Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Maiya Ibrahim, Author of Spice Road – On Crafting Tea Magic, Her DVPit Journey, and Sharing Cultural Mythology in Storytelling

Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Maiya Ibrahim, Author of Spice Road – On Crafting Tea Magic, Her DVPit Journey, and Sharing Cultural Mythology in Storytelling

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of May, where Asian and Pasifika authors are invited to celebrate being Asian and Pasifika work and literature! Find the introduction post for Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month here.

At the Pond, we love rich worldbuilding with fascinating magic systems inspired by culture and mythology. So when I heard about a new young-adult trilogy titled Spice Road set in an Arabian-inspired land with a teen who must protect her people’s tea magic – yes! tea magic! – I was immediately enthralled, and I wanted to learn more.

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Book Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – Great Ideas, but Shallow Execution

Text: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal.

Synopsis:

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 king. 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 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 king 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.

CW’s review:

Picture me heaving a deep sigh. That’s me right now, having finished reading We Hunt the Flame and now having to review it. Despite its promises to be a sweeping YA fantasy and a compelling story about two very different characters that fall into the same journey and destiny despite being enemies, I didn’t feel that the book delivered. Unfortunately the ideas of We Hunt the Flame were wonderful and riveting, but its execution was lacking. And I’m incredibly disappointed, because I so wanted to love this book. The truth is, however, I just simply did not.

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