Rebel of the Sands (Review)

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Page Length: 314 pages
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

About Rebel of the Sands (via Goodreads):

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 mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.
Rebel of the Sands was a wonderful whirlwind of a story. It took me on a gunslinging, fast-paced adventure through the deserts of Miraji, and it was a glorious adventure to tag along on. The characters were all so unique, sassy, and genuinely fun to read about and I never got bored with them around. I also loved learning about the world, especially the fantastical elements like the Djinni and Demdji. It was so fascinating to me, and I couldn't get enough.

The secondary characters were fascinating to learn about. I don't want to go into too much detail about them because of spoilers, but they were truly extraordinary and wonderful, in more ways than one. (I'm sorry for being so vague, but if I say much more, I'm honestly worried I'd spoil the plot.)

As for the main characters, Amani was a bold and brilliant protagonist. She was definitely a bit sassy, but I loved her for it. Sometimes characters can be a bit too sassy (to the point where it gets annoying), but she had just the right amount of it. Overall, I absolutely loved her as a character, even though she did do pull some crazy stunts that I didn't necessarily agree with. She was always standing up for herself and continued to be so strong and brave throughout, and her strength only increased as the story progressed. Her transformation was subtle at first, but by the end, she ultimately proved herself and found herself a true family and a place in the world.

And then there's Jin. Where do I even start with him? He's just amazing. Truly. I absolutely adored him from the start. He's indescribable, but is probably one of my favorite characters. I honestly don't even know what word could capture his glory. I suppose glorious, but even that isn't saying enough. He did have his share of secrets, but he had a heart of gold and was willing to fight for everyone he cared about, even if it put his life at risk. I suppose that sounds like a lot of other characters, but I swear, Jin is one of a kind.

I loved the relationship between Amani and Jin. What made it really refreshing was that it started as a friendship/partnership at first and then developed into a romance. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like those types of relationships don't happen that much anymore. Throughout the entirety of the book, they were a great team and (almost) always had each other's back. I loved that their romance didn't get in the way of their friendship. Instead, it was an extension of their existent relationship.

There was a tiny bit of an info-dump toward the beginning of the book and there were a few parts where I was confused by what was going on, but overall the plot and story was captivating and riveting from start to finish. I was swept away by Hamilton's storytelling, characters and world-building. I was craving a high-stakes, action-packed desert adventure, and Hamilton delivered just that and more in Rebel of the Sands.

Rating: 3.5 stars


  1. I have heard so much good stuff about this book.

  2. I just finished this book. Still scarred by the fact it ended. I hope to review it in the next few weeks.
    Jin <3

    A.S. Damea @ Reviewing Dreamer