May 1, 2019

Mini-reviews: We Hunt the Flame + Symptoms of a Heart Break

pub 5/14/19 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from publisher
First, I want to thank We Hunt the Flame for pulling me out of my fantasy slump. And two, I want to commend Hafsah Faizal for writing a unique, fascinating tale that truly stands out amongst all the YA fantasy we're swimming in. We Hunt the Flame is a debut novel about two legends in the kingdom of Arawiya, who are about to show everyone who they really are. Zafira is known as the Hunter, disguising herself as a man to enter the cursed Arz forest in order to feed her people, while Nasir is the infamous Prince of Death, a loyal assassin to his father, the king. Both would be punished if the former revealed she was a girl and the later revealed his true penchant for compassion. They both embark on a quest that forces them on the same path, albeit for very different seasons. She's going to uncover a lost artifact that will return magic to their world and stop the Arz from spreading but Nasir was sent by the king to stop by her any means necessary and retrieve the artifact for himself. I was already intrigued by the story but once they were on the quest together, let's just say things get even more interesting. But what I loved the most about We Hunt the Flame was actually the world itself. Even though there are classic fantasy elements that are easily recognizable, it felt fresh because of the inspiration Faizal drew on from ancient Arabia. The way it's incorporated through characters, prose and vivid descriptions was nothing short of magical. I was completely invested in the epic quest and all those involved, especially Zafira and Nasir. And it should come as no surprise that I'm 100% here for book 2, which can't come soon enough.

Do I recommend? I do! This such a strong debut from Faizal and one of the best YA fantasy novels I've read so far this year.


pub 5/21/19 by Imprint
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from publisher
Symptoms of a Heartbreak is Sona Charaipotra's debut solo novel (she previously co-wrote the Tiny Pretty Things duology) and I hope she continues on this path! While it didn't become a new favorite, it certainly was likable and her writing engaging. She was able to put me into the shoes of someone whose life is completely different from mine and what a life does Saira lead. She's a sixteen-year-old medical prodigy, newly graduated from med school (!) and about to start her new job in children's oncology (!!). Even the mere idea of being that young and working in a hospital blew my mind. She faces obstacles such as proving herself to colleagues much older than her, working at the same hospital as her mom and dealing with the reality of life-and-death situations. Everyone around her struggles with her "Girl Genius" status and even as a reader, I found myself taken aback by this young girl taking charge with her medical know-how. A huge part of me wanted to reach into the book and tell her to enjoy being young and high school and going out with friends. But at the same time, I respected that she knew exactly what she wanted and went for it. Still, it's not black and white and we do see her struggle with balancing family, friendships and "normal" life with her professional one. Especially when she meets a cute patient and starts for falling for him. I have to admit, it felt a bit insta-lovey but at the same time there was something sweet about how their relationship progressed and the effect it had on each of them.

Do I recommend? As I said, it's a likable easy read with an interesting story so if you are interested, I'd recommend borrowing it from the library.

1 comment

  1. We Hunt the Flame was such a pleasant surprise! I'm truly glad I ended up enjoying that one so much, and I'm still looking forward to reading the sequel (especially after the way it ends).

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