Rebel of the Sands
By: Alwyn Hamilton
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Format: Print ARC
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.
Rebel of the Sands was crazy good. I sat down with it and thought I’d read a chapter but ended up reading about 3/4ths of the book in one sitting. It was captivating, action packed and had perfect moments of swoon. I adored the characters and their dialog and interactions were very well done.
I didn’t know exactly what I was getting when I started this one…I’d heard it was fantasy? But also the back and summary bring up desert and guns so I wasn’t sure of the genre or atmosphere. It turned out to be this incredible mix of classic Wild West and the Middle East. Not only do we have shoot-out gun fights and train chases we also get epic sand storms, desert treks, djinni myths and a rebel prince. Sign me up for ALL the things.
The main character, Amani, was trapped in her small, desert town. A town in the middle of the desert that viewed women as lesser than and incapable of doing much more than being a wife and mother. Amani’s own mother and step father were dead which left her living with an aunt and uncle who cared little for her welfare. Amani wasn’t having any of that though. She wasn’t going to allow anyone to map out her future or stop her from doing the things she was passionate about (like shooting). I immediately connected with Amani and really loved her spirit, fierce nature and sense of self. She had a goal and nothing was going to stop her.
Beyond Amani, all the other characters were well developed. I know for a fact Jin will be a crowd pleaser. I fell in love with his sharp wit, humor and generally everything about him. His chemistry with Amani was impeccably created and just *swoon* perfection. Jin was so much more than a love interest though. This character was just as thought out as Amani. I can’t go into his past in detail because spoilers but I adore him and need to read oh so much more about him in the next two books.
Even characters that played a very small role were capable of pulling at my heart- I was so impressed that Hamilton conveyed a friendship between Amani and a boy from her town so well that I was feeling emotional in certain parts of the story. I am usually fairly hard hearted especially with characters that aren’t on the page long but not so in this book. I felt some serious love and hate quickly and deeply.
Beyond the characters, the world was exquisite and so creative. Hamilton created so many myths and a depth to the world’s history that I was completely captivated. I honestly couldn’t tell what was created by the author and what might actually be true myths. The entire story was a brilliant concept and wonderfully executed. Hamilton’s writing was so well done I had no problem imagining all of her settings and the action sequences were epic. I could imagine it all playing out like a film (you have train chases, shoot-outs, desert treks, sand storms and more). I am really blown away with the scope of this novel.
I am completely obsessed with Alywn Hamilton’s debut, Rebel of the Sands. This novel mixed a wild west aura, middle eastern culture along with original myth to create a fantasy world rich in depth and completely captivating. This was one of the strongest debuts I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read more from Hamilton and this series. I am in love.