“Maybe the tiny lions were merely ornaments, a display of pride for the victory over a man who defied men, only to be slain by women.”
― Hafsah Faizal, We Hunt the Flame
Ah, where to begin? This novel is on the nominee list for the YA Speculative Fiction Cybils Awards, and that is how I found it. Who will love this book? Teens who have an affinity for beautiful language, mixed with an adventure story reminiscent of Mulan, but in an Arabian Nights setting. I just got lost in the word choices. I keep a copybook full of phrases that I want to remember from books, and I filled an entire page with quotes from this story.
We Hunt the Flame follows Zafira, a hunter. Zafira is inexplicably the only hunter in the forest, and no one knows that she is a woman. Eventually, Zafira sets out on her most crucial hunt yet; to discover an ancient artifact that will restore the magic to her kingdom as it was once before. The assassin Nasir ( ominously named-the Prince of Death) is ordered to assassinate everyone who gets in the way of his father, who is the leader of Arawiya. When Nasir is told by his father to kill the hunter and retrieve the same artifact, the two characters intersect, and things get tricky in this imaginative ancient kingdom.
So much of this book reads like a long-form poem. That plus the atmosphere, and girl power made me love it.