Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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I won this copy of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton from Allen and Unwin last year and finally got around to read it after hearing many great things (yay!). The fabulous team from Allen and Unwin also sent me the sequel of this book – Traitor to the Throne, which is on my April TBR (look out for its review soon!).

Synopsis:

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.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I enjoyed this book! It took me a few chapters to really get into it – the world building, the character development and plot line are all nicely written. The main character, Amani, is headstrong, thriving and brave – I love strong female characters so this is a plus. Reading from her POV was interesting, because there is always SO MUCH going on at the same time and I find some scenes can be quite fuzzy at times.

The romantic aspect is there, although not the amount I was expecting. I would have liked more development on Amani and Jin’s relationship because it all seems too rushed. However, I thoroughly enjoyed every scenes shared between these two, as they started from being pure strangers to trusting each other with their lives. I hope the sequel will do them more justice.

What I really LOVE about this book: the fighting scenes. I am a huge sucker for this stuff and Hamilton really nailed those – especially the ones involving the mythical creatures and fights involving magical powers. The author did a brilliant job in creating her own version of myths and stories. Demji, a creature from this book, kind of reminds me to a Warlock from Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Novels. They both carry similar “marks” but their powers are very different and Demji’s power is specific.

Personally, I often find books containing violence towards women a bit daunting to read. But this time around it wasn’t a problem for me, because there’s this strong, honest female character and I appreciate the author for portraying her this way. #GirlsSavingtheDay

This book is beautifully written and jam-packed with magic AND there’s a little surprise to do with Amani that comes out later in the book (that I didn’t see coming). I usually can predict those things coming but NOT THIS TIME AROUND! I recommend this book if you want some good mythical, desert-setting story with a head-strong female lead! I am keen to read the sequel and look out for a review soon!

That’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed reading this review! xx

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