Monday, March 28, 2016

Review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) 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 has gotten a lot of buzz in the book blogging community recently, and I can see why.  Hamilton’s debut has two elements that have been popular in YA lately: a Western setting and Arabian mythology.  Although I was pleased by how the characters and world in this story grew, it got off to a bit of a slow start.

At the beginning of this book, Amani seemed like a tough girl and Jinn like a typical love interest. Amani is incredibly independent, but something about her and Jinn’s characters both felt like they’d been done before.  Maybe this was because there I felt like there was a bit of instalove happening, or the fact that there was a decent amount of mystery surrounding Jinn at first.  By the end, though, their character arcs felt complete, and once I learned how they fit into this story, they felt much more unique.

While the characterization may have taken some time, readers definitely didn’t have to wait for the action.  I was initially worried that we were getting variations of the same plot point all throughout the story.  About halfway through, though, the world-building really picked up. Hamilton did a great job of making her world feel barren, luscious, and precarious in all of the right places.

I finished Rebel of the Sands feeling satisfied with where the plot had gone, the character development, and the world-building. However, this is a story that I would love to see more of.  As far as they’ve come, Jinn and Amani still have a lot of character growth to go through.  Amani is ambitious and learning to find her way, and I hope there will be a sequel to Rebel of the Sands so I can discover how she and her world continue to evolve.

Disclosure: A friend was kind enough to send me an ARC of this book.

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  3. I'm glad to see an honest review. All the other reviews seem to praise this to high heaven - which always makes me wonder about a book. Can it really be that good? I'm going to add this to my list of books to watch out for! ~ L

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