing and sensuous feeling. 

I am obsessed scale: 5/5
  • I checked AO3 for fanfic and there was... only one. Or maybe less than three. THAT IS A CRIME. Lmao if the fandom was only bigger then I think I'd migrate into it. That's how much I loved this book.

For fans of Broody Hero X and Ferocious Heroine Y:

Zafira is no-nonsense, family-oriented, but kind of naive. She has a strong sense of justice and doesn't trust easily. She reminds me of both Rachelle (Crimson Bound) and Feyre (A Court of Thorns and Roses). She carries a tremendous responsibility on her shoulders, and refuses to ask for help or burden anyone else with it. Please let her rest.

Nasir is your ultimate broody, tortured dark prince with a tragic backstory. His smiles and laughter must be rarer than the blood moon. But that icy exterior holds a soft heart... and he is remorseful for all the blood spilled by his hands. He reminds me of a more emotionless and less volatile Kylo Ren...  <3

WHAT I LIKED

Honestly? Everything. The characters. The worldbuilding. THE ROMANCE. If you follow me on Twitter then you know I kept screaming about how much I loved this book. It's SO SO GOOD. 

1. The world is so fully realized, vast, and diverse!! It's not a stereotypical Arabian fantasy that seems like it only took influence from Aladdin. I think it's great that it was written by a Middle Eastern woman herself; that really helped. The lands of Arawiya have several countries in them, and each one is different. In fact, Zafira's home country is a land of ice and snow. There's a great magical forest that borders the nations. And of course, there is a sprawling desert. I love how we were introduced to the vast worldbuilding slowly and efficiently; there wasn't unnecessary info dumping here.

2. The pacing starts out slow but I love that, because it’s so rare in YA. The build up is long because it’s complex — it includes character relations, examinations, and worldbuilding in a way that's SHOWING NOT TELLING. Some books should learn. Looking at you, *cough*crier'swar*cough* 

3. The romance SIZZLES. Nasir and Zafira start as REAL ENEMIES. Nasir's mission is to kill Zafira after using her. Zafira knows Nasir is the prince of their enemy country and can't be trusted. But ooooh of course they’re drawn to each other and realize they’re not as bad as they originally seemed.

Nasir is my son, fyi. And Zafira is my daughter in law. I have adopted them as my children, because I want to knock their heads together just to get some sense into their skulls.

4. Friendship is a central theme.

The gang's friendship is just as important as Nasir and Zafira's budding romance! Not to mention Zafira's fantastic female friendship with Yasmine, or Nasir and Altair's bromance/friendship (even if Nasir himself would never admit it). It's always fun to see relationship dynamics and characters who start as strangers but quickly become family thanks to a shared journey.



WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

1. The prose was a little dense and difficult to get into at the start (especially since I read this during a reading slump), but once the story started rolling it was great! It's honestly so complex and sprawling for a YA fantasy, so it definitely has crossover appeal to Adult fantasy readers!

2. The cliffhanger ending

I don't think this is a spoiler. This series is a duology. I really hate cliffhanger endings on principle, and I felt like the end subplots were stretched a bit too thin and could be tackled in the same book. However, I still adore this series and I am definitely buying the sequel. I want to see how the author will wrap up all the loose ends ;)

In summary, I love this book to bits and keep it close to my heart. I think it's even one of the best books of 2019. And that is why I rate it 5/5 stars. Read it whether or not you're an enemies to lovers fan. If you love YA or fantasy or books with memorable characters & sprawling words & a heartsoaring romance... then We Hunt the Flame is for you.

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1 comments

  1. ooh arabian fantasy with enemies to lovers- sounds right up my street! I absolutely love the sound of this! Good to know about the cliffhanger ending though. Great review!

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