YA Review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)

Title: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Deserts! People making a living on the edge of the habitable world! Magic! Escape! Princes! Politics! Rebellion! This book has everything I want in an adventure story, and a strong, brave female protagonist to take me through the action.

And there’s plenty of action. From the opening sequence, where the narrator is disguised as a boy and competing for prize money that would let her escape from her home, to wild horses, trains, and daring rescues. From the opening paragraph, Rebel of the Sands grabbed me and kept me reading.

Amani is an orphan, cared for in her Uncle’s strict patriarchal household in a dead-end desert town. She plans to escape to the city and track down her mother’s family, but when a foreigner arrives in town she has to choose in an instant whether to stay with her friends, or run. As she travels through the desert, she begins to see the larger forces at work in her society. There’s a royal dispute, an occupying army, and a hidden rebellion, and when Amani finds herself hunted by the Sultan’s men, she begins to question everything she knows about her family.

The action-packed ending wraps up part of the story, but promises more excitement in the sequel. I loved Amani – she’s tough, determined, and clever, and her knowledge of the desert and skills with a gun save her companions on more than one occasion. There are plenty of twists and revelations that I didn’t see coming, but which make perfect sense looking back. The book doesn’t pull its punches – people die, women are treated as property, and magical creatures are enslaved by the people of the desert. The danger feels real, and the stakes are high for Amani and her fellow travellers. I can’t wait to find out what happens in Book 2!

Have you read Rebel of the Sands? What did you think of the setting? And what about Amani? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.

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