Rebel of the Sands | 4 star review
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
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 loved this book and I was really lucky to meet Alwyn Hamilton at YALC 2017 which you can read about here. The one thing that stood out about Rebel of the Sands would have to be the folklore and the way it was integrated into the story line. Especially with the mixture of magic and modern weapons it was really well done. I loved that entire aspect of the story, it made for really interesting reading and it was well done, it didn’t seem forced in anyway and it fit with the character’s personalities.
I really liked the fact that although there was a rebellion taking place it wasn’t the main event in the story. It was lovely to have a story with a rebellion in it without having the trope of the character willing to become a martyr for her country. This was about a girl taking any road out of the situation she was in, regardless of what the country was doing around her – which in my opinion makes for a better read and better character development.
I think one of the best things about Rebel of the Sands would have to be the ending, and how everything wrapped up so neatly, and still created a cliffhanger without the dramatics. It was great to see how everything clicked together and then being able to look back at the story in hindsight and see all the clues it is one of my favourite things when it comes to books and reading.
My favourite character in Rebel of the Sands has to be a duo! Jin and Amani’s banter is one of the best and them getting to know one another is so great. Nothing feels false and there is no insta-love which is always where YA seems to fall down in the love department. I just really enjoyed watching them grow together.
My least favourite character would have to Shira, I couldn’t understand her motivations or the maliciousness behind her actions. I definitely struggled with find a little empathy with her as a character. I couldn’t imagine spending that much time with someone only to treat them the way she did.
I would really recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about folklore and a different culture. I loved the characters and maybe there might be one or two you would find interesting too.
Have you read this series? What did you think of the characters? Let me know in the comments below.