We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
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.
We Hunt the Flame was incredibly entertaining, and in that way completely lived up to my expectations. But it was also super trope-y, which I personally found a little disappointing.
I think the real stand-out for this book was Faizal’s utterly fantastic writing. The descriptions were lovely and vivid, the characters really came to life, the world building was detailed and unique, and the plot was fast-paced and exciting. Overall, it was a pure fun read. I was completely engaged, and I’m definitely eager to read more from this series.
The romance was also on-point. It was super intense in terms of how the characters connected with one another, and there was LOTS of chemistry. But I appreciated that (for now, at least) there wasn’t any actual sex. I’m all about the power of a LOOK, man.
I was disappointed with how similar the plot and characters were to every other YA Fantasy book, though. In particular I’m losing interest in the magic-disappeared-and-now-we-have-to-bring-it-back trope and the badass-female-warrior trope. Also present are the evil-beyond-evil-king/queen and the childhood-best-friend-who-is-in-love-with-me. The good news is that all of these tropes are executed EXTREMELY well, so they weren’t enough to well and truly annoy me. But that did keep it from being a 5-star book for me personally.
This book definitely lives up to the hype and I am so glad I finally read it. Highly recommended to fans of YA Fantasy, especially fans of Children of Blood and Bone or the Throne of Glass series.