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.
“Haven’t you ever wanted something so bad that it becomes more than a want? I need to get out of this town. I need it like I need to breathe..”Rebel of the Sand, Alywn Hamilton
I always enjoy Middle East-inspired fantasy books, and this one is no exception. I also couldn’t believe that I practically inhaled this book in a span of days because of how good it is. If you’re into a East Meets West kind of reader, then you’ll be enjoying this book. While it’s a YA novel, it did not exactly read as YA in terms of wording, plot, and world-building, so I’m giving it some brownie points
Rebel of the Sands started off really strong, especially on the world-building. The Middle East culture was so evident that it was so easy to immerse yourself into it. I loved how the world really played and drove the story forward, so it just did not feel like a setting. The mythology and stories in this world were probably my most favorite parts because it was just so full and lush, and I practically ate it all up every time one springs up. The story-telling aspect of this novel is pure gold.
With a book set heavily in traditional ways of Middle Eastern culture, breaking away from the preconceived notions of a highly conservative society is a difficult task, so I really admired Amani for wanting to do something for herself. The first person POV was a great idea in introducing the struggles that Amani has to face in the entire book, and her path to self-discovery. I do wish we could get the other characters’ POVs in the next books because I feel like their own stories are just as important.
This is a really great book that showcases how one can break down the stringent walls of a society to become something much more than what they expect a person to be. It’s just full of lessons in empowerment and confidence that I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy.
I can’t wait to see how things will turn out in the rest of the books!
“But if knowledge was power, then the unknown was the greatest weakness of immortal things.“Rebel of the Sand, Alywn Hamilton
About The Author
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.