We Hunt the Flame by Hafzah Faizal
Reviewed by Sam!
What I drank prior: Disney movie night. Double feature with a power hour in the middle. It was the first time I’ve seen Minda since this whole thing started. I truly lost count but I am fucked up.
People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.
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.
Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
Drunk Overview: there’s a chick who’s a hunter but folks think she’s a dude. There’s an assassin prince who is an assassin. There’s a forest tryna kill folk. Both are asked to bring back magic to get rid of the woods. For very different reasons. One to save her town, the other to appease his dad. Gotta go to this island to find this book that will tell us the secrets.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: this was disappointing. And not because I wasn’t in to the lore or the magic but because it took forever to get to where it wanted to go.
Characters: the huntress (I’m calling her that because I can’t remember her name exactly and since I listened on audio I wouldn’t be able to speed it anyway) is interesting. She knows what she loves, helping her people, but not how she feels about others. It was interesting to see how she navigated those feelings throughout the story. And then we have our broody male lead. There’s not much more to say other than he’s hashtag damaged and wants to make his daddy proud and it means betreYing everyone. He… doesn’t really grow. The conflict inside him was always there.
The other characters were fine. I can only distinguish one other character but there were at least three others. They all also sounded the same so it was tough. One of the female side characters turns to our huntress and was like “love that you’re sticking it to the man” but that’s the only thing I remember about her and this book was not short. There was also a sarcastic man, but I don’t really know what he added to the story other than to show how long they’d been together. We get things like “just like so and so to do this thing. Oh em gee when did I start thinking like I know these folks” as ways to show time passing but not providing substance behind it. It was tough.
Plot: a fuck ton of walking let me tell you. I was so bored in the middle. So so bored. Have no idea what happened because I know how it ended and it didn’t matter.
Writing Style: this is where this book shines. The writing is beautiful. It’s almost lyrical but I almost feel like I say that cause I’m not used to it. I feel more like this is the writing I should be reading and that though I seek it out I don’t find enough of it. Idk what it is about Islamic and Middle Eastern writing but I can’t get enough of it. I need more.
World Building: I feel like this world was a proposal of what is to come. We’re thrown a bunch of lore and stuff which I love. I’m not asking to be educTed with my narratives but I am asking to make sure I’m not so lost as to not enjoy the story. I understand some of the lore, because I’ve read about it before but a lot of it was new. I don’t expect to be educated but it took away from the story and it’s nuance I think because I didn’t undertand some parts, specifically some of the monsters they encountered. Not a huge deal though. I’ll live.
What to pair it with: I recently tried a fig wine and it was fucking delicious. I choose that. It is unique and it’s definitely something I want to try again but not the best first experience into the world of fig wines.
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: Let me know the last book you read that you were pumped for but ended up being disappointed by
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,