I made what I now think was a mistake in reading We Hunt the Flame immediately after reading a pair of light parodies of the chosen one genre. The mistake was that We Hunt the Flame is very much as serious chosen one fantasy story, and coming after entertaining mockeries of the genre, ended up feeling a little too obvious about things that were probably supposed to be reveals.
Zaphira is a girl but also the Hunter whom everyone thinks is a man. Her skill is that she can go into the mysterious cursed forest to hunt food, and come out unharmed. She is chosen by the Silver Witch for a quest to find a lost book that will restore magic to her world, which had been lost almost a century ago when six powerful sisters fought and imprisoned the Lion of the Night, and then vanished along with the magic. Zaphira is not alone of course; her companions include Nasir, the assassin/prince tormented by his father possibly turning evil and being forced to become a killer on pain of serious injury or death of those he cares for. Nasir is accompanied by Altair, who seems to be a frenemy of sorts who might be working for Nasir’s father (the sultan has ordered Nasir to kill Altair after the mission, so allegiances are shifty). Everyone has all kinds of personal pasts, some of which we find out, and the problem is a lot of it is not terribly surprising. Quite a few plot and character twists are predictable too, thanks to the chosen one template. Zaphira and Nasir seem to hate each other at first, but later don’t (although the way they handle their next encounter actually worked out nicely; usually that kind of thing either gets awkward or changes the character dynamics unfavorably); Altair turns out to have depths beyond his goofball exterior; the Silver Witch and Lion of the Night both have agendas which are not entirely unpredictable. The one thing that did surprise me a little was at the very end about one character in particular and their relationship to another character. I have to admit, I did not see that one coming, although it was hinted at throughout.
Besides the kind of predictable chosen one plot and character relationships, the thing that bothered me was how static Zaphira is as a character. She does not seem to change at all. Nasir and Altair both show character development, but Zaphira who is supposed to be the main hero does not. This bothered me more than anything else because being a chosen one often means some self-discovery. Zaphira does learn some things about her family and abilities, but none of it changes much about her as a character.
Overall, this is a fascinating world, and I want to see what happens since there is a little bit of cliffhangerness about the conclusion and the big fight against the Lion of the Night still has to happen. Seeing the whole gang reunite will be interesting, and what they have to do next to defeat the Lion is not really clear, so hopefully Zaphira gets some development and maybe some not so much cookie cutter chosen one-ness in the process of all that getting worked out.