Title: Rebel Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamiltion
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.
Alwyn Hamilton did amazing job with the voice in this book. Her heroine, Amani, captured me right away. She was unique and relatable. She was tough for sure, but she did not fall into the trap of unrealistic YA tough-girl protagonists who can slay any boy down in her path. Amani had her flaws, her uncertainties, and her insecurities. But what made her toughness real is what she used it for–her freedom. This made sense to me, and I rooted for her all the more for it.
I refuse to give any spoilers but the discovery of her later gifts and identity fall perfectly into place. Hamilton has us asking questions and discovering things at just the right time. I love a story that unfolds in such a way that we later look back and realize it was already laid out before us! *Kudos.
Another major thing I loved about Hamilton’s writing were her prose. There was nothing cliche about it! Her use of language, metaphors, and description were so fresh it kept me reading just for that. I’d recommend it to writers just to study how she used new ways of showing and not telling.
As for the plot, it was unpredictable and kept crescendoing until the end. She did not commit the YA sins that I despise, mainly insa-love. The love story was so organic, built on friendship and true appreciation of each other, I loved it. *That said, there was a bit of drama later 🙂
Her setting was super enthralling. It was exotic and rich. Her mythlogy and mixture of religions made her world believable and interesting. As for the way she wrote it, she left a lot explained–it left the reader thinking about and exploring the country and culture like a real tourist. I appreciated the thought I needed to use to put her world together.
Totally recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Traitor to the Throne.
Nova, signing off.