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We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Young adult

We Hunt the Flame

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Hafsah Faizal, on your first book!

by Hafsah Faizal

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Quick take

Fearless hunters and feared assassins in mythical ancient Arabia.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical

    Magical

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder

    Murder

Synopsis

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.

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Free sample

Check out a preview of We Hunt the Flame.
We Hunt the Flame

Act 1: Silver as a Crescent Moon

Chapter 1

People lived because she killed. And if that meant braving the Arz where even the sun was afraid to glimpse, then so be it.

On the occasional good day, Zafira bint Iskandar mused that she was braver than the sun itself. Most days, she couldn’t wait until the evernight Arz was behind her and she was firmly rooted in the plains of her caliphate, daama snow and all.

Today was one of those days, despite the antlers rough against her hands. She stepped free of the cursed prison of a forest, pretending her sigh was due to her task being complete rather than a product of the tightly coiled fear unwinding in her heart. The morning sun kissed her cheeks in welcome.

Marhaba to you, too, coward.

Sunlight was always faint in the caliphate of Demenhur, because the sun didn’t know what to do with the snow that should be sand.

Before her, the sea of white rolled out smooth and pristine, gifting her a moment’s contentment in her solitude, even as her toes numbed and the air crippled her nose. For in a caliphate where a woman’s actions were always in danger of being turned against her, there was nothing easy about pretending to be a man. Not when she had the curves of a woman, and the voice and gait of one, too.

She dragged the deer carcass along, a trail of steam in her wake, the sullied snow an eerie crimson. There was a promise in the air. A stillness in the earth and in the whispering trees.

It’s nothing. Paranoia had a way of visiting when he was least desired. She was a bundle of emotions because of the impending wedding, that was all.

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Why I love it

Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt the Flame is a fierce #OwnVoices debut: a lushly detailed epic fantasy inspired by ancient Arabia with a vivid, well-rounded cast of characters and a plot that makes it hard to put down.

The story focuses on two main characters: Zafira, a young woman who disguises herself as a man to conceal her identity as she hunts to feed her community; and Nasir, a prince and an assassin who is trapped and controlled by his father's will. As their world is threatened, Zafira and Nasir are drawn together in a dangerous quest to restore magic to their people—first at odds, and then as part of a gang of characters who come together for their common goal.

I was excited to read this book because I love a good YA fantasy, but also because I deeply admire the work Hafsah Faizal does in the YA community at large. She’s a tireless advocate for meaningful representation throughout the genre, and I've learned a lot from both her book and her Twitter feed. This is a well-written fantasy that’s both sweeping and intimate, and I look forward to seeing what's next.

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Member ratings (777)

  • Karoline T.

    Arden, NC

    I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book but I really enjoyed the characters and how you see them change ever so slightly throughout the book. I’m interested in where the story will go!

  • Mariam E.

    Sugar Land, TX

    I love the fact that this book is huge representation for Arab people. We don’t really get a lot of it, so it’s so refreshing to see a very well written book with fantastic characters that are Arab!

  • Natali M.

    Libertyville, IL

    This book broke my heart! I am so excited for the next one, and I only hope Hafsah will treat my babies better this time! ❤ Beautiful world building, complex characters and relationships. All the yes!

  • Olivia W.

    Kokomo, IN

    This was such an excellent story. I cannot wait to dive into book two. The atmosphere, the characters, the setting — everything was flawless. The only complaint I had stems from my own book hangover.

  • Gemma B.

    Ridgefield, WA

    It almost everything in it! It had action, enemies-to-lovers slow burn romance, strong female characters, and a complex & diverse world. I anticipate the development of the magic system in the sequel.

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