We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an engaging and incredible fantasy novel set in a mythological world based on Middle Eastern traditions. The plot was well paced, the characters were intriguing and developed well over the course of the story. There were twists and turns that I did not expect.
The world is set in the kingdom of Arawiya. Many years ago, there was magic in the land. There were the Six Sisters who wielded this magic. Then, they all went away, taking the magic with them and leaving the land cursed. Nafira lives in the snow-cursed land of Demenhur, where the people are starving. She manages to keep them fed by hunting in the cursed forest of the Arz. However, she does it secretly as The Hunter because if the ruler of her state knew she was a woman, she would be forced to stop. Women were thought to be cursed and only good for marriage.
Nasir is the crown prince, but his cruel father, the Sultan, uses him as an assassin, killing innocents along with the guilty. He and with the general Altair are sent through the cursed forest Arz to follow The Hunter to the island of Sharr, the last known place the Six Sisters went. The Hunter (or Nafira) has been tasked by the Silver Witch to hunt for a book called the Jawarat that is supposed to restore the land of its magic, removing the curses that plague each state.
There is technically profanity in the book, but not the words we normally use in English. The author provides a glossary of words online when you read the book (which is incredibly helpful), and some of the words mean words in our language that are profanity. So, take that as you will. There is a little bit of sexual content. There is a kissing scene and a make out scene which is pretty heavy, as well as some talk about other characters and how beautiful or attractive they are, fantasies they have, etc. But it’s kept pretty PG. The violent content in the book includes torture – including starvation, whipping, removal of a tongue, hot pokers, etc. Also, one of the main characters is an assassin, so there is a fair amount of murder, talking about killing, and things like that.
The reveals, whether plot twists or new characters, keep the story going. I love a story based on other cultures or mythologies, and this was quite a ride. I have already added the next book to my TBR list. I’m hoping to read it before the end of the year!