Synopsis (From GoodReads):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.
Review:I have been an active blogger now, since July of last year and so I have watched to hype for Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton grow to a frenzy. I was not fortunate enough to obtain an ARC of this coveted book, so I ordered it as soon as it was released. I read it quickly and I can honestly say that it is as good as I anticipated.
What I Liked:
The Universe:I love fantasy books, so really enjoyed the new universe that Rebel Of The Sands created. The setting seemed to be a mix of Arab landscapes and cultures mixed with the the American Industrial Age of the 1800's. I enjoyed discovering how the society was structured and the various players vying for power.
The Characters:Amani is the kind of self-made person I enjoy following. She is a self-taught master gunslinger. But what is interesting is that her skills are actually holding her back! I don't want to give away any plot revelations, but I found this to be delightful. I also appreciated that she was not another "chosen one". I am so over that trope! Instead, Amani must understand how she can fit into an already established group to achieve her dreams. Amani is finding her "tribe", something that many people who are a little bit different must do.
Jin is a bit of a cliche (the handsome stranger), but the book does a good job of not falling into the trap of love/hate at first sight. Jin and Amani get to know each other as the book progresses. Both characters test each other and there are several misunderstandings that they must overcome before they can possibly get together.
The Plot Twists:Obviously, I do NOT want to give away any spoilers. So I will just say that the story had some twists that I didn't see coming! There were fun revelations, and surprising turns as the group goes through one adventure after another.
What I Didn't Like:
I thought the beginning of the story started out very slowly. If I am eagerly awaiting a book, I try very hard to NOT read spoilers. So I really didn't know any specifics about the novel going in. As I started reading, I wasn't sure if I was reading a story about the American Old West, the Middle East, a fantasy novel, or what. I wish the story could have started out with more of a bang to establish it's universe more quickly.
That is really the only criticism I have for this book! With a debut such as this, Alwyn Hamilton will be an author I will eagerly follow in the years to come.
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Source: Bought by me
Recommendation: For lovers of YA fantasy, this is a creative, fun start to a series I think should be wildly successful.