Review: REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton


REBEL OF THE SANDS (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Alwyn Hamilton
Published: March 8th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 314
Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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.

“You know, I never believed in fate until I met you.”

I had high expectations about Rebel of the Sands, especially after hearing people raving about it, but sadly, this book did not meet them. Things actually started out great! The first few chapters were action packed and engaging, and they grasped my attention right away. I was so excited to find out more about this world and Amani, since the world Hamilton created was so interesting.

Amani as a character was also a delight to read. She was strong, skilled, and funny at the most inappropriate times. I liked her right away, and despite my other problems with the book, that stayed true until the very end. The side characters were also interesting for the most part, although a lot of them who were there at the beginning of the story weren’t there by the end of it.

Unfortunately, things kind of took a nose dive for me the closer I got to the halfway mark. I started losing interest quickly as the pace slowed down and the instalove went up a notch. Reading about Amani and Jin traveling through the desert was boring at times, and I found myself skipped ahead a few times. The six-week time jump in which we didn’t get to see their relationship develop also made it hard for me to buy the connection between Amani and Jin.

The Western setting connected to the Arabian mythology aspects of the story was something else that didn’t work for me. It was a cool idea, but the execution wasn’t all that good. And all the talk of Skinwalkers, Buraqi, ghouls, and other creatures kind of fell to the background. It all seemed very odd to me, how the author stuck things together.

I wasn’t surprised by most of the big twists. I saw them all coming a mile away, and it was only a matter of time to see if my suspicions were confirmed. There wasn’t that much of an impact while I was reading, which left me feeling a bit bored.

Things did pick up around the last 70 pages or so. I felt myself wake up and get back into action again as things started happening, and I was on the edge of my seat during the last few chapters. And the ending made me very curious to see what is in store for Amani in the next installment. 🙂


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3 thoughts on “Review: REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton

  1. Reg @ She Latitude says:

    Great review! I’ve read this book too and also gave it three stars, though for me it was flipped – the first half was not so interesting, the second half picked up its pace. I don’t think I’ll be picking up its sequel, but I hope you like it if/when you get to it! 😂


    • owlsreads says:

      Thanks! Hahah, oh my god! Yeah, for me the beginning was super interesting, but then things kind of lost steam and got boring :/ I want to know what happens, so I’ll definitely check out the sequel 😛


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