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Muharram 1441 / September 2019's Book Club Pick — We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Fofky's Book Club for We Hunt the Flame. On the discussion panel, we have Sanya.MUltimate Fangirl of WHTF, Author Shireen Hakim and Papatia Feauxzar — your host and moderator.

Read a PR about the author and her local book signing here.

To go back to Sanya, she is an ultimate fan because during the Frisco, TX book signing, she had every edition of the book (More than six copies including UK and US editions, blue-rimmed copies, white-rimmed copies, ARCs, Hardbacks, Paperbacks, Double-sided covers, etc.) available ready to be signed. The rest of us fangirls at the book signing were positively awed and shocked! Masha'Allah for her.

Now, let's get to the questions and answers of the book....

1) If you have to ask a question to the authors, what would it be?

SM : Who's your favorite character to write, who's the hardest?

PF : I know that the book was mainly for a mainstream audience. However, are Safins another word for a djinn clan or another unseen creature?

2) With the way book 1 ended with We Hunt the Flame, I (Papatia) feel like Altair will become possessed. What do you think?

SM : I really hope not. Hafsah has said that Altair is getting a POV in book 3, so I hope that means he'll be OK. 

PF : It could still be a POV of a great vilain now, hehe. We will just have to wait and see, sigh *laughs.*

3) Which character do you like most?

SM : I like Nasir, he's so broody and complex, and the most potential for growth, I think.

PF : I like Zafeera because she is an archer and a tomboy. Additionally, she doesn't easily fall for any guy who claims his love to her. She entertains that kind of attention with a clear head and not with rose tainted glasses.

4) What do you think could be improved by each of these authors in these books?

SM : Honestly, I love the book so much that I can't possibly think of any way to improve it. Maybe more shirtless scenes from the boys, haha!

PF : Haha! See, I have always said that women look too, but we're more discrete than most people think. I definitely agree that the writing was sultry and teasing. I would have also wished for more scenes where I had closure in the scenes involving deep attraction between the main characters.

5)What did you like most?

SM : I love the complexities of the characters, and how much room they have to grow and change. The world they inhabit is rife with possibilities, and anything can happen. 

PF : The writing was very poetic and well-thought in my opinion. I really like the expression, "Sweet snow below."

6) What gave you pause?

SM : I'm not sure if there's really anything that gave me pause, I read through the book so fast the only thing that gave me pause was the time on the clock when I finally looked up from the book! 

PF : The fact that Zafeera kept calling the sun a coward, struck me as bold. I try not to curse the stars, the weather, etc. because there are kind of masks of Allah; things that indicate His existence, things via which He acts. In my opinion, perhaps, the sun just didn't want to be seen. I mean, I love to search for the new moon monthly. I remember one hijri month, it was cloudy throughout the whole month and the moon refused to be seen, and I left it at that. We all have days where we don't want to interact with anybody, and that's how I see these occurrences where elementals act out. All this to give my grain of salt, haha!

7) What didn't you like?

SM : Hmm, I guess I didn't like Deen? Mostly because I already liked Nasir so much. I just wanted Deen out of the picture, not because he was necessarily a bad character.

PF : I might sound like nitpicking but it takes very little to ruin things sometimes...Anyway, I didn't like the use of the words "skies," "mutt," "pointedly," and "immortals." "Mutt" is so un-middle-eastern or un-medieval middle-eastern era. In addition, "Mutt" is a 19th century English word. It just sounded off to me in this setting. The Arabic version (Safaitic as it is called in this book) would have worked perfectly. In addition, "Skies" is like the word pointedly. I simply dislike it. Overall, it's a brave book with a brave protagonist. My dislikes are personal preferences, so again, take them as a grain of salt. Finally, French has a great word to refer to things that die and keep coming back or are hard to kill; revenants. I would have preferred the use of a similar word in the book instead of immortals. Every soul will taste death, hehe.

8) What are your other thoughts?

SM : I honestly love this book so much, and I can't wait for the sequel! Hafsah did a wonderful job writing these amazing characters, this detailed world, and rich style. 5 stars for me easily! 

PF : The name of the series is Sands of Arawiya. For that reason, I inferred that the book could be loosely based on Sands of Arabia (a real world.) However, because I couldn't place the Zaramese, Pelusian, Demenhume, and other citizens in the book on the current map of the world even though their trials are things that many countries face in this era to some extent, I felt like the world building didn't completely make sense to me. Maybe I'm looking too hard into it and should take the world given to me as is. Anyway, I will have to re-read the story to make sure I catch what I may have missed.

1) I (Papatia) didn't foresee many things in the story like I normally do with YA books. Did you foresee who The Silver Witch and Altair turn out to be?

SH: Yes, actually with this book I had an intuition on all the relationships. For some reason, the Silver Witch is my favorite character. 

2) With the way the book 1 ended, I have this strong feeling that Altair might turn out possessed in book 2 because of the intentions of the Lion of the Night. What are your thoughts on this?

SH: I'm also worried about Altair's fate in Book 2. He's been discarded his whole life, this may be his time to explore his darker side of his family. But he'll probably eventually use the relationship to help Nasir. He likes him a lot.

PF : I hope so!

3) Finally, what did you think of the world building? Were you able place the characters in our parallel world? For instance, where you able to figure out who a Zaramese or a Pelusian is in our current map of the world?

SH : I thought the allusions to our modern world were clever, that cultural and economic differences have such an effect on how countries treat one another, and how harmful isolation can be. I definitely saw parallels with the messages of class discrimination in The Hunger Games.

PF : The message is there for sure. However, the world building eluded me a bit even though I could place the trials in our parallel world. My main thing was wanting to know for instance if Kifah was Kenyan, Somalian, Sudanese or Ethiopan, etc. During the book signing I attended, Hafsah said that she is Egyptian.

And that's a wrap. Thank you everyone and let's keep in touch insha'Allah!

Fofky's rates We Hunt the Flame aka WHTF 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ .

Dear readers, Safar 1441 AH / October 2019's Book Club Pick is

Unlikely Friends by Sahar AbdulAziz.

If you read it :

1. What did you like most?

2. What gave you pause?

3. What didn't you like?

4. What are your other thoughts?

5. What question (s) do you have for the author?

6. What questions about the book do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?

We look forward to hearing from you.



Books, Teas & Coffees

Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. Aaamen.


The Fofky's Book Club

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