Here is a sentence I never thought I’d ever get to write: “I would describe Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton as a YA fantasy Middle Eastern/Persian western.” But don’t let that interesting sentence stop you from reading it because IT WAS COMPLETELY AWESOME!
This book was released on 8th March 2016.
This review may contain mild spoilers for this book (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!
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.
Rebel of the Sands 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, at long last, embracing her power.
I always get kinda nervous when I start reading books that I have been super wanting to read for AGES just in case they turn out to be not as good as I thought they’d be. Lucky for me, once I started reading Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton I COULDN’T STOP! IT WAS AMAZING!
So long story short, it’s a kind of fantasy Middle Eastern/Persian western with guns and crazy magic horses and sass and weird djinni magic. I cannot stress enough how awesomely different this book is and how crazy the extremes are in the story. For example, you have guns and gunpowder and factories but also strange magic and horrible mythical creatures that kind just want to murder you (and everyone else). ONE THING! I did manage to predict one or two of the major plot twists but I totally don’t think it detracted from the story.
The heroine of the tale is Amani and she is just AWESOME (I think I need to get a new adjective) and BONUS! I didn’t find her irritating at all. All she wants is to be tough and run away from her horrible relatives and BECOME AWESOME (Again Julia. Really?). Lucky for her, in strolls Jin our darling, and also very sassy, looOOVve interest who competes against Amani in a shooting contest and accidentally gets shot when they have to make a daring escape… ALSO they are just so cute together.
Welcome to one of the smallish fantasy novels that doesn’t suck completely in the world building department. The pace was awesomely fast and introduced everything from epic awesome settings to the crazy detailed mythology that the desert dwellers tell around their camp fires. Like quite a number of fantasy books based on ancient-ish cultures, the world is very sexist but that doesn’t stop Amani from kicking major ass. One itsy problem was the tendency for some of the mythology of the world to be kind of info-dumped on you as lengthy-ish tales but IDK I didn’t mind that too much.
BASICALLY what I’m trying to get across is that I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK and I just want more people to read it so that I can fangirl over it with bookish friends.