Title: Rebel of the Sands
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publication: March 8th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 320 pages
Format: Library book
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.
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So here’s the alphabetical run down:
Amani reminds me of so many characters, but in her own completely unique way. Her story begins a bit like Lee from Walk on Earth a Stranger or Kate from Vengeance Road (girl with no parents pretends to be a boy to get out of town), but Amani has so much more sass and personality than Lee and is more adventure seeking than vengeance seeking like Kate. There were times when she even reminded me of Lilah in A Gathering of Shadows with her love for weapons and a blatant disregard for her own life.
I just love Jin! He genuinely cares about Amani, but there’s also a recklessness about him that I really like. There are so many secondary characters introduced by the end of the book, but I felt like even with the relatively short length of the book (as far as fantasy novels go), they were all given distinct personalities and I was interested in all of their individual stories. I’m so glad this series continues.
This cover is gorgeous. I really do love shiny things, and the gold lettering and design are so pretty. Also the silhouette of the desert town and the rider fit the story perfectly.
So I feel like there’s no way to spoil anything here, since the summary already tells you that Amani falls in love with Jin, which I don’t think was really necessary to put in the summary. That aside, I really enjoyed the romance. It was slow building throughout the book, but Jin definitely has some of the best lines where Amani is concerned, which I adore.
I never knew exactly where this story was headed, and I loved it! It was completely unexpected and exciting and allowed me to get sucked into the adventure with Amani and Jin. I felt like the blend of Western and a Middle-Eastern fantasy was unique to this book and although I’ve seen both of those genres done well individually in YA fiction, I have never seen the two melded together.
The only thing this book is lacking, to me, is a map! There was so much location change throughout the story and a map would have been really useful.
Even though Rebel of the Sands is the first book of a trilogy, it had a satisfying conclusion while still making me want to know where the story goes from here.
“It was damn hard to trust a boy with a smile like that. A smile that made me want to follow him straight to the places he’d told me about and made me sure I shouldn’t at the same time.”
“All you’ve got to do is say the word. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand to the sea.”
“Being born doesn’t make a single soul important. But you were important when I met you, that girl who dressed as a boy, who taught herself to shoot true, who dreamed and saved and wanted so badly. That girl was someone who had made herself matter.”
Rebel of the Sands was epic and exciting and unique. I loved the characters and the writing was superb! I can’t wait to read Traitor to the Throne next year!