Rebel of the Sands
Fantasy & Paranormal
March 8, 2016
The New York Times bestselling novel by the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Author of 2016, published in 15 countries! 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. This startlingly original Middle-East-meets-Wild-West fantasy 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 embracing her power.
I read this book mainly because it was on the Goodreads Choice Awards list…and there was a ton of hype around it. While i enjoyed the book overall, there were quite a few things about it that made the reading feel like running in 3 feet of water.
The first issue i had was with the main protag, Amani. I sorta liked her, in the beginning, but as soon as she left her best (and crippled) friend for dead, i was done with her. I further figured out how selfish she was when she left Noorsham behind, after saying she would help him (which ended up royally biting her in the ass). She even left Jin… Sigh. I just didn’t like her character.
Another thing i didnt like was all the drinking. One particular thing that erked me was when they were playing “drinking games” with the twins….seeing how just a chapter or two earlier the twins were describe as “boys” and came off as like 8 or 10. I just cant condone that.
Im also not sure how much i like the western theme… Im not sure how accurate that is compared to the real lifestyles of that area.
The story wasnt all bad though. I really like the journey and adventure of the book…i just wished i liked the other parts better to fully enjoy the book. It took me many weeks to read, mainly because i lost interest and started reading other stuff. I finally just read through it so i could be done and not have to think about it anymore.
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.
Overall, I found this book quite intriguing and would recommend it for older teens looking for diversity in their reading...i would caution against it for younger readers because it has some violence and a bunch of underage drinking. I'm considering reading book two...but my dislike for the main character may prevent it.