Review: Rebel of the Sands (#1) by Alwyn Hamilton

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A sharpshooter. A dreamer. A damn good liar.
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 a mythical horse or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew. 

This book is one of those I picked up years ago, read a bit and decided to put down. At the time, I just couldn’t get into the story and knew I would get more out of it at another time. And luckily, I was right! I still understand why I didn’t get into this the first time, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. I bought this whole series as it came out as they have absolutely stunning covers and I felt confident I would enjoy the story at a different time! Now I’ve read a lot more fantasy, I felt a lot less daunted by this series. I buddy read this with Alex which was so much fun! We’re reading the whole series together over the next few weeks which I’m really excited for.

I still felt like the start of this book definitely threw me in at the deep end and felt a little bit of an odd place to start. This book starts in an intense scene and I understand why I put it down the first time. However, after 50 pages ago, the first scene ends and it also felt like the book was starting again. It’s hard to explain, but the start of the next ‘day’ in the book felt like a fresh start to the story and look at Amani.

Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. 

I really enjoyed reading about Amani as a female main character, who was determined, strong and individual. The romance took a real backseat to the story which I enjoyed, and I felt like it didn’t take anything away from Amani as an individual. The world building was spot on and the world felt so tangible. I could picture it so clearly and it felt like such a rich description.

I also enjoyed reading about the diverse cast of characters, especially Amani and Jin. But later on in the story, I liked the group of friends who had a ‘found family’ feel to them! I really enjoyed the plot and this book just felt like it had more and more to give. I also found the writing really easy to read and felt it was a brilliant way of writing a high fantasy novel. It felt accessible which is exactly what I want from fantasy!

Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.

I’m so glad that I’ve finally started to read this series and it definitely gave me a pleasant surprise after I put it down all those years ago. I’m looking forward to reading more of the series and I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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4 thoughts on “Review: Rebel of the Sands (#1) by Alwyn Hamilton

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