Rebel Of The Sands – Alwyn Hamilton

  “They said the only folk who belonged to Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good. I wasn’t up to no good. Then again, I wasn’t exactly up to no bad, neither.”

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Blurb: “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.

There is no denying that there was a lot of hype around this book leading up to the release. It seemed like everyone was talking about it and I was on the outside. Truthfully, I had no interest in this book. The initial premise was something that just didn’t seem like something I would invest my time in. When it was out in the world, I saw people who had been waiting months to read it, leaving their experiences disappointed and mixed. So that only put me off reading it even more.

But I took a trip to my local library and there was a copy of it on the shelves so I figured, why not see for myself why so many people had issues with it. Dear readers, I have never been more wrong about a book. In the simplest of words, I adored every single word from start to finish.

The story opens with the protagonist, Amani, taking part in a shooting competition while disguised as a boy. The prize is enough money to escape her miserable life in Dustwalk. Here she meets a boy she calls “foreigner” as his looks clearly show he is not from around the city. Through a series of events they end up escaping together.

Alwyn Hamilton provides various histories of the world and sets out the blueprints of how everything works from myths to realities. She does it in a way that is so elegant and so perfectly interwoven that every bit of information placed in front of you feels real. While the bulk of the story takes place in a barren desert land, it felt like I was there alongside the characters when reading. It just felt believable. I didn’t expect some aspects of this book to be so harsh and brutal but it just added to the rawness of the world Alywn has built up.

A lot of readers seemed to have issues with the middle section, finding it slow. I felt like there was enough transition between events to keep me interested in reading.

I contacted Alwyn while reading this book and learnt that it is the first in a trilogy. I’m not sure if this story can stretch that far, I see it more as a duology but I will be there when the next book comes out.
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