Book Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Release Date: March 18th, 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
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 rumor 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.
I bought this paperback read on a whim for solely two reasons:
- THAT PRETTY SHINY COVER. Yes I'm a sucker for book covers! I couldn't resist grabbing it when I saw it in my bookstore.
- It reminded me of The Wrath & The Dawn with its middle eastern setting. Desert, magic, war, rebellion- sign me up!
And there you have it. Welcome to the world of Jasmine who has ZERO self control when it comes to buying paperback reads.
So back to the book. If you're a huge fan of The Wrath & The Dawn (EVERYONE MUST READ THAT BOOK IF YOU HAVEN'T!!) like me and was expecting the epic feels of romance that came along, you won't be finding that much here. Despite the the hint of a similar setting, the world-building in this read is very much different from what I've imagined. Hold onto your horses, it's going to be quite a wild, wild ride with this one
Instead of my conventional way of reviewing, I'll review this book based on certain criterias:
Romance: Let me just say that with every book I pick up, I need to be assured that there's some sort of romance going on. It's essential for me because I just need the tingly happy feels when I read. With RotS, the romance was rather a slowburn one with Amani and Jin (the devastatingly handsome foreigner as mentioned in the blurb). There's sort of a love/hate thing going on between them at first, but later grows more into a friendship as they try to survive the desert heat.
Honestly, I would loved more romance in this read. At this point, it's hard to establish how far in is the romance between Amani and Jin but I'd say it's borderline from friendship to romance pretty soon.
"All you've got to do is say the word. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand and to the sea. Just say it."
Action: There's definitely a number of wham-bam action going on in this one. From ghoul horses to gun fights, on-train battles and shapeshifters of sorts- you can only imagine the kinds of battles that both our MCs are treading with.
World-building: Again, it's very different than what I've imagined when I first read the blurb and picked up this book. There's a magical twist with the desert setting and surprisingly, there's also some Western elements in them- mostly with the gun fights and horse riding.
Character: If you're a fan of a strong kickass heroine, Amani here definitely scores some points! She is a sharpshooter with a perfect aim, so don't mess with this woman. Jin, our male hero is a sharpshooter too, a witty one in fact and knows how to push Amani's buttons. Together, they braced through the desert with a blossoming relationship.
"You are this country, Amani. More alive than anything ought to be in this place. All fire and gunpowder, with one finger always on the trigger."
Secondary characters were amazing too, especially Shazad. Honestly I love it when tough women are being introduced into reads.
A solid 4-stars read for me! But okay, honestly I was a little underwhelmed by the read because I was expecting a whole lot more when I started. Why do you ask?
There were times that I felt the book moved a little slow for me and I was a little uncertain with the direction of the read. I'm aware that a rebellion is going on but how does Amani and Jin fit into the picture? It was only after halfway into the book that I started to see the pieces coming together. And a plot twist! It took me by surprise for sure although I had a smidgen of idea, but I wasn't entirely correct about it.
With the exception of a mild romance going on in the read, I enjoyed it for the most parts. The action-packed parts of the book compensated for the lack of romance but I'm definitely rooting for more in the sequel. If you're a fan of reads with more adventure with a slowburn romance, this would work for you.
An overall promising debut from this author, I'm excited to see where the adventure takes us next with the sequel. No news on if this is a trilogy or less but fingers crossed it won't be long till the next book arrives.
Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.