Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Even with the Western aspects, this book held a Prince of Persia vibe to it, and I was all for it.

Publication: March 8th 2016

Synopsis: 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 and with him finally has a chance to escape. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse–or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew…

Review/Thoughts: I could have finished this book in a day. I would have stayed up long hours into the night just to see how it ended. The writing style was very captivating and there was a want–a need to know what happened next. My heart was almost always racing with anticipation. The tension could be felt between the characters. The pacing was on par for me, and when it did get to a slower part it wasn’t dull and I didn’t have the urge for them to be over and back to something exciting. Those scenes were packed full of stories from the world of Miraji and even character tidbits. We got to understand and connect with them a little better.

Amani is first introduced disguised as a boy, entering a shooting competition trying to earn a few coin to escape her hometown of Dustwalk. This girl is great with a gun! Her aim is true and she never misses a shot. One thing I loved about her was the fact she’d never missed a beat when it came to sarcasm and sass. There was times when she should have kept her mouth shut, and she knew it, but it ended up coming out anyways. She’s independent, strong, and capable of taking care of herself. A little over halfway through the book here character goes through a bit of a rough patch. Amani changes and it’s easily noticeable that she’s not the same girl we first met in the opening chapter. She takes a little bit to find herself again and she needs others to tell her that she’s changed before she sees it herself and admits it. I liked how her character started out as a strong, badass girl then goes through this trying, rough patch before she finds herself again. I find it a nice bit of character development for her, and it makes her more relatable too. It’s nice to know even fictional characters have bad days, hard times, and just end up getting confused about everything and even themselves.

Jin was easily my favorite character in this book. Am I shocked at this? Not really. Jin is introduced as a foreigner to the land of sand and desert. Something that is noticeable in his actions. He is such a wonderful character with a heart full love, love for the land under his feet, and for his family. He’s witty, stands by his beliefs and won’t back down. I loved how Jin talked about the world beyond Dustwalk to Amani. I could here the passion in his voice, and I could feel just how much he loved and adored it all. The choice of wording/phrasing added so much to those scenes. This kid is truly amazing. The compass that he kept on his person was so cool! I loved the fact that it was tethered to an identical one that his brother held and that they always pointed to each other. Allowing them to always find each other. It may seem broken but it’s purpose is quite unique. Jin doesn’t want to loose it, I can’t blame him either, and when he thought he might have he was truly worried. The panic he felt was very noticeable.

At first, I wasn’t so sure about the Western aspects in this book. The title, even the cover of my copy, gave me a strong Middle East, Arabian feel and I was super excited to read about that. The guns, shootouts and saloons I wasn’t sure about. On the one hand I really was looking forward to a read with an Arabian feel, on the other, I had never read a book with this sort of mash up of the two settings so I figured why not give it a try. It was well worth my time. So much so that I didn’t think twice about ordering the rest of the books in this series. Yes, this book does have some very common clichés but the author made it work. Alwyn Hamilton took those and weaved them into an Arabian fantasy read that I purely enjoyed! I fell in love with the characters, their world and the magic within it. It took my breath away and left me satisfied yet wanting more! I’m super excited to finish this series.

~Till the next Chapter~

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