Author: Alwyn Hamilton
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She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands. Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.
Rebel of the Sands is a book that takes place in the desert nation of Miraji. It's a world of myth and magic, where mythical creatures still roam and legend has it the djinni are still very much alive. It has an Arabian Nights/Aladdin feel to it in one way, but then has a very Western feel to it as well. Our lead character, Amani, a sharp shooter who is amazing with a pistol, has big dreams of leaving the town of Dustwalk behind and making a life for herself somewhere (anywhere) else. It's during a pistol shooting competition that she meets Jin, a mysterious stranger who is wanted for treason. Together they go on a journey through the desert, fighting immortal creatures and slowly falling for one another.
Characters are important to a story, they are especially important to how much I love a story. I fell so in love with the characters in this book and didn't want to leave them once I had completed the book. I thought Amani was such a positive female character, she was smart, strong, determined and amazing with a pistol. She could do her fair share of kicking ass, but wasn't so unbelievably strong that she didn't feel realistic. Jin was a strong character too, but in his own way and they complimented each other very well and worked as a team. I have a soft spot for so many secondary characters too, who each had something unique to add to the story. I am so excited to continue the series and be reunited with these characters.
I was especially thrilled with the world building in this book. I have commented many times on how hard I can struggle to visualise a world. It takes a special kind of writer to really bring a world to life for me, but Hamilton completely managed it here. I could imagine the whole world perfectly, even all of the mythical creatures we meet. I was completely fascinated by the Buraqi, a magical horse that can only be made mortal and captured by a woman.
I have to comment on the romance.... I ADORED IT! (Can you tell I loved this book?!?) I just couldn't get enough of the relationship between Jin and Amani. There is not one bit on insta love here, thank god. It is a romance that builds very slowly and actually requires our characters to get to know one another. It is the kind of slow burn romance that I adore, those are always my favourite in any book. The romance here just felt so believable and I was shipping these two so hard.
Do you know that feeling where you finish a book and just want to hug it because it was so awesome? But then you also want to cry because it's over and you want more? And then go sit in a corner, rocking back and forth like a mad person, waiting for the next book to come out? Do you know it? DO YOU!?!? If you don't, just read Rebel of the Sands and you soon will. I am beyond desperate for book two and I don't know how I am actually expected to hold out for it. If you only pre-order one book this year then I would definitely make it this one. If this is Hamilton's debut novel then, I truly can't wait to see what she accomplishes in future books.
* I received a copy of this book through LoveReading4Kids in exchange for an honest review.