Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Published by Faber & Faber on February 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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"Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand."
Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It's not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al'Hiza must call it 'home'.
Amani wants to escape and see the world she's heard about in campfire stories.
Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run.
But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan's army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion...
An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.
Like a lot of small-town girls, Amani just wants out of Dustwalk. She’s heard stories of Izman, and she plans to escape the clutches of her Uncle and run away. But to do that she needs money. The story begins with Amani dressed as a boy and entering a shooting competition. Shortly after, she meets a foreigner named Jin who hides in her shop while the city chases him. She learns he’s leaving Dustwalk, and she asks him to take her with him.
Her journey to through their desert nation of Miraji to Izman is more than what she was expecting. Not only does she walk through the desert, but she has to leap from a train, and figure out how to get hired into a group travelling in the same direction they want to go. She learns about Jin, or at least, she thinks she does, and finds herself in something a lot bigger than she planned. With the country on the brink of war, rebels on all sides, and magic flowing through the land, there’s a lot that Amani didn’t know, and a lot she still has to figure out.
“The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn’t let weakness live.”
This was a very col book. It was a little Western feeling, a little Aladdin feeling, and there was just a lot of sand. Like, a lot. There is no way that I would want to live in such a place, but I loved the setting and the supernatural sort of feel to the world. There are Djinnis and beasts and people with special powers and it’s all very captivating and exciting. Along side the done-before desert setting, though, are trains and guns, and it’s this collection of things that makes Rebel of the Sands quite unique (or at least, I haven’t read anything similar).
I enjoyed Amani as a main character; she’s feisty and sassy and strong, and her relationship and conversations with Jin are brilliant. There comes a point, though, when there are suddenly quite a few characters, and I did have trouble keeping up for a while. Jin, however, I really liked. He’s got this charm, and this mysteriousness about him, and he bounces off Amani wonderfully (metaphorically … there’s no Teletubby tummy-bumping in this book). He’s not really your typical main-male-lead character, and he has his own goals and plans. It’s great reading the two of them together and what they want, where they want to go, and yet somehow working together like they do.
The writing was great, and I felt drawn into the world and the characters immediately. There were a few predictable events and outcomes which I called close to the beginning of the book, however the rest of it was great, so it still gets a 4 stars from me. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series, Traitor to the Throne, and if this book sounds like you, give it a read then tell me what you think!
If you’ve already read Rebel of the Sands, what did you think?