Book Review: Sands of Arawiya Duology

Genre: YA Fantasy Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal have been on my TBR for a long time (probably since their release dates)! I finally got around to reading them in December, and they were pretty great!

I will preface my review by saying that, if you don’t enjoy slow paced books, then these books probably aren’t for you. While I enjoyed the story, I found myself having to push through at some points. However, if you’re looking for an interesting plot and complex characters, I highly recommend this duology!

Basically, We Hunt the Flame starts off with Zafira, the hunter, who risks the Arz woods to keep her village fed. She is the only person who has gone into the Arz and returned alive and sane. When the mysterious silver witch offers her a way to bring magic back to Arawiya, Zafira cannot resist. On the other hand, the Sultan’s son, Nasir, aka The Prince of Death, is sent on the same mission, but for the purpose of forever ridding the world of magic.

First of all, Faizal did exceptionally well with writing a compelling plot across both books. I find that a lot of duologies have somewhat of an identity crisis and oftentimes lose sight of the plot, or simply have boring plots. That was not the case with either of these books. The ending of We Hunt the Flame was both satisfying, and also paved the way for the events in We Free the Stars. Honestly, I have nothing negative to say about the storyline!

Additionally, I really enjoyed the characters! Faizal calls them a zumra, which means squad or gang in Arabic, and that was honestly a perfect description. These books certainly fit the found family trope that so many of us booklovers crave!

I wouldn’t necessarily say that the characters were likeable, in a sense that they had likeable personality traits, but they were likeable in their authenticity and general mannerisms. Zafira is a bit grouchy, but carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. I loved the way her character is initially juxtaposed to Nasir’s character in the first book, and then the second book focuses on their similarities.

Likewise, when I first picked up We Hunt the Flame, I was not sure how I was going to root for a character like Nasir, who was portrayed as ruthless and heartless, but he certainly grows on you! I also adored most of the supporting characters, especially Kifah and Lana.

Overall, I have to agree with the majority and admit that Hafsah Faizal is an immensely talented author! If you’ve been putting off We Hunt the Flame, do yourself a favor and pick it up now! I can’t wait to see what Faizal has in store for us with her next book, A Tempest of Tea!

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