Rebels of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Published by Faber & Faber on February 4, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Pages: 358 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased
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.
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton has been on my radar for quite a while and I was so happy to blow through this story and fall in love with these characters. With middle of nowhere towns, guns being fired at every turn, mythic and magic creatures, friendship and family, and the very beginnings of a rebellion that can shape the land of Miraji, Rebel of the Sands was a fast paced and fun adventure that sucked me right in.
A gun toting sharpshooter with fire in her heart and just as much sass as there is sand, Amani wants to escape an oppressive life in Dustwalk seeking to become her own person and explore the shimmering world within her grasp. Unfortunately its never that easy and Rebel of the Sands is essentially a journey of discovering one’s self. Amani was fierce, willing to do what it takes to survive. Jin’s story is peeled back layer by layer, getting just glimpses of who he truly is. Give me a mysterious man and I’m pretty much all in! Even the side characters drew my interest.
The story starts off in a small town in the midst of a desert wasteland and expands out into vast kingdoms. The worldbuilding is fantastic giving the reader insight into the political dynamics of these governments as well as some truly beautiful visuals. With an amazing opening sequence of events, Hamilton starts this story off with a decidedly loud bang. Thankfully, she doesn’t stop there. Plenty of high stakes action and adventure into the unknown makes for one hell of a ride.
That brings me to the fantasy elements of the story. I’ve been fascinated with the use of Middle Eastern/Arabian mythology for quite some time especially as its used in works of fiction so this one was right up my alley. The supernatural creatures known as the jinn were the perfect fit for this desert tale. The mythical horse that shifts from sand was a particular favorite of mine. I loved how Hamilton wove these elements into the story slowly, building on them as the narrative went on.
Overall I completely adored Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands? It was a perfect mix of all the things I love. Sass for days, mythical creatures, gun-toting girl trying to pass as a boy. What more could I want? I think the best part of this book though was the journey of discovery, for the world and for one’s self. I definitely recommend this to everyone especially if you love fantasy and I’m super excited for the second installment so I can find out what happens next!
Here’s one of many favorite quotes:
“The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn’t let weakness live.”
So, have you read Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton yet? Excited to jump feet first into the desert? Looking forward to the next book? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!