Book Review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

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Title: Rebel of the Sands

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Publication Date: March 8th 2016

Format: Paperback 

 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.

 

4 stars

The Plot: Summarized

Amani Al’Hiza can shoot a gun like she was born with her hand wrapped around one. So when he overhears that her uncle wants to marry her, she takes part in a shooting contest in the hopes of winning the prize money to finance her escape plan. When trouble rises in the arena, though, Amani escapes with only her life. Forced to go back to her uncle’s house,  she comes across Jin again, a boy she met in the shooting contest and through him, Amani sees a route to the freedom she so longs for.

Thoughts

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d have known by now how excited I was for this book. It featured in a Waiting on Wednesday post as well as SO MANY Top Ten Tuesday ones, I posted a review for the sneak peek the minute I finished it, and then I preordered myself a copy. In short, if this book didn’t live up to my high expectations, I was going to be devastated.

Luckily for me, it did.

I loved every second of it. I loved the rich culture, the rounded world building, the fantasy elements (djinnis and desert spirits and monsters), and the writing. (Hamilton’s writing style is effing brilliant, you guys.)

The world that this story is set in is a mixture between middle eastern and the west, and somehow it worked. I have no idea how Hamilton did it, but it worked and the end result was something rich in color and identity and character. It was vibrant, even though it’s a desert, but I guess the writing and the descriptions made it seem as such.

All the different characters are what made the story for me, though. They are so well done and I’ll be elaborating more on Amani and Jin below, but all the side characters won my heart as well. I loved them dearly even though they only appeared in the last third of the book and I’m looking forward to meeting them in book 2! I hope they all survive lol 😀

Character Analysis

Amani

Amani is pure kick-assery. (yes that’s a word what are you saying????) Her gun skillz are supreme and she has a smart tongue to match. Even though she’s far from perfect, you can’t help but like her. I don’t mean to say that she’s one of those not-likable-but-you-can’t-help-but-like characters because she’s not. What I meant is that even though she does some things that aren’t exactly ‘good’, you get why she did them and you sympathize with her.

Also can we please talk about how awesome her name is?

Jin

Hello Handsome. How are you? Can I have your number? OH! WAIT! YOU DON’T HAVE A PHONE! WOOPS. SORRY. MY MISTAKE.

#noimnotusuallythisweirdiswear

no but really. This cute guy here is swoony. The banter he has with Amani is unreal and I loved how much trust he has in her. Um no my love for him isn’t because he admits that Amani’s a better shot than him. Though that certainly earned him massive points.(Get me one guy who’ll admit that a female is better than him at anything.)

Also super important 😉 😉 is that Amani and Jin had some awesome chemistry going on. IT WASN’T HOT/V ROMANTIC BY ANY MEANS AND I WAS A BIT DISAPPOINTED WITH THAT BUT HEY THIS IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE TRILOGY SO I’M HOPING FOR SOME SMOLDERING SCENES IN BOOK TWO 😉 😉

Bottom Line

The fantasy element in this book is something I have never read about before. I really enjoyed it, I loved the characters but I wanted more romance. Hopefully we’ll get that in book two. I want to read this book again. soon. real soon.

Recommended to: Those who want to read about cultures inspired by the middle east with a mixture of the mid west.

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