Title: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, 1)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Faber and Faber (4th February 2016)
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 . . .
An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton is the first book in a new trilogy. It tells the story of Amani Al’Hiza an orphan who lives in a dead end town, where she is beholden to her uncle. Amani dreams of escaping the place she was born, of being able to see the places she has only ever heard about in stories. And this time she might just have a chance to escape.
I really enjoyed REBEL OF THE SANDS. If you are looking for a non-traditional fantasy with the feeling of ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, then you should definitely give this book a try. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I was intrigued from the first page. It was so easy to fall into the story. Hamilton did a great job with world building and I really enjoyed all the different characters I met. By the time I reached the end of the book I was wondering if it was a standalone novel or not, because on the one hand I want to see more of this world but on the other the story felt pretty complete by the time I reached the end. So I’m happy to know, having checked Goodreads, that there are probably two more books to go. I can’t wait!
REBEL OF THE SANDS is narrated by Amani. I thought she was a good, believable narrator, and I think it worked well in terms of the plot to have the story told directly by her. I’m not always a fan of first person narration, but in this particular case I thought it worked well. I also think Hamilton did a fantastic job telling the story. At no point did I feel like I was being lead, or that there were info dumps. Hamilton did a brilliant job of telling me what I needed to know to understand.
Amani is the narrator and she is also the main character of the story, and I really liked her – which is probably why I enjoyed her as a narrator. I thought she was brave and compelling, and at times a little foolish but I liked that she had flaws. I thought the secondary characters were well written, and seemed real – like they were there for more than just moving the plot along. The story does focus mainly on Amani though, and I enjoyed watching her grow as the book progressed. The other character that I thought was interesting, if a bit flat at times, was the “foreigner with no name”. I particularly enjoyed the interactions between them and Amani, and the effect they had on one another.
I enjoyed the way Hamilton handled the plot of REBEL OF THE SANDS. I thought it was well written and quite compulsive – although I didn’t find it difficult to put the book down, I did fly through the book. This is like the third time I’ve attempted to write this paragraph because I don’t want to spoil anyone, so sorry that this is a bit vague but every time I try and give a little more detail it veers into spoiler territory. It really is worth going into REBEL OF THE SANDS without any real idea, except the blurb, what’s going on.
REBEL OF THE SANDS is a brilliant read, and I am super glad that it’s the first book in a series (but also super bummed I’ve got to wait until 2017 for the next book). If you are a fan of the fantasy genre, but want something a little different then definitely check this book out. Even if you don’t want something a little different you should definitely give this a try, it might surprise you.