Rebel of the Sands
by: Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands #1
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.
Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.
My rating: 4.5 stars
Rebel of the Sands follows Amani, an orphan stuck living with her aunt and uncle. Dustwalk, her hometown, is a dead place and she finds herself suffocating in it; she’s dreamt of running away to Izman for a long time. Soon she finds herself in an unexpected journey with an unexpected companion. Without realising her plans change and so does she.
I LOVED AMANI! She is a kickass protagonist; when everything was crumbling she didn’t whine or cry, she took it in her hands to find a solution. Reading about her dressing up as a guy to earn her way out of Dustwalk was some of my favourite parts. Ahh, my blue eye bandit won me over from the start. And, I loved how she wasn’t one of those sacrificial lambs who always thought about how the outcome of their decisions would affect others. She was selfish, tough, and somewhat naïve, to watch her grow was truly amazing. Even though watching her leave some people behind made me churn a bit, I loved how she didn’t continue to do so in the future – I just really love her development.
The world building was alright, I felt it was a mixture of Middle East and Wild Wild West, not entirely Middle Eastern. Also, the world building could have been executed better – something was missing. (Maybe a map like Six of Crows could have helped.) The magical aspect was interesting as well, it doesn’t come into play until the second half of the book, but when it shows up it does not disappoint at all.
I loved the comrade between Amani and Jin, but I felt the romance on and off. The fact their relationship was built on lies didn’t help. However, I did enjoy their friendship. I kind of felt their feelings for one another were kind of rushed, but they haven’t exchanged I love you’s or made unreasonable/rash decisions for one another, so that was a plus point. I’m hoping in the next book their relationship develops more before they get together. I just really want a slow burn.
The secondary characters were fabulous and I’m eager to see more of them in the future. Shazad is also a strong female character I grew quite fond of rather quickly. Hala was a sweetie pie and I wanted to keep her protected (just like Ahmed). Bahi and the twins were cute as well. I enjoyed Ahmed’s character as well, I’m hoping he as a bigger role in the next book. I loved how Hamilton was able to execute an amazing development with them – they tied perfectly with the story.
And, I almost forgot, the writing is glorious. Hamilton sucked me in with her captivating plot and beautiful writing. I need the second book soon, I really don’t know how I’m supposed to wait. (This is why I like reading series that are complete.)