TITLE: Rebel of the Sands
AUTHOR: Alwyn Hamilton
RELEASED: March 8, 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
GENRE: YA Fantasy
“In this desert I could never seem to escape being seen as powerless, so long as I wasn’t a man.”
MY THOUGHTS: I…wasn’t as impressed with this as I expected to be, sadly. I expected a fast paced, magical, shoot-em-up type novel after the first scene of Amani attending a pistol pit, but most of it felt like a lot more filler and not much happening. The adventures were mostly fun, but it seemed to drag on a little in the first 200 or so pages. Some of the scenes were a little disjointed, and, as much as I loved Jin, the chemistry just didn’t seem to click between them. Even if their arguments and banter were hilarious.
“If I wanted to. If I wanted to be part of this story, this rebellion. Truth be told, it was more than a want.”
Now, when it finally did pick up, I was completely swept away. We find this entire other group of beings that are striving to do what’s best for their country, even while being prosecuted for being different. They’re such idealists, with a few realists mixed in for good measure. Some of the characters are super annoying (the commander), but are necessary to building this world. There needs to be something to struggle against, and not all antagonists are likeable. However, I wasn’t hugely thrilled at him losing, either. Kinda awkward!
“I wasn’t that girl anymore, the one who left people.”
The best part of the whole book was Amani’s internal journey. She really becomes a strong, independent, woman who becomes part of something bigger than herself. Her story is actually really interesting. There’s a different vibe about her (obviously, MC’s are always different), but it always seemed more than just having foreigner heritage. When we find out the real reason she never belonged in Dustwalk (her hometown), I was pretty shocked! That was my favourite twist to the novel. All in all, I’ll be reading the next instalment and hoping the series improves.
BLURB: The New York Times bestselling novel by the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Author of 2016, published in 15 countries!
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female. Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
This startlingly original Middle-East-meets-Wild-West fantasy reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally embracing her power.