Rebel of the Sands first caught my attention because of its gorgeous cover.  I think I added it to my list pretty quickly.  Then it was nominated in the Goodreads Book of the Year 2016, and I voted for it on several rounds – until it won!  So I really thought I ought to get around to reading it when I saw it on my library bus.  It was a great start to my reading year.

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the sandsby Alwyn Hamilton

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.[goodreads]

My Review

It starts with a girl pretending to be a boy in a sort of Arabian desert version of Skunk Corners. If you haven’t read the Skunk Corners books, you should.

I was hooked from the start.  There are mysterious strangers, and air of mystery about the girl, an air of deadbeat about her situation.  Amani’s got to get out – and she does in an amazing whirlwind of an episode.  Alwyn Hamilton can write – powerfully, descriptively and full of action sequences that keep you hooked.

The tension the author creates between the two main protags keeps you guessing, although sometimes it seems they will never… or do they?  The pair of them set off on a journey prompted by the rebel cause, and of course Amani is only doing it for her own ends, to free herself from the tyranny of her uncle.  But it’s a tyranny that will not change when she reaches her intended destination.  Her travels teach her that.

Politics riddle this adventure, and I wondered whether my own books in draft could stand comparison. The author writes so well it is almost unnerving.  But even Elly Griffiths can say that of other authors she’s read. Maybe I should just take a leaf from Alwyn’s Hamilton’s book, and get my act together in equally as exciting a way. Different twists, but just as compelling.

add to goodreads buttonIt’s probably YA rather than MG, but I’m sure all the kids are reading kissing and fighting these days. For adults who like a touch of magic and plenty of exotic scenery, it’s brilliant.


a touch of magic and plenty of exotic scenery: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton - it's brilliant #teen Share on X

Book Review | Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
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8 thoughts on “Book Review | Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

  • 9 February, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I’m trying not to add to my TBR list but your review is too tempting – as your writing is.

    • 11 February, 2019 at 9:26 am

      Thanks, Roland 🙂 I’ve given up not adding to my TBR. I decided it just had to stay shorter than my ‘books read’ list (which doesn’t include all of them ever, but still).

      • 11 February, 2019 at 11:14 pm

        That’s a sensible approach so I might try it. It means keeping my TBR list at 521,

  • 10 February, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I read this not too long ago as well. It really was a great book. Hopefully I’ll get around to the sequel later this year. Good review!

    • 11 February, 2019 at 9:24 am

      I’m hoping my reviews are ‘better’ since I read a book on reviewing recently 😉

  • 10 February, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Oh, geez. Now I have to add another book to my TBR list :). And thanks for the shout-out :).

    LIke I have time. In theory, I have plenty of it right now, but I seem to be not getting through much work, or much reading.

  • 15 February, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Not the type to enjoy fantasy reads most of the time, but I know a couple of people who would love this. Also, yeah, that cover is absolutely gorgeous.

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