Wow. I’m a little embarrassed about how long it took for me to read this, but I’m so glad that I finally got my arse in gear and did it. And what an incredible book Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is. While it took me a short while to get through the first few chapters due to work commitments, I raced through the rest of the book, desperate to see where it would go!
From the cover:
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 is the first book of its kind that I have ever read: an epic Middle Eastern fantasy with mythical creatures, folklore and a Western vibe. Gah, I loved it, and now I’ve definitely got a thirst for more books like this. Alwyn Hamilton paints a perfect picture through her skills in world building; each chapter played out like a scene from a film in my head as I could visualise what was happening seamlessly.
I really enjoyed the writing style of this book; it was told in a first person narrative which definitely made me feel more connected to our main character Amani, but I think I would have liked a dual narrative maybe, just to see the point of view of the other characters – mainly Jin!
Speaking of which: the characters. Oh, the characters! Amani is a great kick-ass heroine, who I would totally be friends with in real life, who stands up for herself, for others and for her gender which I think is so important. The only negative point I have against Amani, which is entirely down to my own opinion and absolutely no reflection on Hamilton’s amazing writing skills, is that I found her to be really indecisive, quite mean sometimes, and found myself like “what the hell Amani, why would you do that!” Like, poor Tamid, right?! (Though maybe this has something to do with book two…). And Jin. *sighs*. I absolutely loved Jin. The fact that he was cocky and so sure of himself, but filled with the need to protect and care for others, even when the situations were totally dangerous and life threatening. I wish we’d been introduced to the side characters a little earlier as I loved them too.
I loved that the romantic aspect of the story didn’t overshadow the main plot and THOSE PLOT TWISTS?! Crazy and unexpected.
The only reason that I’m a little happy that I waited so long to read Rebel of the Sands is the fact that the sequel, Traitor to the Throne is released next month, so I don’t have to wait long for the next instalment at all.
A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars for me!
Update: A few days after writing this, NetGalley very very kindly granted my request to receive an e-book of Traitor to the Throne prior to it’s release. I pre-ordered the paperback not thinking I’d get my hands on the e-book, but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist not reading it straight away!
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