Title: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars
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.
I was not expecting this book to be as good as it turned out to be.
I went into this book expecting literally nothing and with little information on what it is about. All I knew was that it had amazing reviews, so when I saw it in my school library, I thought it might be worthwhile to pick it up. And it sure was.
Rebel of the Sands was like no other book I’d read before. The characters, settings and backgrounds were all so cool, diverse and different. RotS is folklore/myth-based (sorry idk what the word is for fantasy that is based on “campfire stories”) fantasy novel, with elements of western and middle east themes as well. The only thing I disliked about this novel was the lack of world building and all the new terms that were thrown onto me. For me, it was hard to memorise all the terms because I wasn’t expecting them and I hadn’t heard any of the words before. I think that was the only thing I disliked about this book, so lets get into the things I loved.
The characters were so amazing and badass. Amani is such a cool and independent girl. She actually kicks ass right from the start and does not stop at all throughout the whole novel. Living in a place like Dustwalk where woman and girls don’t matter and are owned by the man in the house, it is inspiring to see how Amani is able to think for herself and make a life for herself where she is not her uncle’s slave. She also has flaws that change her throughout the book and they shape her to become a strong and loyal fighter and friend.
I have a love-hate relationship with Jin. He is a mysterious character, and Amani and his relationship is complicated, but he is a good person and loyal to his family and friends. He is selfless and strong and a true survivor. These two characters bounced off each other so well and most of their conversations were funny. They also had really good chemistry and they knew what each other was thinking with speaking. I loved both characters and I can’t wait to see how they progress in the next book. (Yes, it is a trilogy! I didn’t know that either!)
The writing of the action was done well. The action scenes were so fast-paced. One scene made me need to stop and take a break! The action was intense but fun to read and I’m glad Alwyn Hamilton broke up the action scenes with calmer scenes where characters are just talking or walking, because otherwise my heart would not be able to handle it! Almost all chapters ended on a seriously suspenseful cliffhanger and I, more than once, kept reading past the chapter end, even though I had to do something else! It was just too addictive. The writing style was also very fluent and easy to read, which is necessary in a book with many new terms and intense action.
Overall, I was super stoked about Rebel of the Sands. It was kind of difficult to get into, with it being a fantasy, but I gradually got immersed into the story by at least 50 pages. I can’t believe that Alwyn Hamilton is a debut author because this book was truly phenomenal and unique, and I am definitely going to buy it and reread it (as well as the second book which comes out soon!) when I get the chance to! Rebel of the Sands was an action-packed, fast-paced, and unique novel that was super addictive and a lot of fun to read. I can’t wait for the sequel which comes out sometime in February!