But eyes couldn’t stay closed forever, unless one was dead. And the dead never dreamed.
A dark, lush and magical story set in a world that is inspired by ancient Arabia. Main characters that set out on an adventure – with a side dish of one trying to kill the other. Beautiful writing that will tuck you in and won’t let you go until you finish the book – and might stay even then. We Hunt the Flame is Hafsah Faizal’s debut novel and more than worthy to get picked up. Bonus: lots of hidden Assassin’s Creed references!
First things first – I was lucky enough to become a part of Hafsah’s Street Team prior to the publication of We Hunt the Flame and got to read the book before most readers. So while some might now think that this review isn’t completely honest, this isn’t the truth. I love this book with all my heart and devoured it in the span of a day way back in February. It instantly became one of my favourites but I am still not fully able to write a proper review. I am too fascinated by what Hafsah created and can’t wait to read the next installment of the duology. But since this won’t happen over the next few weeks (I mean, We Hunt the Flame released two days ago. I’m not really patient, as you can see!), I’ll instead try to write my thoughts down.
Most of all, I fell in love with the characters. All of them have their own motivations as well as personal demons to face. They end up on the same adventure even though their goals differ. I loved some more than others (can’t say more, because this review shall be free of spoilers!), but overall I connected with all of them sooner or later. They were beautifully written and even though the synopsis focuses heavily on Zafira and Nasir, there are way more characters than just the two of them. A personal favourite was the topic of enemies-to-lovers, of which I can’t get enough of! But the romance here is very slow burn and while some people might not like that, it was perfect for the story.
What I also loved was the lyrical writing. Hafsah created a wonderful world and gave insights about what happened in Arawiya before the story starts. Her descriptions of this lush world are breathtaking and it was easy to imagine how it might look. The plot evolved in a great way and held so many twists and turns I didn’t expect. What I’m not completely sure about is the pacing of the story – at some times it felt a bit off or too slow. Some scenes were too far apart or felt like they dragged on. But as this is Hafsah’s debut, I don’t want to criticize this aspect too harshly. Her already beautiful writing might change in the future and she will definitely find her way as an author.
All in all, We Hunt the Flame is a gorgeous book and a worthy debut for this young author. While there might be some issues, it’s still easily one of my favourite reads this year and I’d recommend it to everyone who’d like to have some magic in their life.