Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Source: Review copy from Faber and Faber via NetGalley
I really enjoyed this book. A beautifully developed world filled with intriguing and complicated characters, with a touch of rebellion, some wonderful magic and a heroine who is trying her hardest to rescue herself, even as events overtake her.
Amani is no pushover. Her whole life she’s dreamt of escaping her small, judgemental town. It used to be her mother who would whisper stories of a better life in her ear, but her mother is gone now, meaning it’s up to Amani to find a way free by herself. Especially when she hears talk of a marriage being arranged for her. Luckily she has some skills – not least her sharp-shooting skills, that she’s honed in secret for years out in the desert. Nor is she afraid to dress as a boy and sneak out at night in order to win herself some money. She’s determined and courageous, a touch stubborn and never afraid to stand up for herself. I liked her a lot, especially when she learns to look after others as the book progresses.
Of course, escape is a far from simple thing and Amani’s dull, simple life is about to change beyond recognition. Partly thanks to the mysterious Jin – fellow shooting contestant, possible traitor, mysterious foreigner. I really enjoyed the relationship that grows between these two, built out of shared assistance and mutual respect. They make an impressive team, when they’re not bickering or fighting.
The action itself comes thick and fast, with some magic, some violence and a few plot twists that I might not have fully expected, but I wasn’t completely surprised by either. Combined with a rich and detailed world, this is a story to get totally lost in, as the Western genre collides with the Arabian Nights and sprinkles everything with rebellion. True, there’s a whole lot of jumping off trains with nary a scratch (just how slow are these trains?) and it would be nice if the bad guys were given a bit more depth, but overall this is fast, furious fun with some great characters, a beautiful world and so much potential for more. I cannot wait to read the next one!
Rebel of the Sands is Out Now!
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