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Literature / We Hunt The Flame

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Ages ago, the land of Arawiya was peaceful, bountiful, and filled with magic. The land was protected by the Six Sisters of Old, who used their magic to maintain peace and prosperity. Then one day, they vanished, and seemingly took magic with them. At the same time, a nigh-lifeless desert almost none are able to safely traverse emerged and began slowly overtaking the land.

In the sisters' absence, the Caliphates over the land grow unstable. The people suffer and starve, men fight for power, and a few Caliphs have used the disappearance and seeming failure of the sisters to justify laws repressing the rights of women.

Amidst this chaos, there is Zafira, a huntress able to traverse the Arz and hunt in its sands. Her people lived because she killed, but she pretends to be a man in order to avoid earning the ire of the Caliph. Because she can traverse the Arz she is recruited to lead journey into its center and find a magic artifact that may be able to restore magic to the land. Meanwhile, Prince Nasir is better known as the Prince of Death, made to assassinate his cruel father's enemies. His father has given Nasir a new assignment: Follow the Hunter into the Arz, kill him once he's found the artifact, and bring it to the Sultan.


We Hunt the Flame is a YA fantasy novel, the first in the Sands of Arawiya series, released in 2019, written by Hafsa Faizal. The book takes heavy inspiration from Arabian culture and folklore and was published to rave reviews, with even acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson following Faizal on twitter. The sequel, We Free the Stars is was released in January 2021.

This work contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Nasir's father, who forced him to become an assassin at a young age and maintains his loyalty by holding the first woman he's fallen in love with hostage.
    • The Lion of the Night keeps Altair shackled and regularly has blood drawn from him in order to bolster his own power.
  • Action Girl: Zafira is a competent fighter. They run into Kifah later, who is also a competent fighter.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The Arz grows in size.
  • Big Bad: Nasir's father, a tyrant who seeks the treasure hidden in the Arz for the sake of increasing his sphere of influence.
    • And then it turns out that he's being controlled by the Lion of the Night.
  • Disguised in Drag: Zafira pretends to be a man so the rumors of a hunter who can navigate and hunt the Arz safely.
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  • Distressed Damsel: The Lion manages to kidnap Zafira near the end of the book.
  • Distressed Dude: And then book two opens up with Altair being held captive by the Lion.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Sultan's appears to be the death of his wife, whom he genuinely loved. It later turns out to mostly be manipulation on the Lion's part.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Lion of the Night, a powerful and evil Djinn who orchestrated the Sisters' failure.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Nasir's mother wasn't human, but a Safin, a magical race of people who have extremely long lifespans, pointed ears, and are very beautiful.
  • Killed Off for Real: A few main characters die by the end of this book: Deen and Benyamin, specifically.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Altair's dad is the Lion.
  • I Have Your Wife: The way Nasir's father keeps him in line is by holding a servant girl he fell in love with hostage. To show that he's serious he cut out her tongue.
  • The Load: Downplayed, but Zafira comes to view herself this way once the main party forms because as a fighter she's the weakest member of the group.
  • The Magic Comes Back: The main goal of the characters. They make great strides towards their goal at the end of the first book, but still need to restore the hearts of the Sisters in order to bring magic back.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Lion spends a long time trying to convince Zafira to work with him in finding the scroll that will grant him control over magic.