Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton
Note: I’m not sure how my bookstore had these in stock a whole month before they were published, but anyway, many thanks to the Selexys Dominicanen Bookstore in Maastricht for selling a batch of 5 of these books so early! ^-^
This book comes out on March 8th.
Hey all! I just finished reading Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton! This was one of the books I was highly anticipating! I tried to get it on Netgalley, winning copies in giveaways... you name it, I tried it! But I’m so glad I finally got a copy and read it, it didn’t disappoint!
(Omg that cover though!!! *-*)
"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.”
Okay so now the hardest part - where to start.
This story was so beautifully written! It’s easy to get lost in the words (in a good way!) and to just let them carry you through the book. It isn’t that conventional type of writing where it basically spells things out for you. It’s very subtle, but it makes you pay more attention to the words so that you don’t miss anything. For example, where many books may say “He held out his hand. I took it without hesitation” or something, the writing style here was more fluid. I can’t find the page right now, but somewhere it says something along the lines of
“He stuck his hand out. ‘stick together?’
My hand fit well in his”
I dunno, I just appreciated that more subtle style of writing. Not only that, but the words were so carefully chosen, and the way it was all written made the whole book so fluid to read! (What I mean by carefully chosen is that just certain tiny implications have a consequence at the end of of the book, when.... (see spoiler section!) )
Now, I don’t know much about desert/middle eastern mythology, but I felt like the storyline and the plot were so unique! The beginning almost made it seem contemporary, and then, continuing with that feeling in mind, you come across magic and fantasy. I loved the magical realism created!
Basically, the story goes like this: Amani is a young girl in a ‘wed or dead’ society, where women have very little rights and freedoms, and where everything is uber-restricted for them, whereas men have all the liberties. Well, mostly. This town, Dustwalk, sees nothing wrong in shooting others. Living with her aunt and uncle after her parents died, she only wants one thing - to run away from the town, to go to the capital city. She needs money for this, so disguises herself as a boy and uses her shooting skills to get money.
Only then, things don’t go as planned. She meets a ‘foreign stranger’, and they end up going on an exodus through the desert.
I don’t want to say much more because of spoilers, but trust me when I say, the story is beautiful!
Now for the characters!
Amani - Okay yeah, she’s a rebel! She has an incredible rebellious fire in her that almost constantly shines through. She is secretive, determined... and tricky. She is smart but in her own way. She’s such a great protagonist, too! It was nice not to read about a typical female protagonist, that can be somewhat clumsy and needy. Amani can do things on her own, but chooses not to at times. In this book, where men have a sense of superiority, she beats them at so much!
Jin - This guy is so cool! He’s a sailor and (spoiler section!). He is somewhat cryptic and mysterious, but also comforting and sarcastic at times. He also seemed, somehow, both careful and dangerously brave and crazy. I thought he was awesome!
(There’s a lot of other characters that have more or less importance, but I don’t have much more time to write, I have quite a bit of readings to do for class.)
- Jin is a prince!? I love how utterly unexpected that is! I had no idea I was reading a book that would tie Amani to royalty like that, but I loved it! But what’s cooler: he’s a rebel prince, like his brother! Just yes!
- Near the end of the book, you find out that Amani isn’t totally human! She’s a Demdji, a mix of human and Djinn, some kind of spirit. They have powers, and she realizes that she’s practically a sand-bender. But it’s so great because you don’t suspect it at all throughout the book, until Jin puts the puzzle pieces together, leaving you, as a reader, completely dumbfounded.
- I have to admit it - even though it isn’t exactly funny, at one chapter near the beginning, two guys propose to Amani - her ‘enemy’, Fazim who just wants to be rich and threats her to accept it, and her best friend, who wants to protect her. The best friend - Tamid - is such a sweetie! ^-^ I was so sad when he got shot, but we don’t really know if he died or not.
Have you read Rebel of the Sands yet? What did you think? Let me know! :D
Also, does anyone know if there will be a second book? This one seems to open up to the possibility, but I’m not sure, I sure hope there’s one!
I’m giving this a 4.5/5 feathers!