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Rebel of the Sands Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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PRAISE FOR Rebel of the Sands:
“Romantic, thrilling, hilarious, and just plain great fun.”--Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“This atmospheric fantasy combines magic, mythology, and the Wild West to create a riveting tale...an exciting, romantic adventure that is unique and all its own.”--Starred Review, Booklist
“If the best of the Old West and the coolest parts of Arabian Nights had a baby who then rebelled by going steampunk, the result would be this gem of a book.” --Starred Review, BCCB
“Readers will be drawn into the story and won’t want to put this book down.” --Starred Review, School Library Connections
“Rebel of the Sands is a winning bit of storytelling, as well as a homage to storytelling itself. It evokes such disparate influences — 1,001 Arabian Nights, Hindu lore and Navajo myth, as well as, inevitably, the triumvirate of Tolkien, Lucas and Rowling — that at times you wonder whether Hamilton can pull it all off. She can. She has circled a spot on the map and claimed it for her own.” --The New York Times Book Review
“Debut author Hamilton combines elements of Western and Middle Eastern civilization and lore with her own mythology, crafting an enticing, full-bodied story . . . successfully mingles romance with thrilling stakes, and hints at a welcome sequel.” --Publishers Weekly
“A perfect combination of American Westerns and Arabian myths . . . Fans of Sarah Maas and Victoria Aveyard should give this one a try.” --VOYA
“Rebel of the Sands is vivid, romantic, and wildly entertaining. You will cheer for Amani the whole way as she escapes the bonds of oppression and finds her own power, and you will mark your calendar for the sequel.” --Rae Carson, bestselling author of the Fire & Thorns trilogy
“Buckle up for a wild ride! Rebel of the Sands is a stunning debut full of irresistible energy, heart-stopping action, and a new voice that sings.” --Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona
About the Author
Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study history of art at King’s College, and then to London, where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves quite so often. Follow her @AlwynFJH.
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Rating: 4 Stars
So the story follows Amani, a girl who grew up in the gunpowder city in the desert of Dustwalk. She'd taught herself to shoot with the best of guys in secret feeling herself with a pistol in her hands. The world is rules by mortals but Gene used to roam free with their magical off spring, djinni, and other magical creatures roaming around the desert. There are millions of stories about them and the past and Amani knows them all. Stuck under her Uncles care after her mother was hung she is bound and determined to escape and make it to her mothers home, the place she talked about so often. She meets Jin, a handsome foreigner who is also pretty good with a gun in a contest she is trying to win to secure funds for her travel. Things change and she is forced to adjust her plans. Jin seems like a better means of escape, fleeing from the Sultan's army with a treasonous fugitive who will help her figure out her place and who she really is.
I liked the idea of this story from the start giving me an Aladdin vibe. While I'm not a huge fan of deserts in person as I don't like the heat, sun, or sand I like reading about them. Following Amani and Jin on this journey was full of exciting moments. The scenery was well described with the different towns and the methods of travel. I really found myself captivated as it felt like the desert. Despite the magic it felt realistic, the fact that they were in the desert and the strain that puts on a person was never forgotten and that is always a plus.
Still like many books for me I fell in love with the characters. Amani was kick butt. She wasn't happy with her situation and what was to happen to her so she changed things. She took charge and wasn't going to let anyone made decisions about her life for her just because she is a SHE. Even as she starts to develop feelings for Jin she doesn't let that cloud her judgment completely but simply a factor to be considered along with all the other options. I respected her for that. Jin, I had my ups and downs with him at times but far more ups to be sure. I liked his attitude form the beginning and most important is he doesn't underestimate her simply for being a female. He never considers her weak but instead expects more of her knowing her grit. I also adored some of the others as we got to meet them as the story progressed.
The story morphs from one of escape to one of rebellion and I love it. I enjoyed how the story had lots of twists and turns and always kept the pace moving. It walked a line of real and magical well as there would be times when you don't realize the world has magic until you are faced with a magical sand horse or a djinni who can use their powers. It's like a world within a world and I love it. The political aspect of the Sultan and the Rebel Prince, the foreigner soldiers that practically rule nation taking what they are allowed and more.
Plot: Amani was just trying to survive the Dustwalk the only way she knew how: placing bets and avoiding her aunt and uncle. After meeting a handsome stranger, she found herself in the middle of the fight between kingdoms and royalty.
I fell in love from the start. Rebel of the Sands opened with action, mythological creatures, and the legend of a rebel prince. Everything about this book screamed 'adventure' and I knew that I was going to have to devour the rest of this series. While I had a mostly positive experience while reading Rebel of the Sands, I was taken out of the story for the middle chunk of it. My attention was waning and I felt that Amani was being inconsistent as a character. Luckily, the last 50 or so pages really picked up with twists and turns that I couldn't predict.
Characters: Amani was nothing short of a firecracker. I was a bit turned off by her because she was "not like the other girls" because of her (foreigner) blue eyes. For a good portion of the novel, that did annoy me but after a while, I understood the author's intent. Other than that, I loved Amani and her refusal to let her family choose her future. The mysterious Jin was charming and elusive and I'm excited to see how he and Amani grow together.
Worldbuilding: I was instantly drawn into the world of Rebel of the Sands. It was filled with tension, desperate people, and an unmistakable air of magic. I loved how much of a role the djinn played and how clearly the iron industry was threatening the magic of this realm. I mentioned earlier that I'm a sucker for desert fantasy, and Rebel of the Sands made me giddy while reading.
Short N Sweet: Rebel of the Sands was not a perfect novel, but it was fun!
On the way, Amani discovers kin and kinship, mysteries and mayhem, and discovers she can make just a bit of history herself with a little help from her new friends. Hamilton moves us in a book that tempts us to the next book and quick re-readings to jump into the adventure once more and to savor her underlying commentaries on the human condition in all their pain and joy.
Awesome story that I'm so glad a friend recommended to me. Looking forward to great things from this author.