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.
Alwyn Hamilton’s debut Rebel of the Sands was quite the fantastical read! It’s filled with excitement, adventure, romance, magic, mythology, and lots of good action too! It’s got all you need for an enjoyable read! I am definitely going to be looking forward to more of this series.
Amani is a sixteen year old girl, in a world where women have no rights. Odd to think this is a fantasy world! She disguises herself as a boy and enters a shooting contest in hopes to win enough money to escape a life where she’ll be forced to marry her uncle, because no one else would want her. Incest, apparently, wasn’t an issue in this time either. Which is a whole other topic for a different day! Unfortunately, the competition was rigged and she was forced to go home empty-handed and far poorer than she began.
She soon meets a wanted man named Jin and after helping him escape, decides to join him on his journey because she longs for escape that much. Her plans are to find her mother’s sister and hope that life with an unknown aunt is better than what she currently has. And this is where the adventure truly begins!
The desert is a dangerous place filled with monsters. Night is the worse time to travel and naturally, a lot of traveling happens on Amani’s part at this time. Amani and Jin have their rough go of things but when they finally decide to trust one another, things start to go a little more smoothly for them. But not by much, for there are soldiers tracking them and let’s just say the outcome won’t be pretty if they get caught.
There’s a lot of history and myth to this story. At times, I found it a little hard to keep up because there were so many names being dropped left and right. It didn’t help that this unknown Sultan has so many children, both legitimate and not and having too many wives and having children just everywhere! It made it a mite hard to figure out who’s related and not. But for the most part, I had the general idea and that was enough. While this caused me a little bit of a bump in the road of reading, it wasn’t enough to fully detract from my enjoyment.
Mythology wise, I really enjoyed learning about the Djinn in this new way. Some traits I’ve seen from previous books show up as well, but there’s always something new to learn and I love that authors make creatures and characters their own! That’s why I never tire of vampire reads, because I see them all as totally different and individual reads! I think where I was tripped up again, a little, were all the different kinds of Djinn, or other magical beings that were in here. There’s more name dropping, but I tribute the different names to the specific power each magical person has. That’s what I gathered at least. There’s a type name and then character name, so we’re back to a lot of name dropping!
I really enjoyed the relationship between Amani and Jin. It’s no surprise that these two start having sparks fly between them. And while it may seem like insta-love, I think it was more of an insta-attraction and then the feelings and love just start to develop along the way. But like with any YA novel, just because there’s early love doesn’t mean there’s going to be all sunshine and rainbows. There are secrets going about! And while I want to say I saw some of them coming, I can’t quite do that. I may have surmised a one or two of the ideas, but I had so many speculations for the characters it was hard to commit to a certain idea! LOL!
I really enjoyed the cast of side characters too! Bahi and Shazad were among my favorites! Bahi is a little bit of a romantic, but he’s hilarious. Shazad is your go-to tough girl with an attitude and the kickbutt-ness the back it all up! And these two’s interactions together were pure gold!
The feels I had for this book were pretty much all over the place! And that’s what I expect of all my reads pretty much! Going through all those emotions really just proves to me how wonderfully talented the author is!
I’m not 100% sure where this series is headed, it’s ending, while satisfying by a lack of cliffhanger, you are left with that little bit of wondering. Wondering, exactly, what’s next for everyone! And with that, only time will tell, as always! Wretched time!
If you’re looking for a fantasy to blow you away with its magic, mythology, action, and a wonderful cast of characters, than I highly recommend reading Rebel of the Sands! It was phenomenal!
Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars