Friday, February 26, 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton {review}

Rebel of the Sands 
by Alwyn Hamilton
♦publisher: Viking Juvenile
♦release date: March 8th, 2016
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Rebel of the Sands, book 1
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
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: With this awesome debut, a smart mix of middle eastern folklore and sharpshooting western-style adventure, Rebel of the Sands quickly became one of my favorite books of this year and Alwyn Hamilton took her place on my list of authors to pine for more books from. The writing immediately pulled me in as we get dropped right into the action and it just keeps that same exciting pace the entire way through. The second we meet Amani, she is showing her gutsy nature and when we find out why she is so determined (escaping a life of no choices, a cruel family, and an arranged marriage), there was no stopping my cheering this character on.

The plot bullets along, twisting and turning, with no shortage on surprises. I loved the stark desert setting mixed with the wild array of mythological creatures, both good and evil. There is daring escape on a horse made of sand, a high speed train heist, and a battle that plays out with of deception and magic.

 Both Amani and Jin are fun and fiery characters and I was endlessly entertained by what can best be described as their verbal sparring. She had a sassy mouth and Jin matched her in wit every time. While it doesn’t happen too suddenly, you know the spark between them is growing, and watching the slow-burn of it is half the fun! (Of course the other half is the payoff of a few swoony moments!)  The author took as much care fleshing out so many of the side characters, even those that show late in the story---each of them had their strengths and quirks and such distinct personalities.

This is going to be a fantastic series and this debut left me absolutely craving book two!


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.

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Purchase Rebel of the Sands:
 Indiebound   BookDepository  ♦  Amazon


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