Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Paperback: 358 pages
Published: February 4th 2016 by Faber & Faber
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (Goodreads): 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 rumour 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.
What can I say? I loved it. For me to ever give 5 stars to a book is rare, but guys, this one deserves it.
Let’s start with the cover: it’s amazing. It’s the reason I even picked the thing up. All of the elements of the story – mystery, magic, adventure – are pulled together into the design. I know the saying ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’, but this one? This one is truly incredible to look at.
Anyway, enough gushing over that. Back to what actually matters. Rebel of the Sands is beautifully written with characters that leap off the page. There are so many scenes that drag you right in, especially the opening. We begin the story with Amani, our protagonist, in the middle of Deadshot, dressed as a boy and in the middle of a shooting competition. If that’s not enough to get you interested, then I’m not sure what will.
One thing that I will say, is that after the first few scenes, the book begins to drag a little. Don’t give up! The second half is much better than the first, especially when new characters are introduced. For me, the best scenes were definitely the opening, and the fight at the end. Obviously I can’t tell what happens (spoilers. duh.) but it is a fast-paced and thrilling conclusion.
Now for my favourite part – the characters. Let’s start with Amani, aka the Blue-Eyed Bandit. She is fierce, she is wild and she is possibly the best shot in the country. Amani wants to be free of Dustwalk and she fights for it.
Jin is the handsome stranger who whisks her away from Dustwalk on the back of a magical horse (I know, I know). For the most part, he is the dashing hero and has just enough wit to prevent him from becoming bland. Both of them are put through trial after trial and they meet every single one head-on.
These are the main two characters, however a lot more are introduced near the end of the book. I’m assuming that they will have bigger roles in the following books, but they all play their parts. (My particular favourites out of these are Izz and Maz – gotta love a pair of twins. Especially shape-shifting ones.)
The book combines Arabian Mythology with cowboys, which does seem weird at first, but slots together nicely. When the fantasy finally does show up (which is near the end, I’ll grant you that) it is mind-blowing. The book is a set up for a series, so I’m expecting big things from the following books.
I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a relatively short book to read, who enjoys fantasy and a bit of mythology.
Let me know what you thought about this book in the comments below!