There are no real words I can use to describe We Hunt the Flame. The world building is so immersive. You will feel the sand on your face, the cold brushing your skin, and the darkness behind your eyes.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
While I could describe the lush and immersive imagery in We Hunt the Flame until the end of time, or the brilliant story manipulation which will leave your heart racing, the impression I’m left with days after finishing, are the characters who have made a place in my heart. We Hunt the Flame is a story that will stick with you long after finishing and keep the fire burning in your heart until book two.
Not only do I love each and every character individually, but I adore how they function as a group. The different ways their strengths and weaknesses come to play, their little quirks emerging, and their roughness rubbing away on each other. The way our brightness brings out the shadows in others, the way it plays off of mirrors and refracted angles. There are backstories, pasts with secrets and mysteries swirling like cloaks in the night.
There’s Nasir, who is advertised as a ruthless killer who is too far to feel compassion, and if there isn’t a character who would appeal to my heart more, I’m not sure who it would be. He’s been hardened, sharpened to a point where kindness and compassion are seen as weakness. Where we’ve carved away the love in our hearts while our compassion is used as a tool to extract our obedience. Do we give the last shred of ourselves up for a love that smothers? That demands obedience?
While Zafira dares to defy the idea that women cannot be hunters. She’s stubborn empathetic, driven by her desire to save her home. And who doesn’t love a main character who is talented, driven by love, and flying against the current.
World Building & Themes
There is magic in the air, in whispered breaths, and rich stories told around fires in the night. Within We Hunt the Flame is an intricate world of politics and power struggles. All beginning with a silver invitation issuing promises and whispers of power that lull you into desire.
And in the foreground of this immersive world are some truly powerful themes. Not only is there the regression of women’s rights when they desire to take control of their own agency, but also the absolute terror of rulers without checks on their power. In the face of this, who can stop the crescendo of the wave, the fear of being pulled into an unending dark night?
And throughout We Hunt the Flame we are asked if we are truly monstrous? If it could ever be that uncomplicated? Within the course of the book, we unmask each other, exposing our nooks and crannies. They become more than strangers, more than the people we travel with. We begin to know them, to miss their jokes, to see their scars, and to think of them as people, as companions, as friends, as more. We Hunt the Flame encompasses all these varying puzzles of shifting sands and mirages before your eyes, you aren’t sure where to look, what is misdirection, as pieces fall into place in front of your eyes.