ARC Review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton10:00
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Published February 4th 2016 by Faber & Faber
"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 Amani's home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.
Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan's enemies are on the rise.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.
Wow, just wow! This book was everything I wanted it to be, and more. I've been dying for this book since I first heard about it on twitter last summer, I think, and I preordered my copy because I just knew I'd need it on release day. When I got the email off NetGalley saying that the publisher had granted my wish to read it, I was overjoyed! I technically shouldn't have read it yet, as (while I'm writing this) I'm supposed to be revising for my three exams in the next few weeks. But I reckon I deserve some downtime, right? And anyway, I read the book in less than 24 hours, so it hasn't interrupted my studying too much.
In Rebel of the Sands, Amani is a girl desperate to leave her desolate home town. Following the death of her mother less than a year ago, she has been living with her cruel aunt and uncle, and her many cousins, and is treated like dirt. She has been scrimping and saving everything she can to escape, and time is running out. As she enters a shooting contest - disguised as a boy, of course - she encounters a foreigner, who opens up the opportunity, and the distraction, to escape. Obviously, she takes it. As she's running for her life from her old village, she grows closer to the stranger, and ends up in even more danger than she could have imagined.
Amani was wonderful! There's no other way to describe her. She's dealt with a lot of hardship throughout her life, being the only child of her parents, and a daughter no less, and she's had to come to terms with being unwanted. She taught herself to shoot, and was a bloody good teacher - she's basically the best shot in the whole of Dustwalk. Once her mother is killed, and she is sent to her aunt's, her life gets even worse, and she's basically a slave. Her uncle ends up deciding that she is due to get married off, maybe even to him (eww, sick!), and she has no other choice than to leave as soon as she can. I honestly do no know what I would have done if I was in her shoes - she's built of strong stuff! She was never helpless, and I admired her for her compassion and want to help others. I think I'm a bit in love with her, and can't wait to see how she grows in book 2.
The whole world and mythology that Hamilton created was outstanding. I really felt like I was a part of the book, and it wasn't chock full of info dump after info dump. Rather, the information came through in a gradual manner, but I never felt like I was lost about what was happening. The stories about the Djinni felt like proper folk tales, as if they had history behind them.
The other characters, but especially Jin, were a nice bunch of different personalities. None of them will ever live up to Amani, but I'm biased that way. For a lot of the book, the only people I really cared about were Amani and Jin, as the people back home in Dustwalk were all awful, except for maybe Tamid, Amani's best friend. Once they met up with the gang of rebels, as the name suggests, I was blown away by how much I was invested in them all. They seem to be a proper family unit.
Jin was swoony. His and Amani's interactions, right from the very beginning, were full of emotion and tension, and I was dying for them to spend even more time together, if that was even possible. Not everything between them went smoothly, but I liked the angst. With how the book ended, I'm looking forward to a lot more swooniness between them.
The twist towards the end was something unexpected. I'm not going to give much away, but I couldn't believe it, even when it was there in front of me. I can see it have so many consequences for the future, and this book has merely set the stage for a much bigger problem. The baddies in the book all deserve their comeuppances, and I look forward to them suffering in later books ;)
If I hadn't known this was Hamilton's debut novel, I would've thought she was a seasoned author. I am just in awe with how awesome she is! I seriously can not wait to read more from her, and I would urge you all to buy this now, so you can see for yourself how fabulous her writing is. She has definitely gone on my 'must buy' list, and I would say she'll be on yours too, once you read this.