We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – Review & Character Playlist

Hafsah Faizal’s debut novel is nothing short of inspired. With an atmospheric air, characters that feel more than paper & ink, and a story that grips you from the beginning, We Hunt the Flame is a beautiful, intriguing tale that I wish I could read for the first time over again.


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Published: 14 May 2019

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genre(s): Fantasy/Young Adult

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

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.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Rating: 5 Stars

Hafsah handled her characters with a deft hand, using subtly and force in equal measure to display their feelings. Depending on who and when it was used, this was emotionally evocative for me as a reader. We Hunt the Flame is told in alternating perspectives and watching the cast, particularly Zafira & Nasir, whose eyes we see the story through, weave their way through the obstacles set before them was a beautiful, heartbreaking, enjoyable reading time.

A part of the characters’ stories is the questions that they face: the rights of women, which Zafira has to face because her caliphate has strict gender norms that she breaks in order to provide for her people. Nasir constantly reflects upon what has made him who he is: the things he’s done at the behest of his father, the sultan; what does that mean for his person, such as it is, after so many years?

There were a host of moments that ranged from emotionally fraught to giggling at the banter between friends/”…friends?”, for Zafira and Yasmine were wonderful together, though I’m not sure what you could call Nasir and Altair. lol Altair’s talent for getting on Nasir’s nerves was certainly legendary.

It will be fascinating to see where the Sands of Arawiya world goes next. I mean, I know the book only comes out this Tuesday, but that makes the wait feel quite long. *weeps silently* Here’s hoping we can talk about our love for the zumra from We Hunt the Flame in the interim and, for my part, I’ll be picking up the audiobook featuring Fiona Hardingham and Steve West!


Character Playlist


In collaboration with the Pelusia members of the We Hunt the Flame Street Team, I selected songs that I felt represented key characters in the novel. Please see below my personal selections as well as links to other members blogs to see what they have chosen.


Pelusia Collab


Star Is All Booked Up


Now, onto my musical choices. 🙂


The Arz


Seven Devils – Florence + the Machine


The atmosphere of the Arz as described by Zafira from the start & the sound of Seven Devils mesh very well together. It’s haunting & has this distinct creepy feel to it that “feels” like that feeling Zafira might have gotten going through the Arz & thinking she was being watched.




Believer – Imagine Dragons


If anyone embodies this line from the above song, I think it’s Zafira.
“I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been.” With the way that her caliphate views women and would view her, despite her accomplishments that have provided for her people, should her secrets be revealed, I think Believer embodies an aspect of Zafira.




Numb – Linkin Park


There are lyrics in this song that remind me of Nasir & his father particularly relevant to how Nasir wants to defy him:

“Every step that I take is another mistake to you…

…By becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.”




Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift


There’s an energy to this song, a daring, that I thought paired well with the mighty Kifah. ❤




Pressure – Muse


I was a little stuck on a selection for Benyamin, but a fellow collaborator (Star!) helped when I saw her choice. There’s a similar theme, but I think that the beat with Muse’s song does better overall with the other songs I’ve pulled together for my playlist.




Confident – Demi Lovato


Altair certainly has a sense of confidence about him. lol It tends to irritate Nasir more than a little which can be comical at times. The energy of Demi’s Confident as well as the lyrics reminded me of Altair.


“What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being
What’s wrong with being confident?”






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13 thoughts on “We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – Review & Character Playlist

  1. Maybe it sounds stupid but I’m really glad to hear that others are getting more out of this story than I did. It was so hyped and anticipated. I was gutted that I didn’t react how I expected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way you expected/wanted. That can happen sometimes. 😞 Do you think you’d be up for trying the audiobook? Fiona & Steve are both excellent performers & I’ve heard them before a few times (Fiona did the And I Darken series, Steve did The Crown’s Game series & Strange the Dreamer).

      There are also lots of other books that you can enjoy. Hopefully your next read/hyped read will turn out better. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the wonderful thing about any art, really? I think that art is great if it provokes extreme emotion whether bad or good. If art doesn’t provoke anything but meh from everyone, it probably isn’t great art. But if people are fixated by it or just can’t get it… then it is great art. To your point, because there is so much out there, there is something for everyone and not everything is for everybody. That is also the beauty of this community. We can discuss these things that make us tick and make us wonder. I had two brilliant reads right before (Nocturna and Dark Shores) and one right after (Let Me Hear a Rhyme). I’m just finishing Candle and the Flame and then I’m starting An Illusion of Glass…. mums the word on Candle till I write up the review. Either way. you can’t love everything. 🙂 You won’t hate everything. The brilliant thing is how much we have to choose from and what a blessing that is!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jeann. 🙂 Their dynamic was certainly interesting, wasn’t it? The playing off each other, the almost brevity vs some of Nasir’s darker singular moments. It was wonderful to see the different ways that Hafsah played with the characters.


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