The B&N YA Podcast: Hafsah Faizal Reimagines Girl Power

Explore the stories behind the young adult books you love with the B&N YA Podcast. Join host Melissa Albert, bestselling author of The Hazel Wood, as she sits down with fellow YA authors to talk about books, life, their teen years, their pop cultural obsessions, and how they came up with the stories that keep us up at night. Subscribe to listen in on fascinating new conversations every other week.

Since 2010 author and designer Hafsah Faizal has been writing about books on her blog Icey Books, and now she’s celebrating the launch of her own Arabian culture–inspired fantasy debut. We Hunt the Flame is about a girl who braves an enchanted darkness to keep her people alive, and a prince who kills on behalf of his father, and their unexpectedly shared quest to bring magic back to their world. We talked to Faizal about book-inspired design, great fantasy maps, and the spark that became We Hunt the Flame.

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

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