Monday, February 22, 2016
Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands, Book One
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 4 February 2016
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia
I received this ARC from Faber & Faber for review.
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. (summary from Goodreads)
Rebel of the Sands is a Middle Eastern fantasy with Western vibes, a completely magical and captivating read.
I started Rebel of the Sands and I did not want to put it down. I couldn't believe how quickly I devoured this book. I started it thinking I'd read for a little bit, just a couple of chapters. Next thing I knew, I'm half way through and a couple of hours had passed instead. Hamilton has definitely created a world that is easy to lose yourself in. I loved the setting. She brings the desert to life. You feel the heat, the grit of the sand, the expanse of it all while reading Rebel of the Sands. There is so much to this book that keeps the pace moving and your imagination wholly hooked. There's warring Empires, a power hungry Sultan, oppressive culture, and a Rebellion fighting for change. Then there's a host of fantasy creatures. Djinni, Skinwalkers, horses made of magic and sand, terrifying monsters known as Nightmares, giant bird like creatures, plus half human/half Djinni characters that wield magnificent power. And added to it all is gunslingers, shootouts and even train robbery. I'm squealing on the inside right now. Hamilton has taken an amazing variety of epicness and put it all together to create a brilliant story of family, friendship, survival, romance and a girl finding her place in a world so much bigger than she could've realised. I love, love, love Rebel of the Sands. My only true disappointment is that I have to wait for the rest of the series. Boo! I was so glad Rebel of the Sands didn't end with a major cliffhanger. There's heaps more to come, there's no doubt, but book one feels complete in a way and I don't feel frustrated needing more.
I am so impressed with Amani. In a world where she holds no power simply because she's female, Amani refuses to give in and takes it from behind a gun. She is so cool! Amani is also clever and sassy, tough and reckless, and I'm so eager to read the rest of her journey. I can admit too, one thing I also really loved about Amani is that she doesn't swoon and succumb to a good looking boy, no matter her attraction to him. She gives as good as she gets, if not more and better. I am all for the romance of Rebel of the Sands. It is not the be all end all of the story, just one part of it and it's a part I adored just as I loved the entirety of this book. The slow build and the chemistry between Amani and Jin - yeah, I'm the one swooning instead. Jin is perfect. Tough, funny, and loyal, he sees and accepts Amani for who she truly is. Who knew 'Bandit' could be such a term of endearment? There are so, so many secondary characters I want to gush about too. From the many funny and powerful members of the Rebellion to the many disturbing villains, each are great characters, distinct and leaving quite the mark on the story of Rebel of the Sands. But seriously, if I start I will never end this review. And there are so many surprises wrapped up in these characters, their relationships, and their stories, so just take my word for it...
Read Rebel of the Sands and fall in love for yourself! I have a feeling Alwyn Hamilton will become a Must Buy author for me.