Rating: **** Suggested Age: 13
Summary: “Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton was a breath of fresh air for young adult fantasy. Usually, the same themes are expressed with the same cookie cutter characters. Amani was not another “small, brunette, plain” girl and she wasn’t lacking self-confidence. As seen with my love of Celaena Sardothien, strong female characters are a favorite of mine.
The plot of Rebel of the Sands was different and unique as well, set in a world never before seen. The world was creative and I have never read a book about djinn before. They’re new to the fantasy world (or at least those I have read) and I was thoroughly excited about it.
Also, the writing was beautiful. Hamilton really has talent and I’m excited to see what else she’ll throw out into the book world. She writes with gorgeous descriptions that paint a picture in your mind. However, this writing, which isn’t dialogue based at all, can get a little boring for me. The ending of this book was extremely exciting, but in the beginning, I was just trudging through it.
My other main complaint is the only young adult cliché this book had: the “surprise” moment when the main character realizes that she too has some type of special power. I can’t mention more without giving a spoiler away, but for once I would enjoy reading a book where the main character is average. Maybe even geeky.
However, I definitely recommend this book if you would like something exciting and unique (for the most part).