Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Publisher: Faber and Faber Limited
First published: 2016
Edition: Paperback. The cover is gorgeous!
Blurb: Tell me how you want your story to go, he says, 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…
History of my copy: I picked up Rebel of the Sands with my book haul back in May. It was a cover buy accompanied with the fact that bookstagram loves it.
Rebel of the Sands was the kind of book that didn’t keep me up at night needing to finish it, but was gripping enough for me to read only that when I could.
Plot: In Rebel of the Sands, we follow Amani as she makes her plan to leave the dead-end town of Dustwalk. However, when things certainly don’t go to plan, she ends up escaping with a foreigner, who we later discover is called Jin. Together they journey across the perilous desert, but Amani soon becomes caught up in the rebellion, a fight much bigger than what she is used to. Will she, along with many other rebels, be able to save themselves and win their fight?
Setting: For such a dull setting as a desert, I really must congratulate Hamilton’s skill of capturing our attention with it. Without putting us through lengthy paragraphs, she crafts a wonderful world full of magic that weaves together wonderfully. At first, the fantasy element took me by surprise, but soon you’re so wrapped up in Amani’s world that you just fall in love with it.
Characters: Whilst the characters of Rebel of the Sands felt pretty average for a YA book, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. Amani was clearly a very strong lead female and, for once, there was reasoning behind that which didn’t feel fake or forced. Jin was also a great character, especially as his mysterious background was actually a pretty cool twist to the story. I was expecting him to be the lost prince, but thankfully he wasn’t! (That would’ve been so cliché. The truth is much better!) In addition to this, the twist of who Amani is was also a really unexpected twist too!
Furthermore, I truly have to praise Hamilton for creating such a natural relationship between Amani and Jin. It just worked so well, and didn’t distract from the plot. In fact, I’d go so far to say that they were one of the most natural relationships I have ever had the joy of reading, and that certainly added an improvement to the book, taking it away from being a pretty typical YA fantasy/adventure.
To read or not to read: Read. Whilst Rebel of the Sands never hit me with the massive wow factor that many claimed to feel, it certainly got better towards the end and is definitely a very decent book. I look forward to seeing Hamilton develop as a writer!