I believe money and guns get you a lot further in a war than magic these days. – Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Rebel of the Sands is fast pace, full of action, excitement and, of course, rebellion. Very well written and perfect to engage any YA reader who is struggling to find a book that really grabs their attention.
For me, the quote above really sums up the book. Also, it’s ironic and I love irony.
In this novel we follow the dessert hardened Amani as she leaps from trains, grabs passing magical horses and shoots impossible shots of bottles off walls all in her desperate attempt to be free of her run down, boring town of a home, Dustwalk. She’s a gun slinging protagonist I can really get behind.
Alwyn Hamiliton is an amazing writer. The book captured me from the start and I’d finished it in a matter of days. If you’re in a reading slump and just need something to get you back into books again then I recommend this (I also recommend it if you’re not in a slump, because it’s amazing). It’s fast pace, quick, and you’ll be glad to know the romance isn’t the entirety of the plot. 100% love triangle free.
The premise isn’t exactly new. There’s an awful regime in charge, a strong, teen, female protagonist and an unbelievably good looking love interest. Ok it’s a bit familiar to Katniss, Tris and the rest of the line up. BUT it is done well. It’s got it’s own spin- there’s a dessert and magic and, as far as I can tell, there’s been no collapse of civilisation as we know it so it’s not dystopian. Maybe it’s following the set formula of a YA novel for today’s readers, but it’s a pretty good formula.
The plot to this novel hits the sweet spot of fast pace action and slower scenes. Although the book goes from chase scenes to fight scenes and back again I didn’t feel like it was too packed together. I was able to appreciate Amani’s thoughts, the world building and the character development that was occurring as Amani first stepped out into the real world.
Looking back, I’m surprised that the novel encompasses the explanation of a whole fantasy world, a wicked ruler, novel magic system, Amani’s past and Amani’s daring escape all in this short novel. It may be packed but it’s definitely doesn’t feel rushed.
Amani and Jin, who the plot revolves around, both start as strong characters who trust no-one and need no-one. It’s only when they are flung together that they start to realise that there’s safety in numbers and this character development further embellishes the plot. I found it easy to get behind this and Amani’s slow trust of Jin makes the plot twists even more powerful and unexpected.
If you’re a fan of dystopians or fantasy YA I suspect this novel will be right up your street. A definite 5 stars from me.
But what about you? Have any of you read it and did you enjoy it? If you haven’t read it, what are you reading? Thanks for taking the time to read my review!