Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Length: 358 pages
Published on 4th February 2016 by Faber & Faber
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Alwyn Hamilton: Website | Tumblr |Twitter | Goodreads
Received from Joel as part of the Travelling Books and Tea Project

Synopsis:
“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It’s not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al’Hiza must call it ‘home’.

Amani wants to escape and see the world she’s heard about in campfire stories.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run.

But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan’s army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion…

An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.

Rebel of the Sands was a bit of a weird book for me because I enjoyed the start of the book but by the end, and now, looking back on the start it doesn’t seem to great compared to the rest which makes writing this a little odd.

On reflection it seems a little slow and info-dumpy but at the time I didn’t really notice that so shrug its probably ok.

We’re first introduce to Amani as the protagonist – she is great and an even better shot – which not all expect her to be as shes female. This story is about her fighting for her freedom, and eventually the freedom of the people.

After being introduce to Amani and learning about her not so great life and her plan to escape it quickly becomes clear that there is more than what meets the eye in this world as there is talk of Djinn, magic, and sand-horse (which definitely had a name but I’m not a note taker so oops sorry). This left me hoping that the talk of magic was real and we’d be introduced to even more magical elements for a fair bit of the book, and I’m super lucky because that’s exactly what I got.

Whilst Amani is on the run with a gunslinger she meets at the start of the book it becomes clear to her and the readers that magic is alive and well throughout many of the rebels. It becomes a vital catalyst for why there is such tension within the Kingdom and why the Sultan isn’t exactly in favour any more.

I hate giving away too much of stories in reviews but the last half of this book has stuck with me so much that its eclipsed the first half and made it basically impossible for me to try and talk about how interesting the story was whilst Amani and the gunslinger. Jin, travelled together.

Amongst the rebels is the Rebel Prince they’re all fighting for, who just so happens to be be Jin’s brother, and a lot of Demdji (those who have magic). Meeting the Demdji and learning about their powers, what they’ve been through, and just generally how this opened up the story a lot more.

I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get a lot of interaction from the Rebel Price, it’d have been nice to just see him present a bit more but it makes sense in a way as this is Amani and Jin’s story. That just so happens to be helping the Rebel Prince move forward.

The action in this book was well written and its what eclipsed the first half of the book for me. There are some really intense fight (and action w/out fighting) scenes that happened which I’d honestly love to see come to life.

& if you haven’t already kind of guessed then yes a romance does bloom between Amani and Jin but its handled in a nice way, it isn’t instant, and its even by the end of the book I wouldn’t say its completely finished developing. The trust they have in each other is very important and you can tell its what helped keep them alive on their long journey, and no doubt a very long one in front of them.

4 stars / 5 stars

I look forward to getting my own copy of this book and reading the rest of the series.

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