I’ve just got back from my monthly YA book club, which is run by my local Waterstones in Liverpool One. Despite the fact that I’m twice the age of most of the other attendees, I have a lot of fun every month, and in honour of that, today I’m going to talk about one of the first books we read, back in March. That book is Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton.
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.
I’d already picked Rebel of the Sands up before we set it for book club, because look at it. I have a weakness for pretty, shiny things, so how could I resist that gorgeous cover? I’d also heard a lot about the book on twitter before release, so I was dying to get my hands on it. I wasn’t disappointed. Amani is a great lead character, who is determined not to be stuck in her terrible town where she has no value at all, but more than that, is determined to get out on her own terms, using her own skills. If those skills involve using a handsome young rebel, well why not? 🙂
My favourite thing abut the book though, was the chemistry between Amani and Jin. Their relationship practically crackled on the page. I knew where it was going (because the synopsis gives that away), but I loved the way we got there. I also liked the way it was a western in a Middle Eastern setting, and the way the magic was introduced to the story. I’m bitter I’ve had to wait a year for the sequel to be honest!