Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


Goodreads: Rebel of the Sands
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Source: Library
Published: March 8, 2016

Official Summary

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.


Rebel of the Sands blew me away from the first page.  With a unique, gritty voice and a strong heroine, the book will compel readers to love the desert as much as Amani does.  Amani’s quest to find freedom and write her own destiny takes her through danger to many cities, but it is the sand that will always be her home.

Fantasy is my favorite genre, and Rebel of the Sands deliver the epic scope and wild adventures I love, all touched with a strong dose of magic.  Though the story is grounded in Amani’s personal quest to be treated as an equal to men, respected for her courage and her skill with a gun, it eventually grows to encompass the fate of a kingdom.  More on that in the next book, I assume, and I am definitely on board to find out what happens next.

Amani herself is fierce, but flawed enough I believe she’s human.  She’s had a tough life in Dustwalk, and her number one priority is often herself.  Sometimes that’s a merit; sometimes it’s not.  I admit I was a bit disappointed by a cliche turn of events in her personal development later in the novel, but I do still really admire her and think she’s overall a heroine to root for.

The love interest is equally impressive, in his own right, but I honestly didn’t see the romance as a large part of the novel.  Amani very noticeably pines over this guy, but often the romance seemed “told” to me rather than “shown.”  I wasn’t invested in the relationship because much of it seemed to occur in Amani’s head rather than on the page.  I do wonder if things might get more interesting in the next novel, but right now I think the adventure part of the story really overshadows the romance.

Overall, however, Rebel of the Sands is s stirring, compelling fantasy about widening your worldview, fighting for what you want, and caring for your friends.  Highly recommended.

4 stars Briana

18 thoughts on “Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

  1. Diana says:

    I don’t usually read fantasy but I have been seeing this book around it does sound like a great read. I like who you described the heroine and her name is actually a Swahili word for peace. This definitely does sound like a wonderful read. Great review!


    • Briana says:

      I didn’t know that about her name! That’s so awesome! Hopefully she’ll be able to bring some peace to her people as the series progresses. I’ve been feeling “meh” about a lot of YA recently, but this one was really very good. I know some people thought the mix of the desert and kind of Western gunslinging tones were weird, but I thought it was fresh and original.


  2. Ali (@thebandarblog) says:

    I am currently reading this right now, and I agree with you about it being impressive right from the start. I have been reading so many garbage YA novels that I haven’t been able to finish, and right from page 1 I was reminded that YA novels can be excellent and well-written! I have about 1/3 of the way to go, so I hope I continue to enjoy it (:


    • Briana says:

      I was unimpressed by a certain plot twist near the end (pretty cliche, in my opinion), but otherwise I thought the whole book was great! I haven’t loved a lot of the YA I’ve been reading recently either, so it was nice to find one I enjoyed again. I was about ready to stomp off and read more classics, which is generally what I do when YA starts to disappoint.


  3. Yvo says:

    Great review! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this one… I got a copy a while back but never actually picked it up; maybe I should do so once the sequel is out?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      I think that would be a great idea! This is one of the first books in awhile where I really wanted to read the sequel, so I think waiting until the sequel is out so you can read both at once would be great. My least favorite thing about reading new releases is having to wait a year for the next book in the series, forgetting everything about the first book, and then wondering if I even care that much. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  4. esthercise says:

    I read this book purely based on its cover and it was surprisingly better than I thought it would be. Like you, I’m interested to see how the rest of the story will play out in the next book. Great review!


    • Briana says:

      Yes! The cover is beautiful, and I think it matches the the tone of the book pretty well (or, well, the magical parts, maybe not the gritty ones). I hope the sequel is just as amazing!


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