Rebel of the Sands: Rebel of the Sands (Book 1)
by Alwyn Hamilton
“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.“
Apart from hearing that people loved Rebel of the Sands when it came out last year, I knew nothing about it when I bought it and I did not read the blurb until I was about to open the book. I may have also voted for it on Goodreads as the best debut for 2016, without reading it, but I just knew because of the hype that it was the one to go for, and having just read it, I was not disappointed.
Amani is an orphan living in Last Country, she is also a girl and therefore not worth anything and everything she owns is technically her uncle’s. So she decides to use money that she has stolen from him to enter a shooting competition as a boy, in the next town over (Deadshot is not the place to be), where she meets a mysterious stranger and after escaping with him after things go wrong, she then helps him out the next day, when she did not think she would see him again. Things go a little topsy-turvy, he ends up recusing her and they make a run for it. She drugs him and leaves him behind, when everything catches up with her again and she has to make another escape.
May I just say most of the above takes place in the first 100 pages, and even just the first paragraph had me hooked, I had to stop and read it to my mum because it just draws you into the story and you want to know more straight away. I was laughing at several parts within the first half of the book and even more later on, I almost cried at a few places and I definitely gasped at a few as well. There were so many plot twists, I might have seen one or two coming, but most were a big surprise.
My favourite characters have to be Amani and Jin, with Ahmed, Shazad and Bahi getting there. I love Amani so much, you get to see her grow and you are right there with her trying to survive. Jin, well, what is there to say about Jin? I love him so much, maybe even before Amani did… If that’s possible. All the characters are so well executed, even if it’s a character you see or only a page or so.
I think my favourite part was all of it, it was just so gripping, I did not even put it down to eat lunch, I was reading while eating (not very polite, I know). I read it in a total of 6 hours, this did include stopping every now and then to talk to my mum. I loved having the campfire stories along with actually seeing nightmares and skinwalkers. Also the fact that it is a modern twist on The Arabian Nights, is incredible, I have never read it, but I now want to more than ever.
Rebel of the Sands ends on a cliffhanger, this is because the Rebel of the Sands series continues in Traitor to the Throne (out February 2nd).
While reading Rebel of the Sands, I described it as a girl trying to escape her life and ends up finding her place in the world. I would recommend this book to older teenagers and adults. 5 out of 5.