22 March, 2016


Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Source: Paperback
Pages: 352

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SYNOPSIS: "Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go 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.

This was one of the most anticipated books of 2016 (along with hundreds of others) and I first loved it because it also featured Arabian mythology, adventures, badass characters... since I loved The Wrath and the Dawn I figured this one could be just as good and I wasn't mistaken!

THE WORLD: In this book we go to a fictitious middle eastern (north african?) empire called Miraji. The rest of the countries and nations are featured as well under names such as Xicha (China), Ionian Peninsula (Greece), Gallen (France), and Jarpoor (India).

CHARACTERS: The main character is Amani Al'Hiza, a 17 year old girl from Dustwalk which is some kind of isolated place in the heart of Miraji. She's living with her uncle and aunt since her mother died but her life is miserable and all Amani wants is to make it out that place and head to the capital of the empire, Izman. In order to do so she comes up with a plan... that goes wrong, of course. Before everything goes down she meets a boy, the boy's name is Jin and together they go on to a great adventure. A messed up adventure.

There are more characters introduced after the first half of the book but if I mention them I could spoil things early on and I prefer not to do that. I will describe them when reviewing the second book, okay?

LOVE: There is not much love. It's mostly about the adventure and the struggles but we get some romantic hints.

PLUS: How about everything? I loved this book so much! The theme and the mythology are great, confusing at first, but great nonetheless. Here's a quick guide to the desert's creatures taken from the official website:
Djinnis - One of God’s First Beings: men made of out of smokeless fire. The true rulers of the desert, their powers are both great and mysterious. Travellers are warned to not trespass on their domain or disturb them in the desert. And to always be polite to strangers lest they be a Djinni in disguise.
Buraqi - A horse fashioned out of sand and wind, the Buraqi run wild from one side of the desert to the other. They may appear as black as the sand of a cool desert night or as brilliant red as a bloody dawn over a sand dune.
Rocs - Great birds the size of palaces that can darken the sun with their wings.
Nightmares - A breed of Ghoul that remains in the sands like an infestation, coming out only at night. These creatures stalk sleeping on the wings of a bat, with the maw of a monster. They crouch on a man’s chest to inject him with venom that infects his mind and body, sending him into a terrible sleep.
Skinwalkers - If the Skinwalkers have a shape their own it has long been forgotten, as they shift their form from that of one victim to another. A Skinwalker is known to devour the flesh of an unsuspecting desert traveller, and then assume his form to prey on the rest of his travelling party.
As you can tell just by this guide the book was ought to be amazing! Am I right? Yes, of course.

I also loved the plot and world building, to be honest for a first book Alwyn did a great job describing the world almost in depth, not just the basics. I'm looking forward to more in the second and third books though.

What more? The characters! Amani is a great female lead character and although she's a bit more reckless than me I found myself following her thoughts and understanding her choices because hey, the desert is hard and doesn't forgive. And then we have Jin, he's as great as Amani but we don't get to know him as much... he's so secretive! 

Get ready for the PLOT TWIST!

MINUS: The end. How could you leave me wanting more? Why? I need the second book right now! (I know it's not really a minus but...)

OVERALL: 4.5-5 stars. Amazing book overall, great characters, an interesting story, gorgeous and deadly mythical creatures, it has everything :)
I cannot wait to read the next two books! Gimme!


What did you guys think about REBEL OF THE SANDS?