Book review: “We Hunt the Flame”

With a strong female lead, mysterious male counterpart, found family, and stolen magic, “We Hunt the Flame” by Hafsah Faizal has everything a fantasy reader could ask for.

Inspired by ancient Arabia, “We Hunt the Flame” opens in the kingdom Arawiya, more specifically in Demenhur, a caliphate plagued by never melting snow.

The novel follows Zafira, a huntress who disguises herself as a man as she hunts for her people in the Arz, a magical forest where no one returns unaffected or sane. Nobody except Zafira returns time and time again and gets nicknamed Demenhur’s Legendary Hunter. Nobody except those close to her know that the legendary hunter is a woman, as the leader of her caliphate frowns upon women.

“We Hunt the Flame” also follows the son of the Sultan, Nasir, who is an assassin nicknamed the Prince of Death. The first readers see of him, he is sent on a mission by his father to kill a protestor. Nasir’s father used to be kind, but since Nasir’s mother’s death, he lost all kindness and empathy. He broke Nasir’s compassion and turned him into a heartless assassin who kills without flinching.

Zafira is approached by an ancient witch to travel to the island of Sharr to retrieve an ancient artifact that can restore magic to Arawiya. The Sultan hears about this quest and sends Nasir and the general of the king’s army to go to Sharr, work with the Demenhur’s Hunter until they retrieve the artifact, and then kill the hunter.

As the Prince of Death and Demenhur Huntresses’ quest unfolds, an ancient evil begins to unfold and the two, along with a few they picked up along the way, begin to realize that the ancient heirloom they’re after may pose a threat bigger than any of them.

Faizal’s enchanting story, filled with detailed, beautiful world-building and action-packed scenes, deeply enthralls readers, until no fantasy-loving person can stop reading. With 469 pages and 92 chapters, it is the perfect length to keep readers guessing up to the very end of the story, and then some.