30 Aug 2021

Audio #Review: WE FREE THE STARS by Hafsah Faizal


Author: Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #2
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

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.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
I feel like I'm in a huge minority here where I thought WE HUNT THE FLAME was AMAZING!!! and then thought WE FREE THE STARS was so-so.

I think part of my lack of enjoyment for this was how far apart I read the two books. 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 characters all felt like wasted potential, though. Because this book spent so much time on trying to recap the previous book while trying to move the plot forward, there wasn't a chance for a lot of real character development. The angsty became more angsty and the annoying became more annoying.

The ending also felt unsatisfactory. Very anticlimactic. A lot of subplots were not dealt with well and what was promised or heavily hinted at, was not gone through with and left unresolved. And there were worthless deaths, which is a no for me.

I think this one really needed to be a trilogy rather than a duology because too much had to happened in this short of time to change the characters. They needed more time to change from the first book and then come together at the end.

I may reread the duology in a weekend in the future and see if that changes my opinion.

TLDR: I was disappointed with this one after being so amazed with the first.


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