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.
Oh my! I’ve been waiting to read this book for so long, and when Alwyn sent me a teaser few chapters a couple of months ago and this book has one of the best opening chapters EVER! I was hooked and kicking myself that I hate to wait for it to be released, but alas here I am wanting the next book in the series dammit. I knew I would read it too quickly, and its so frustrating when you don’t want to finish a book because its so damn good and this is how I was feeling throughout. Alwyn has completely blown me away with this new chaotic desert setting.
Our story begins by finding Amani Al’Hiza disguising herself as a boy to take part in a gun shoot-out competition to win some money to escape the dead-end town of Dustwalk and repulsive Uncle who hopes to marry her, so she can escape to Izman and find a distant aunt to take her in and begin a new life. At the shoot-out we meet the mysterious foreigner Jin, who is also taking part in the shoot-out. From meeting Jin within a day Amani finds herself caught up in the uprising against the Sultan and his forces.
I loved the relationship that has blossomed between Jin and Amani- the sexual tension was killing me a few times I confess but I hope if their romance does blossom it isn’t too predictable. Perhaps string it out for as long as possible, playing hard to get in romance books gets my vote!
What stood out for me was to read a fantasy book that wasn’t set in England or America. The Middle East with dijinnis and mythical sand horses was awesome, and it definitely had a bit of a western/cowboy vibe to it which I’m not usually a fan of but it just worked perfectly.
I felt that the author has done a great job in building the character of Amani, she’s brave, sassy and determined to achieve in life but at times she was a little naive but I felt that was to be expected because of her background of helping around her family home and during what is to be expected of a girl her age and within her culture so she wasn’t completely blase and unrealistic. I’m excited to see how she develops and what happens next in her story, whether she’ll get in too deep with the Sultan’s forces and the outcome of herself and Jin.
This book has opened up a whole new world in the fantasy genre and I can’t wait to discover and explore more of this world, witness desert battles, more shoot-out competitions, and learning more of the mythical creatures within the desert. Rebel of the Sands is a brilliant debut novel from the wonderful Alwyn Hamilton who is no doubt a natural storyteller, and I felt I was hanging off every word. Give me book two already!
Oh and can we just gaze at that beautiful cover please?