Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands, #1
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release Date: February 4th 2016
*I received a copy of this book through a Twitter giveaway hosted by Reviews from a Bookworm, which does not influence my review*
Rebel of the Sands, Alwyn Hamilton’s debut novel, is a compelling adventure with likable characters and an alluring setting. Amani Al’Hiza has been dreaming of leaving her town for years. Her mother always said she would get them both out, away from Amani’s father, and together they’d find a new life in the capital of Izman. But in a span of a moment, Amani loses both her parents, leaving her in the hands of her aunt and uncle. Amani knows there is only one fate for a young woman in the town of Dustwalk, but she is determined to forge her own destiny. Amani is a driven character, a self-taught sharpshooter, who wants more out of life than the opportunities afforded to her in her own town. She crosses paths with Jin, a young man on the run, who she falls into a partnership with. I loved their relationship from the start. They rely on one another, recognizing each other’s strengths and regard each other as equals which is very important to Amani who has been treated like a second-class citizen her whole life.
Rebel of the Sands takes place in a desert country with a rich history and an interesting system of beliefs. The ancient Djinni still hold influence over the people of Mirajin and there are dark creatures that thrive in the shadows. Nightmares and Skinwalkers stalk the night, looking for victims to devour. But it is the Buraqi, the desert horses, that capture the beauty and danger of the land of Mirajin. These creatures are a part of the desert itself, beautiful and elusive, capable of crossing the desert in the blink of an eye. Magic has been a part of Mirajin since the beginning of time, but with the growing influence of foreigners the magic of the land is beginning to fade as the world begins to creep into a new era of weaponry. The Sultan has forged an alliance with the Gallan, a foreign army, much to the detriment of his people. But there are rumors of another power threatening to rise. The Rebel Prince, son of the Sultan, is calling for change and in a land where the people continue to suffer at the hands of the Gallan, his following grows strong. Amani’s first instinct has always been to run, but she’s about to find herself in the middle of a revolution and must decide if it’s time for her to stop running and accept a different destiny than the one she had planned for herself
Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel in the Sands has so much to offer in terms of characters and setting. The world she has built is bold and enchanting, and I found myself craving more and more of it. Her characters are well-written, and I love that Hamilton takes time to peel away their layers.