This review is spoiler free.
“We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.”
Series: Sands of Arawiya
Published: 2019, by Macmillan Children’s Books.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Contains: Blood/Gore, Death, Violence, Anger
‘We Hunt the Flame’ follows the story of Zafira, a hunter forced to disguise as a man as she braves the cursed forest to feed her people. When Zafira embarks on a quest to restore magic to her suffering world, her life is at stake, while being at the hands of Nadir, the infamous Prince of Death.
This book had so much potential, I’d heard so many positive reviews at Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) and was so excited when I managed to pull this title from my TBR Jar. However, the reality was kind of a huge let down.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get very far into the novel before I felt as if I couldn’t read on, but I’d managed a good two-hundred pages before giving up. The plot moved incredibly slowly, which didn’t help with my already questions on whether this was a worthwhile read. Within the two-hundred pages that I’d read, very little had happened meaning that for a debut novel, I knew this book could have been incredibly smaller than it actually is. Three-hundred pages at most might have possibly worked better.
The characters themselves lacked chemistry with each other, seeing to all be the lone wolf types, apart from Zafira and her friend, Yasmine. However, their lives took different routes very early on in the story, leaving readers with a protagonist who didn’t really gel with anyone else.
Nadir was a similar character, who was one of the only characters that seemed to hold any interest to me. He was the Draco Malfoy of the world, sent on antagonistic errands set by his father, but I didn’t really get around to reading much of him as the novel rotated between him and Zafira every few pages with very little plot progression.
One of the main problems I had with this book was the writing. Beautiful, yes, but overdone at times. It was incredibly fluffy, delving into the world with lengths upon lengths of description, but without much substance. It was too much, leaving me to get very bored very early one. Sometimes, I feel as if the simpler the writing the better it works, which in this case is possibly true.
The world building is extremely weak, seeming to delve more into the sugarcoated language without giving enough structure. In all honesty, I didn’t understand much of what was going on in the novel or how this world worked.
Overall, I didn’t particularly enjoy this read. I had high expectations, YA fantasy needing more diverse works, but this book just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t bring myself to read on.