We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal (Sands of Arawiya #2, 579 pages)
The Mission Continues to Save Arawiya and Restore Magic in We Free The Stars
Following the events of We Hunt The Flame, we are reunited with Zafira, Nasir, and the remaining rebels in their group in We Free The Stars. They struggle with the aftermath of their trek to the island Sharr, and are forever changed-yet their determination does not fade. As they head to the Sultan’s Keep to initiate the restoration of magic, they must face the one problem standing in their way: The Lion of the Night. Their resources to defeat their enemy are limited and they desperately need allies. Time is of the essence, and with The Lion always one step ahead, magic in Arawiya just might fall into the wrong hands.
A Magical Conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya Duology
There is no denying that author Hafsah Faizal is a gifted storyteller. The growth in her writing is immediately obvious, and it is clear that she had worked on her craft to produce a better sequel. Her ability to set the stage and bring a fictional landscape to life is a skill she has truly mastered. It felt like I was watching this entire story unfold before my eyes. Parts of the writing were too corny for my liking however, especially when Faizal describes the way characters react such as when they “croaked a laugh” or “bit(e) back a snarl”.
While there was some character development beyond book one, We Hunt The Flame, I felt disconnected from most of them. Zafira and Nasir’s romance dragged on in this novel, and the couldn’t-find-the-words moments between them happened far too often to feel realistic. Having said that, their relationship is the true definition of a (very) slow-burn romance, which is appealing to many readers.
The Bottom Line: 3/5 Brookie Stars.
The unexpected twist and constant action and adventure sustained my interest. There were parts of the story that dragged on, and I felt it could have been 100 pages shorter. I appreciated details on the ever-changing surroundings, but scenes that pertained to characters’ thoughts and feelings were too repetitive. Despite that, I think die-hard fans of young adult fantasy would love this duology. If you enjoy slow-burn, angsty YA romances, and a book filled with adventure, then We Free The Stars is definitely for you.
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Maiya Alismaili is a 34 year old bookacholic who currently resides in Ottawa. With a background in Human Resources and Psychology, you will often find her people watching. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she will likely be exploring the town for new bookstores, rewatching Gilmore Girls, or cleaning to 80s music.
Favorite Book: A Fine Balance By Rohinton Mistry
Favorite Brunch Spot: Cafe Cristal