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We Free the Stars

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The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return. As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made. Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.


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The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return. As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made. Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.

30 review for We Free the Stars

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    my feelings for this concluding installment mirror my feelings for the first book exactly, so this is probably just going to be a copy/paste review. but hey, consistent authors are worth praising. again, the main thing carrying this book is definitely the arabian representation. it gives the story a lush and cultural atmosphere that is much needed in the book world. had you taken that away, would this still be worth 4 stars? maybe. maybe not. the characters are still interesting (nasir definitel my feelings for this concluding installment mirror my feelings for the first book exactly, so this is probably just going to be a copy/paste review. but hey, consistent authors are worth praising. again, the main thing carrying this book is definitely the arabian representation. it gives the story a lush and cultural atmosphere that is much needed in the book world. had you taken that away, would this still be worth 4 stars? maybe. maybe not. the characters are still interesting (nasir definitely grew on me in this) and i think they all get a deserving ending, but i still cant get over how much introspection/narrative there is. also, the pacing is still super slow and the length is so long. so if you dont mind a slow burn, plot-wise, then this might be your thing. but overall, its the magical and traditional feel of the story that makes it worth reading. in short, this is just more of the same from the first book - two equal halves making up a whole story. so if you enjoyed ‘we hunt the flame,’ then i have no doubt you will love this fitting ending. and if you havent read it, then i definitely recommend it for the exotic arabian experience. ↠ 3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cait (Caitsbooks)

    Thinking of reading the first book, We Hunt the Flame? Check out my review here! Quick Stats: Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: I am broken. This book has destroyed me. But in the best possible way. // Content Warning: Violence, Death, Child Abuse, War Themes, Murder // Release Date: 1/19/2021 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Page Count: 592 pages Premise: We Free the Stars is the sequel to We Hunt the Flame, fo Thinking of reading the first book, We Hunt the Flame? Check out my review here! Quick Stats: Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: I am broken. This book has destroyed me. But in the best possible way. // Content Warning: Violence, Death, Child Abuse, War Themes, Murder // Release Date: 1/19/2021 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Page Count: 592 pages Premise: We Free the Stars is the sequel to We Hunt the Flame, following the zumra after as they continue on their quest to return magic to Arawiya. - Initial Thoughts - I am a husk of a human being. I don’t know how to move on after finishing this book. (actually, I do know how to move on: read the book again... which I might have done) We Hunt the Flame is one of my all-time favorite books. We Free the Stars had a lot to live up to, but I knew I would end up loving it. I did not expect how much. This book somehow managed to surpass all of my exceedingly high expectations and leave me an absolute mess. - Writing & Setting - We all already know that Hafsah Faizal’s writing is gorgeous. This is news to no one. But let me just say it again: the writing in this book is stunning, the prose is elegant without losing a sense of humor, and the setting is fascinating. We got to know Arawiya a little bit in the first book, but We Free the Stars shows us more of this world and made me never want to leave. - Plot - This book continues on the quest to restore magic and save Arawiya from the danger that was unleashed at the end of We Hunt the Flame (I’m trying to be vague here for anyone who hasn’t read the first one yet). Where it took me a minute to get into the first book, I was immediately hooked in We Free the Stars. There was something constantly happening or about to happen. There was also a decent amount of action in this book, which is always fun, while still having time to let the fantastic characters shine. - Characters - Speaking of those fantastic characters: I love the zumra with every fibre of my being. The characters in this book are amazing. You thought you loved them after We Hunt the Flame? Just you wait. We get three POVs in this book: Zafira, Nasir, and Altair. I loved the addition of Altair’s perspective. He became one of my favorite characters in We Hunt the Flame and I was so happy to see more of him in We Free the Stars (even though I was constantly worrying about him). Learning more about him was one of my favorite parts of this book. Nasir and Zafira’s perspectives are equally amazing. They both have gone through a lot in book one and it was great to see them continue to develop and change over the course of this book. We Free the Stars also puts a good amount of focus on the romance that began in We Hunt the Flame and it was just so perfect. I honestly don’t know how to put into words my feelings over that plotline because my thoughts are still an incoherent mess whenever I try to think of it. Outside of our POV characters, we see some familiar faces and some new ones. I loved spending even more time with the characters we already knew from We Hunt the Flame, and I also really enjoyed getting to know all of the new characters. There was not a single flat character in this series and I love it so much. - Conclusion - Pros- Beautiful writing, fantastic characters, swoon-worthy romance, amazing worldbuilding, addictive plot Cons- I don’t know what to do with my life now that this series is over. Also, this book made me cry in the middle of a livestream Overall- 5/5 stars. I could not have imagined a more perfect finale. This book was everything I could have ever wanted it to be. Follow Me Here: Blog ||Tumblr || Bookstagram || Twitter|| Reviews

  3. 4 out of 5

    Azraa F

    ...and the Prince of Death never left a job unfinished. ...and the Prince of Death never left a job unfinished.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rameela (Star)

    Initial Thoughts: Thank you so so much Hafsah for letting me read an early early copy I’m literally so honored and ALSO AN EMOTIONAL MESS 😭 words can’t fully encompass how I feel. But Arawiya will always be a home for me and I will always love the zumra forever and always😭 thank you for this brilliance

  5. 4 out of 5

    rose ★

    what was this??? i am... genuinely in awe. i came into this book expecting to have fun, maybe enjoy it a reasonable amount. what i did not expect was to read what was probably the best finale to a series that i have ever experienced. this was so, so good. everything about it. normally, even if i love a series finale, i have at least a couple regrets, of storylines that i felt were sloppy or characters that lacked closure. not here. i don’t think i have ever finished a series and felt so, so what was this??? i am... genuinely in awe. i came into this book expecting to have fun, maybe enjoy it a reasonable amount. what i did not expect was to read what was probably the best finale to a series that i have ever experienced. this was so, so good. everything about it. normally, even if i love a series finale, i have at least a couple regrets, of storylines that i felt were sloppy or characters that lacked closure. not here. i don’t think i have ever finished a series and felt so, so satisfied. this story, and its ending, wasn’t easy or lighthearted. the ending didn’t get wrapped up in a neat bow, or rely on cheap or trite twists to try and force sudden shock at the end. it was lovely, heartbreaking, and hopeful. it truly felt meaningful. and i can tell it was meant to be meaningful. you can see the heart and soul that hafsah faizal poured into this beauty. you can see her love and her belief and her hope for these characters and their broken world. her belief in what she has written shines through, and it makes the story just all the greater. and, hafsah faizal is a truly, truly talented writer. not only does she pour meaning into these pages, she does it so well. the writing is lyrical and poetic. the plot is perfectly paced and balanced. it’s action packed, but still taking the time to reflect on what is true and what is true and what is important. her characters feel honest and real, relatable to us all in the most heartbreaking ways. the dynamics, friendships, hearts broken and mended again are so impactful and memorable. in the end, i cannot recommend this series enough. we hunt the flame was lovely, but we free the stars stole my breath away. you can see hafsah’s improvement from even the first installment to this one, and i cannot wait to see she has in store. (also, from now on, i don’t care about any romance at all if it’s not whatever it is that zafira and nasir have going on)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mashlovesbooks

    “We’re not falling apart. We hunted the flame on Sharr, set free the stars across the skies, but it was only ever the dawn of our zumra. Now we make sure that light doesn’t go out. Forever. Together.” Ahhh, my heart hurts. We Free the Stars was one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and it did not disappoint. The Sands of Arawiya books are fantasy books based on Arabic folklore and are (thankfully) culturally accurate, written by POC author Hafsah Faizal. I absolutely love Hafsah’s writing, “We’re not falling apart. We hunted the flame on Sharr, set free the stars across the skies, but it was only ever the dawn of our zumra. Now we make sure that light doesn’t go out. Forever. Together.” Ahhh, my heart hurts. We Free the Stars was one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and it did not disappoint. The Sands of Arawiya books are fantasy books based on Arabic folklore and are (thankfully) culturally accurate, written by POC author Hafsah Faizal. I absolutely love Hafsah’s writing, it is emotional and raw and you can feel all the emotions pouring out of it with every single page. I read We hunt the flame, around this time, last year. I fell in love with the writing style and the descriptions in the book and this second instalment is even better. Through this book, we followed Altair, Zafira and Nasir. Personally, I enjoyed Nasir's chapters the most because he is very honest and raw and it’s fascinating to see the thoughts of someone who is normally quiet and hidden beneath cold masks (also because he’s a simp, but we’ll get to that later!). I liked that she included Altair’s perspective because it gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the antagonist. It's a slightly long book but the multiple perspectives always kept me engaged. That's pretty much all I have to say about the writing, it was enjoyable and realistic. “You needn’t fear the darkness when you could become it.” Now for the plot. I had planned to read We Hunt The Flame before I got my hands on a copy of We Free the Stars, but I managed to get it much earlier than I anticipated so I decided to call off the We Hunt the Flame reread. I thought it would lead to confusion because I had forgotten smaller details of the plot but, it did not pose any major issues because the plot from this book is only slightly related to the last one. This plot has many different aspects and for some, it may be hard to follow along with, but personally, I loved all the intrigue. The world building in this book is great. I would explain it, but that would probably reveal some spoilers. All I’m going to say is that the development is great and despite only having two books, it has a very deep and intricately woven world. And now it’s time for my favourite part…. The Characters! I am in love with the characters from this book, they're just so effortlessly amazing. All the characters are very morally grey but that does not change how much I like them. I’m going to keep this short because I'll probably end up screaming, crying and frustratingly pulling out my own hair. Zafira Ohh I love Zafira soo much. Sometimes I feel like when authors write “strong female characters”, they’re always “small and skinny” because apparently that makes them more interesting?? I don't understand it but anyway, that is NOT the case with Zafira. Zafira has always been taller and “broader” than other women her age, and they made sure she knew it. Instead of letting their insults get to her, she uses her strength and abilities to her advantage. She is an excellent hunter and she has great control over her magic. Like all good characters, she also struggles with a lot. I’m not going to say how, but all I'm going to say is that it really is heartbreaking. Zafira is caring and kind but the walls around her heart are very, very high, especially for one specific person. “She was the bladed compass, honed by the Lion and wielded by the Jawarat. She was ruin, she was havoc, and she reveled in it.” Nasir Oh my god, where can I find myself a Nasir? I swear to god everyone, add him to your (long) list of book boyfriends, ahhh “swoon” I love him so much. He is a really strong character, physically however, he struggles a little with his mentality. Despite being a prince, he had a really bad childhood. Everyone who loved him used ima dn ordered him around and he had always wanted his fathers pride even (though his father was annoying as hell). He was an assassin for a long time, merely a tool to his father. After the events of the first book however, we can see Nasir changing overtime. He definitely gets softer and learns to love and it’s a beautiful transition. “And it was because of this loneliness that he knew with sudden awareness that he was not alone.” The last thing I’m going to talk about is the relationship between Zafira and Nasir. The development is definitely slow and very torturous but the end result is beautiful and worth all the tears. I feel like they might become my OTP soon enough because they’re just so perfect. Now I need to go make some FanArt. I leave you with this beautiful quote; “If I hurt her, I will bring every weapon at my disposal and lay them at your feet for you to do to me what you will. If I hurt her, I will no sooner carve out my own heart than dare draw breath again.” - Nasir I almost fainted. Hafsah, where do I find someone like this? Please, I NEED to know. Anyway, that’s my review! I hope you enjoyed reading this mess of emotions, I just felt a lot of different things. I recommend this book to everyone that read the first book and enjoyed it. I recommend this series to fans of fantasy (with enemies to lovers) that has some really good world building. **Disclaimer** This is all personal opinion and is in no way intended to harass or offend anyone, if I do, I sincerely apologize (also let me know so I can fix the offensive content, thank you) Blog Pinterest

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    We Hunt The Flame (#1) ★★★★★ September 03, 2020: After loving the first book so much, you can't expect me to NOT BE BEGGING TO READ THIS EARLY so everyone, please pray for me because I want to read it now,,, We Hunt The Flame (#1) ★★★★★ September 03, 2020: After loving the first book so much, you can't expect me to NOT BE BEGGING TO READ THIS EARLY so everyone, please pray for me because I want to read it now,,,

  8. 5 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    My heart is happy and sad all at once! These emotions! 😭❤

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shawna (SugoiShawn/SugoiReads)

    Though I didn't enjoy We Free the Stars as much as the first book, I did still rather enjoy this one. I'm so grateful that for once in my life a series has been completed without killing off my favorite character. I was literally so worried my favorite would be killed, but he's safe and I'm so relieved. To start off my review, I need to repeat something from my review of We Hunt the Flame, this book and this series desperately needed a terminology guide in the physical book itself. I know that th Though I didn't enjoy We Free the Stars as much as the first book, I did still rather enjoy this one. I'm so grateful that for once in my life a series has been completed without killing off my favorite character. I was literally so worried my favorite would be killed, but he's safe and I'm so relieved. To start off my review, I need to repeat something from my review of We Hunt the Flame, this book and this series desperately needed a terminology guide in the physical book itself. I know that there's one online, but it's a hassle to have to use my phone while reading a physical book. An author needs to know their audience and if their audience is a group that won't know most of the terms in the book, a terminology guide is a necessity. A lot of my time reading this book was just filled with me skimming over terms or trying to figure out the terms and being utterly confused. Also, a note to anyone who is planning on reading this book: either reread We Hunt the Flame before reading this one or read this one directly after reading We Hunt the Flame for the first time. With the terms used in the series and the complex world building, it will be fairly difficult to read We Free the Stars if you read it a while after you read the first book. The two major things that made me enjoy this book were the characters and the descriptions. Almost all of the characters are extremely lovable and they're all really complex. There is no boring or uninteresting character. Each character aides in the story and has a personality that is unlike all the other characters. The descriptions were beautiful. From reading even one page of this book, you can picture the world perfectly. I hope that Netflix adapts this series into a show some day because even though it will have slow parts, the cinematography would be jaw dropping and beautiful. My two biggest issues with this book were that the POVs slightly changed and Zafira's character arc unraveled in a frustrating way. The POVs in this book weren't in first person and were instead in third person limited. This change was unnecessary and it made me connect to the story less. Also, what's the point of adding in a third POV but barely giving that third POV many chapters? It just annoyed me to no end that my favorite character got a POV but that he only got a few chapters in this nearly 600 page long book. And Zafira's story arc... wow. It's not the worst thing I've ever read, but it didn't live up to my hopes. It was like Rey's story arc in Rise of the Skywalker. It wasn't extremely bad, but you'd hoped for something different. Overall though this book was a mostly enjoyable read to me even though it had many flaws. I am extremely attached to these characters and I'd love a novella added to this series at some point. Maybe a fast paced battle with Altair or a romantic scene with Zafira and Nasir? Definitely read the first book if the synopsis is interesting to you, but whether you read the second book or not is completely up to you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chaya

    It was easy to believe that anyone who did not speak of suffering did not suffer. I think I need days to process it. But then also I won't be able to do justice to this book. The beginning was very sad. I was just waiting for the sun to hide behind clouds and it would have been officially a very sad, grey day. I would have sat by window and looked out, trying to channel inner disney princess but failing(because I have the grace of a frog). But wait. THE BOOK IS WORTH IT. Every ounce of sadness It was easy to believe that anyone who did not speak of suffering did not suffer. I think I need days to process it. But then also I won't be able to do justice to this book. The beginning was very sad. I was just waiting for the sun to hide behind clouds and it would have been officially a very sad, grey day. I would have sat by window and looked out, trying to channel inner disney princess but failing(because I have the grace of a frog). But wait. THE BOOK IS WORTH IT. Every ounce of sadness is justified. Without wasting any more time, I am going to talk about the romance in the book. It is extremely slowburn. I wanted to claw my eyes out with irritation. “Your turn. What color do you like most?” “You,” he said, so softly it was only sound. The intensity of his gaze stole the air from her lungs. She shook her head. “That—” “Every color that makes you.” Do you see what I mean. JUST KISS FOR LOVE'S SAKE They both were dancing, coming close and going away and I was yelling 'Go to your girl you daama idiot' I felt like a thirsty person roaming a desert. Living just by dregs of romance. At one point, I was ready to name my first born Sharr if they kissed. And just because I want to frustrate you, here are 2 more. The breeze toyed with her hair, and he wanted to tuck the wayward strands behind her ear. His fingers closed into a fist. “It feels as if I haven’t breathed since you fell,” he said finally. Now we proceed to second most important thing, SARCASM It was plentiful. I have no complains in that department. Here are some for your entertainment “You are to wear an abaya!” the shorter one said, her eyes streaked with kohl. The other nodded enthusiastically. The curtains stirred, the near-evening breeze joining the excitement. “Am I?” Zafira asked dryly. “I was afraid I’d have to go naked.” Go Zafira. Kifah cast him a sidelong glance. “Did you just put me in a position above yours? You do know a qa’id commands a general, yes?” Altair grinned, and Kifah groaned before he even opened his mouth. “I have no qualms about putting women above me.” Altair and his double edged saying. I missed him. He crouched. “If you tell me, little one, I’ll ask the kitchens for an extra piece of kanafah just for you.” She lifted an eyebrow at him. “I’m fourteen, and I can weave a needle through your remaining eyelid.” Do you still think I look dashing?” Nasir tamped down a smile when Kifah gave Altair a look. “I never thought you looked dashing.” “He’s the crown prince.” Lana sniffed, offended on behalf of a fool she didn’t even know. “Crown prince my—” Every emotion in the book was very overdramatically portrayed. We say sadness but the book says 'another shovel digging in already hollow heart'. You have to give it to author she has way with words. If you still have any doubts left that I liked this book, I would say that I feel lucky to be part of this zumra. Forever and Always. “We’re a zumra. We hunted the flame together, found the light in the darkness, but we were far from done, laa? Now we unleash it. We free the stars, shatter the darkness holding us captive, and return the world to the splendor it once was.” My heart has survived it is a surprise. You can never stop midway in this book. I had my heart in throat whole time And just beacause I love to torture, here is last one. “Please,” he whispered and begged. His compass. His queen. His life. “Don’t go.” I still can't believe this is over.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mariam ☀️

    ”Habibti. Hayati. Roohi.” “Why do you cry?” “Because my heart cannot contain it.” an insanely well-executed sequel and conclusion to this fantasy duology. i’ve held this story so close to my heart for almost 2 years now, and I can confirm that I will continue to do so until the end of time. this book zigged when I expected it to zag, and subverted all expectations I had on the direction it was going to go. the ending was absolutely perfect and I will be in the publisher’s DMs until they confirm ”Habibti. Hayati. Roohi.” “Why do you cry?” “Because my heart cannot contain it.” an insanely well-executed sequel and conclusion to this fantasy duology. i’ve held this story so close to my heart for almost 2 years now, and I can confirm that I will continue to do so until the end of time. this book zigged when I expected it to zag, and subverted all expectations I had on the direction it was going to go. the ending was absolutely perfect and I will be in the publisher’s DMs until they confirm a spin-off series... there’s SO much more to explore in the world of Arawiya and I hope we get to see more someday. also.... yeah zafira and nasir deserve their flowers for being one of the BEST YA fantasy couples and I will not shut up about that ever

  13. 5 out of 5

    Althea | themoonwholistens ☾

    whoever designs these covers deserve a raise

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Elaina

    That cover and colour scheme though! 😍

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sophie_The_Jedi_Knight

    11/19/19: I. CANNOT. WAIT. After that ending! All those reveals! That cliffhanger! I'm going into a coma, wake me up in 2020. 11/19/19: I. CANNOT. WAIT. After that ending! All those reveals! That cliffhanger! I'm going into a coma, wake me up in 2020.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sanya

    I've been holding in my feelings on this book since May, and now that I'm finally allowed to share, I don't know how to explain how perfect this book is. We Free the Stars conveys a complexity of emotions I can scarcely put into words. People live and die, betray and save each other, close themselves off and open themselves up. It's not so much what happens, as it is how does each character react to it, and why. When We Hunt the Flame ended, we were left with many questions, lots of pain, and the I've been holding in my feelings on this book since May, and now that I'm finally allowed to share, I don't know how to explain how perfect this book is. We Free the Stars conveys a complexity of emotions I can scarcely put into words. People live and die, betray and save each other, close themselves off and open themselves up. It's not so much what happens, as it is how does each character react to it, and why. When We Hunt the Flame ended, we were left with many questions, lots of pain, and the smallest seedlings of hope. The story Hafsah weaves in this sequel addresses all of it, and she does it well. Everyone wants to know who will live and die, which character gets a happy ending, which doesn't. It's not for me to say how all of that turns out, but I can say each and every single character gets the ending they deserve. Each decision Hafsah made in telling this tale is perfectly in line with the character's identities and story arc. To say she does this story justice would be putting it mildly. If you had any (valid) complaints or concerns about We Hunt the Flame, know that this book has none of those flaws. WHTF was Hafsah's debut, and the writing reflected room for growth, as all debuts do. But the growth in Hafsah's writing is immediately obvious in We Free the Stars. You can easily tell she's working on her craft and constantly pushing herself to write the best book, instead of settling on 'good enough' to get something written. The writing, pacing, and mechanics are all well developed in this sequel. Not to mention, her use of symbolism is so on point, I want her to win awards for that alone. But, what really drew me into this book was not the writing style. While lovely, it's Hafsah's dedication to these characters and giving them a story that's true to themselves that made me love this book with all my heart. It's the way she showcases their relationships, and how important they are to each other, and the lengths they'll go to prove it. The emotions they feel are so real and raw, it's very easy to forget it's fiction, because of how powerful you as a reader feel as a result. Don't even get me started on how well she writes grief and guilt. Yes, there are time this book will make you laugh (how could you not, with Altair around?), but you'll also have cried at least once by the end of this book, and you're gonna be yelling throughout. This is a 'close the book mid page and stare at a wall, while contemplating throwing it across the room' kinda book. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I can't imagine any fan of We Hunt the Flame reading this book and being disappointed. It really is just that good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bright Star

    “We free the stars, shatter the darkness holding us captive, and return the world to the splendor it once was.” I should write a review. I should write a comment. I should write... something. But I can't find the words to describe how much I loved this book. I finished We Free the Stars two days ago but my mind is still there, in Arawiya, with the zumra. It's hard to say goodbye because I've loved this world and these characters from the very first page. I've laughed, suffered, rejoiced with them “We free the stars, shatter the darkness holding us captive, and return the world to the splendor it once was.” I should write a review. I should write a comment. I should write... something. But I can't find the words to describe how much I loved this book. I finished We Free the Stars two days ago but my mind is still there, in Arawiya, with the zumra. It's hard to say goodbye because I've loved this world and these characters from the very first page. I've laughed, suffered, rejoiced with them and now that the story has come to an end... I feel sad, empty. Because I don't want to leave them. But I have to. And feeling this way is the proof of how UTTERLY beautiful this book was. It had everything I hoped for: characters' development, strong and detailed worldbuilding, lyrical writing style, family bonds, friendship and love. I couldn't have asked for more. Thank you Hafsah for this duology. I will never forget it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kalena W

    4.5/5 stars, everyone got such a good ending One thing I can for sure say about Hafsah Faizel is that her writing, and how she creates a story, is consistent. She can be counted on to bring in similar elements of what was good in the first book into this one, and write the plot similar to the first one. If you enjoyed We Hunt the Flame I think you will greatly enjoy the sequel, it's quite reflective of the first one. I really liked experiencing this story, after the cliffhanger of the last book t 4.5/5 stars, everyone got such a good ending One thing I can for sure say about Hafsah Faizel is that her writing, and how she creates a story, is consistent. She can be counted on to bring in similar elements of what was good in the first book into this one, and write the plot similar to the first one. If you enjoyed We Hunt the Flame I think you will greatly enjoy the sequel, it's quite reflective of the first one. I really liked experiencing this story, after the cliffhanger of the last book this picks up right up. But I feel like it was a bit long, even if I really enjoyed seeing how everything played out. In the end as well, I feel it was wrapped up a little bit too well. On the plus side, the character's storylines were all wrapped up SUPER nicely better than a lot of stories. This story truly felt meaningful, especially because of all the quotes I found in this that made me emotional. As well, the prose is simply beautiful, for the setting and characters, and I will never complain about it. Zafira was just as amazing in this book as in the last book. She went through some character growth in this book as well, after the last one she felt like she had no purpose. And after what influenced her in this book turned against her, she really started taking things into her own hands. She always has in a sense, taken things into her own hands, when she was the hunter. She always fought to have a place in this world where women were not given opportunities. It is really great to see. She veered more towards morally-gray in this book but stayed pure-of-heart according to the book (and me lol). Her story you really can't just read someone explain it, you have to read it to understand and she is an amazing character. Nasir is still my favorite, he acts like he's all tough and dark but in reality, he doesn't know how to talk to ANYONE in this book, and it's funny. His internal struggle in this book is very much about who is, and who he wants to become. He tries to move past all the damage he has done before, but it seems to follow him like a shadow (or death). But all of his actions in this book are done for others, for the good of the land and people. He lost a lot in this book but he also gained a lot, his ending was wonderful and really what he deserves. Altair was a character I honestly wasn't expecting to see a lot of in this book, but here we are! I'm not complaining at all either. He is literally sun-incarnate in this book and he went through too much, but he never lost hope or his positive attitude. I truly enjoyed seeing him with Nasir again, and the others because they weren't the same without him. His character arc was not as obvious as the mains Nasir and Zafira, but if you paid close attention then you would have caught it. He got the ending he truly deserved too and I am proud of him. Kifah was just fine, I appreciated her fighting spirit in this book as we got to spend more time with her. As a whole though, I didn't feel she went through any amazing or large character arc, but I still enjoyed seeing her there. She was a good companion for all of them, lending support to Zafira, giving advice to Nasir, and trading jokes with Altair. They truly are the best group and could not have done it without her. The Lion & The King, first off the lion gave me darkling vibes in this book with how he acted towards Zafira. Of course, she never did anything back, but the way it was playing out I saw it. As well, we learned more about his past in this book and it explains how he got to be the way he is. Of course, it explains it but doesn't justify it, or as the book says two wrongs don't make a right. The King didn't feel like anything special to me, I know he was the father to Nasir and had importance there, but honestly just really don't like how his story played out. Luckily, this wasn't his book. The romance between Zafira and Nasir is really everything I want and such amazing enemies to lovers, one of the best. At times, I feel they might have fallen too far into the will they - won't they trope, but on the basis, I understand what it was intended to be. But most of their interactions had me smiling, even with that ^ trope coming into play they supported one another like no other. They did lots for each other and tried their best to keep one another grounded, to give each other a sense of meaning in life. I really love them and I think their ending was good, although I would have liked to see it play out a little more. Overall, a super great end to the series, and Hafsah is a very consistent writer so if you liked the first one, I recommend reading this too. It is super thick and some chapters may not feel important, but to me, each and every one of them played into this being an amazing story. Because there were SO many quotes I found to be marvelous and wrote down, I'm going to include them below. So SPOILERS if you haven't read We Hunt the Flame or We Free the Stars yet! SPOILERS: •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• "Darkness surged in his veins" (3) vs "Power bled from her bones" (8) "The world thieves childhoods" (11) "Death commands the tremor in the living. Live as if you are death himself. Command him as if you are his master. Depend on no one, for even your shadow will forsake you in your darkest hour" (32) "What color do you like most?' 'Every color that makes you" (103) "My girl will wield weapons, and she will wield them well, for it takes a special kind of courage to hold power and know when not to use it" (108) "You're like a room full of books. Every time I see you, I discover something new." (111) "Tear me open azizi. Slit my throat and see if the blood I bleed is black or red" (117) "It was easy to believe that anyone who did not speak of suffering did not suffer" (161) "Smile fair one' 'Anything else while I'm in a good mood? Should I sing prettily while I slit your throat?" (169) "Do I not understand you as well? Am I yours azizi?' Yes, she thought. He was hers. Her companion, her succor, her prey. He was hers to end. Hers to kill" (226) "Emotions don't define us, it's what you do with them that's important" (259) "Being the Prince of Death was akin to being the sun he supposed. Hard to look at, but, did everyone want to look" (292) "The world has no right sitting on your shoulders, yet you've given it more than you will ever owe" (355) "For he would forever be a slave to that which he didn't know" (374) "There were men who deserved forgiveness and a second chance, and others who deserved only to suffer for what they'd done" (392) "No he did not love her. The word for what he felt for Zafira bint Iskandar did not yet exist" (401) "When she was near him, the very rhythm of the world became something else. A wild, terrifying, incomprehensible thing" (472) "Hope was the beast that could never be slain, the light that blazed in every harrowing dark" (516)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I am going to choose to DNF this book at 30%. Firstly, I did not realize that this book was close to 600 pages, and I am not enjoying the story enough to invest so much time in reading such a long book. Additionally, I received a copy from Net Galley and have been having a lot of eye strain from this digital book. I think that might also be contributing to my lack of enjoyment. Unfortunately, I am just not that captivated by the world or characters to continue on with the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chocolate

    Wow! So much better than the first book. This is the true difference between an author’s debut and their second book. I felt myself actually caring about the characters and the book didn’t drag.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Allie Macedo

    Edit: *I was able to read a newer draft of WFTS. All views are my own. AND I STAND BY WHAT I SAID-THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ. **I was able to read a very early draft of WFTS. All views belong to me** The only thing you need to know is that I cried. And that I have ZERO regrets about crying. AND that this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shehzeen Muzaffar

    AHHHH! I LOVE THE TITLEEEEEEEEE - I AM FIRST

  23. 4 out of 5

    SincerelyTahiry

    The Iqra Trials Book for February: We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal- 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 *I was persuaded to up my rating to 4.75 because there was SOME smut in the book SO I GUESS* To be VERY MF CLEAR this is a 4.5 star because as much as I LOVEDDDDDDD this book, ion like how Miss Faizal was toying with us with the whole Zafira and Nasir thing just to leave us hanging. It’s just cruel 😭😭 *im VERY butt heart because there wasn’t any smut but anywayyyy* YALLLLL. IM OBSESSED!! If you had a hard time getting t The Iqra Trials Book for February: We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal- 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 *I was persuaded to up my rating to 4.75 because there was SOME smut in the book SO I GUESS* To be VERY MF CLEAR this is a 4.5 star because as much as I LOVEDDDDDDD this book, ion like how Miss Faizal was toying with us with the whole Zafira and Nasir thing just to leave us hanging. It’s just cruel 😭😭 *im VERY butt heart because there wasn’t any smut but anywayyyy* YALLLLL. IM OBSESSED!! If you had a hard time getting through WHTF like I did, PLEASE PUSH THROUGH. I knew from the last 3 chapters of the first book that WFTS was gonna slap and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. It was EXTREMELY LONG (115 chapters) which was a tad bit unnecessary but BABYYYY this book gave me everything the first did not. We got so much deeper with EVERYONE!! Zafira and Nasir’s relationship was THE PERFECT amount of slow burn. It literally had me swooning and I loved seeing Nasir’s character growth. He we t from broody and depressing to A WHOLE ZADDYYY. We even got chapters in Altair’s POV which I was so happy about. Altair is really my baby. Also LANA WAS SUCH A GREAT ADDITION TO THE STORY. I’m happy the author gave her a REAL character arc. Her and Zafiras bond made me realize how much I love seeing siblings in books. Being that the first book was only a 3 star I was worried that it was gonna be a flop but Alhamdulillah it EXCEEDED my expectations. I expect nothing less from a book released on my birthday 💅🏾 (I’ll be doing a liveshow on my YT channel Friday 3/4 @5pm EST if you wanna hear me simp in person or you can catch the playback) I’m so happy that these first 2 books for the Iqra Trials are turning out amazing. For those who don’t know; The Iqra Trials is my Bookclub where we read a book by a Muslim author each month. Stay tuned for my reading Vlog for WFTS which will be linked on my profile.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    Faizal clearly put effort into this book, yet I vehemently disliked many aspects of it. Hereunder is everything wrong with this book: THE SEXISM: I found this book to be incredibly sexist. I don't care what political affiliation a person has, or where they put themselves on the religious spectrum, or the feminism spectrum, or whatever spectrum you have out there. If you cannot abuse and put down females, you should also not be able to abuse and put down males. You say you have a strong female char Faizal clearly put effort into this book, yet I vehemently disliked many aspects of it. Hereunder is everything wrong with this book: THE SEXISM: I found this book to be incredibly sexist. I don't care what political affiliation a person has, or where they put themselves on the religious spectrum, or the feminism spectrum, or whatever spectrum you have out there. If you cannot abuse and put down females, you should also not be able to abuse and put down males. You say you have a strong female character, but can you ever really be strong if you are UNKIND? Here are some ridiculous examples: “Men are like fish,” Kifah said, the break in her voice giving away her unease. “Shiny, and of little brain?” Zafira replied. “Men,” Kifah said, snorting a laugh. Now let me just replace that with the word 'women', and let's see how it sounds: “Women are like fish,” Kifah said, the break in her voice giving away her unease. “Shiny, and of little brain?” Zafira replied. “Women,” Kifah said, snorting a laugh. You may have your opinions, but don't fight me on this - injustice, unkindness, and sexism can exist both from men and women and it is NEVER right, WHATEVER the norm of the times. Once upon a time, men thought it was okay to speak about women like this. Now as a woman, you think it's okay to do the same? Being a woman doesn't give you the license to degrade anyone - whether fellow woman (like me), or a man. What's ironic is that there is a line in the book that goes along the lines of - 'Two wrongs don't make a right.' THE PROSE: For the most part, I find Faizal's writing style too flowery and introspective. Her description makes things clumsy and bogged down in detail where there is no need - as many have commented, this book is far longer than it need be. However, when she gets it right however the results are breathtaking: Darkness surged in his veins. It exhaled wisps from his fingers and feathered his every glance. And when he thought too hard too fast, it bled up his arms in streams of black. At another time: He kept every emotion on a tight leash, hidden behind the ashes of his eyes. However, for the most part, the description and speech of the characters are too flowery and, frankly, archaic and fake-sounding. Everyone in the book talks in the same archaic way, for example, Kifah (the 'least' verbose and emotional character) said: “We’re a zumra. We hunted the flame together, found the light in the darkness, but we were far from done, laa? Now we unleash it. We free the stars, shatter the darkness holding us captive, and return the world to the splendor it once was.” This is completely unbelievable coming from this character, and there are multiple examples of this throughout the book. “The world thieves childhoods,” Zafira said, thinking of Baba’s bow in her still-soft hands. Was it really necessary to say 'thieves' instead of 'steals' here? What did it add exactly, if not a brick to the face in how unrealistic it is that someone would actually say this? THE RELIGIOUS APPROPRIATION/RAMPANT CONTRADICTIONS: For some reason, in this book, random buildings have 'minarets', like minarets are some Arab version of a tower block or a clock tower or towers of a medieval fortress. Here is a basic definition of a MINARET on Google: Minaret, (Arabic: “beacon”) in Islamic religious architecture, the tower from which the faithful are called to prayer five times each day by a muezzin, or crier. Such a tower is always connected with a mosque and has one or more balconies or open galleries. Minarets are exclusive to masjids and the Islamic faith. This is the equivalent of sticking a Buddhist vihara in front of a club, or on a government building. Secondly, there is the complete misuse of dinars and dirhams (the currency). A dinar is a coin MADE FROM GOLD. A dirham is coin made from silver. Look here: “Two dinars fifty,” the safi said before Zafira could speak, eyeing her like an urchin come for scraps. Zafira straightened her shoulders and clinked her coins softly, like a fool. Two and a half dinars was far too much. She should have bargained, should have thrown together a ploy as customers were wont to do, but it was Deen who had done all their marketing. “What about the flatbread alone?” “One dinar.” The price of the food above is going to be £50 (for the one dinar) minimum, because the coins are GOLD. We see later on how the currency system/pricing is completely wrong in this book later on, when Nasir has a bounty on his head for 1000 dinars. Let's break this down. According to the author's understanding of ancient Arabian currency: One flatbread today is about £1 (and that's still too much). Therefore one dinar = £1. Nasir's bounty: 1000 dinars = £1000. Looks like they didn't really care about catching him afterall! Overall, the 'Arabian' take of this book was taken straight out of Aladdin, which anyone who has basic understanding of Arab culture will know to be COMPLETELY unlike Arab culture (and many of the elements were taken from India instead). TLDR: the so-called 'Arab' nature of this tale is just hogwash. You don't give people turbans and throw some sand around and call it Arabia. THE INCORRECT ARABIC: "They’re calling you Zhahabi Maliki.” The Golden King. Though there are variations of classical/fusha Arabic, the grammar across the Arabian peninsula is very standard. In Arabic, when you have an adjective and the thing it is describing, the words are flipped. For example, 'beautiful flower' in English would become 'flower beautiful' in Arabic. The above is a literal, English translation which makes no sense in Arabic. Dhahab = gold. Malik = king. The term should be - Malik adh-Dhahab. Now, kudos to you if you want to invent a new language, yet this tale is advertised as Arabian yet it totally misses the mark like this in many places. THE EXCESSIVE SEXUAL INNUENDO FOR A YA: Zafira averted her gaze from the depictions painted across the golden surfaces: men and women unclothed and deeply entwined in various positions. The quote above is one of the more innocent scenes in the book. Every other page is sprinkled with a sexual innuendo, or mention of sexual tension, sexual desire, or sexual expectations. Prostitutes and belly dancers are constantly offering themselves and throwing themselves at the men in this story. The conversations between Altair and Kifah, and Altair and Nasir consist at least 80% of just sexual jokes. I could barely see where the fantasy element of the book even was in between all the intense sexual desire and toxic romance. Not to mention that the relationships are purely sexual. In the first book, she fell for Nasir in a few days’ time – either out of pity or just sexual attraction alone – but definitely not for any real reason with substance. The same ridiculous shift occurred with Nasir, with a huge chasm in his character development. He was ready to kill her, yet, a few days later was inexplicably 'weakened' by her and drawn to her. Whatever ‘love’ they shared is no doubt very shallow. Whilst Zafira is capable of great self-sacrifice, compassion, and forgiving love for Nasir, these qualities seemed to be completely absent from her when she ignored her mother for five years and also didn’t shed even a tear over the death of Deen (not to mention, she actually smiled because of something Altair said, soon after Deen had just died!). At the end of this series, it still stands as a very toxic relationship consisting of much sword-pointing, physical attacking (on Zafira's part - again with the sexism, apparently for her it's okay to hit a man, whilst male domestic abuse is a very real thing), heart-breaking, ignoring one another, not clarifying huge misunderstandings for days when it would only take a few words to do and etc etc - and I am left dumbfounded as to what it is that magnetised them to one another in the first place? Every time they are together, all they think about is their physical desire, and this lasted throughout their every meeting until the very end of the book. THE PACING AND TIMELIME BEING COMPLETELY WRONG: Both books in this series take place over two months: At some point in the past two months, she had carved out half of her heart and given it to him. That was what she had done. And sorry to say, but that is completely and utterly unrealistic. They describe each other as family, as a 'zumra' who understand one another like nobody else has ever done - and apparently this all happened within two months? A task, an epic adventure, the success, the return, the secrets being exposed, the final battle, victory, and dying love - in TWO MONTHS? It is just extremely unbelievable. In regards to pacing, as others have said, this book could have been halved and you would have gotten the same amount of character development and plot and you wouldn't have missed a thing. The characters are so introspective (all coincidentally thinking in the same achaic, verbose, flowery manner that spans a page to express a single thought) that the introspection swallows the book whole and leaves little room for any action of progress to be made. The culmination of every faux pas above has made this book one of the worst I've read in a long, long time. I am all for supporting minority authors, I am from a minority myself - but I don't have such an inferiority complex that anyone who rolls in with a measure of success will become my idol - sense and reason, equality and consideration, will always come first.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    We Free the Stars had the perfect ending to an incredible duology. The characters arcs were so beautiful and the last line of this book made me cry of happiness. It was so moving. I just love these characters so much. I'm secretly hoping for a Yasmine and Altair novella pretty please 👀👀👀 We Free the Stars had the perfect ending to an incredible duology. The characters arcs were so beautiful and the last line of this book made me cry of happiness. It was so moving. I just love these characters so much. I'm secretly hoping for a Yasmine and Altair novella pretty please 👀👀👀

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mads

    i don’t know if this is just because i’m in a reading slump, but i feel like this could’ve been 100 pages less. i just thought a lot of it was repetitive and if we lost that then the actual story and character relationships would’ve been able to shine more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joan He

    LOOK AT THAT TITLE!!!! commence big hype energy

  28. 5 out of 5

    lila

    this is the best book i have ever read IF YOU HAVENT ALREADY READ THIS DUOLOGY

  29. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | nerdyabbie

    An entertaining, heartbreaking, albeit dense sequel bound to keep readers on the edge of their seats ✨ Hafsah likes to play around with the reader's hearts a lil bit, let me tell you. She drags them through the mud, the desert, teases you with an oasis, and then plunges you into the darkness 😂I said this about the first one, and I'll say it again with the sequel: THIS BISH WAS WAY TOO LONG. I just wanted the romance, honestly. That's all. AND THE ROMANCE. I loved it, but the miscommunication! An entertaining, heartbreaking, albeit dense sequel bound to keep readers on the edge of their seats ✨ Hafsah likes to play around with the reader's hearts a lil bit, let me tell you. She drags them through the mud, the desert, teases you with an oasis, and then plunges you into the darkness 😂I said this about the first one, and I'll say it again with the sequel: THIS BISH WAS WAY TOO LONG. I just wanted the romance, honestly. That's all. AND THE ROMANCE. I loved it, but the miscommunication! The tugging of readers back and forth! I have whiplash from the number of times Hafsah shoved Nasir and Zafira together and then tore them apart. It's the kind of will they or won't they? romance that when done incorrectly, is just tormenting to the reader, and not really enjoyable. Maybe this is me getting older and just noticing all the problems between these teenagers that could've been solved with a simple apology. All in all, this was definitely entertaining, and while I have feelings about certain things, I loved the ending. It was just soooo thick, and the pacing dragged, unfortunately. Anyway, we all know who the real star of this sequel is. *cough* Altair. *cough* Big thank you to Macmillian for sending me an ARC copy of this book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Sorry - without reading the first book, it's impossible to get into this world and understand these characters. DNF. eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley. (for anyone who hasn't checked my profile or looked at my other reviews: a good sequel will make it easy for readers to get into the world, usually through a "previously" section or by referencing prior events. After 40%, this book did not do any of that, hence the DNF.) Sorry - without reading the first book, it's impossible to get into this world and understand these characters. DNF. eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley. (for anyone who hasn't checked my profile or looked at my other reviews: a good sequel will make it easy for readers to get into the world, usually through a "previously" section or by referencing prior events. After 40%, this book did not do any of that, hence the DNF.)

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