Book Review of Rebel Of The Sands by Awlyn Hamilton
a blog written by A.S. Damea
In A Snapshot
Title: Rebel Of The Sands
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.
Genre: YA Historical Fiction meets Fantasy
In Three Words: Magical, Action,Ticks-The-Boxes
Source: Giveaway (but you can get it from Boolino too)
Recommended for: Likers of A Thousand Nights and the Throne of Glass series.
Rebel Of The Sands is perfect for those wanting the magical dessert feel of A Thousand Nights, but, at the same time, not wanting to compromise on the simplistic, action-packed style much of YA stays true to.
Can we please take a moment's silence to appreciate the cover?
Rebel Of The Sands quite simply ticks all the boxes that I expect in the wonderful realm of YA. As I like lists, I will list.
1) It has a banterous couple. I must admit, Jin and Amani are one of the cutest couples I have ever encountered in YA. They don't simply love each other for the sake of it (which is something I really hate in anything that isn't obviously a fairy tale). Jin and Amani's relationship is well-developed, rounded, and they have a lot more to say to each other than 'I love you'.
"Being born doesn’t make a single soul important. But you were important when I met you, that girl who dressed as a boy, who taught herself to shoot true, who dreamed and saved and wanted so badly. That girl was someone who had made herself matter. She was someone I liked. What the hell has happened since you came here that she is so worthless to you? What’s happened that only my brother’s approval and some power you never needed before can make you important? That’s why I didn’t want to bring you into this revolution, Amani. Because I didn’t want to watch the Blue-Eyed Bandit get unmade by a prince without a kingdom.”
-Jin to Amani
2) The MC was awesome. Amani is like Calaena from the Throne Of Glass series and the opposite of everything I hated about Tris from Divergent. Amani could fight for herself and didn't need to rely on Jin or other male supporting characters to 'save the day'. She was genuinely bad-ass, and at the same time didn't always do the right thing, which made the MC relatable and funny.
“I don't mean to worry you and all," I said, trying to keep my voice calm, "but have you noticed that you've been shot?""Ah." Looking at him closer now, I could see he was clutching the counter to stay upright. "I'd almost forgotten about that.”
3) The pacing was good. Unlike the general feel around Goodreads, I actually liked the pacing. The slow start (which, if I'm being honest, wasn't that slow) gave me time to catch up with all the information on the completely new setting, not needing to re-read the first few chapters. When it fastened, I knew enough to understand everything that was going on.
4) The setting was beautiful. The dessert intertwined with aspects of fantasy created a world often not explored in fiction. Awlyn Hamilton does it with an aspect of flair, creating not only a new world but also something to reflect upon our own.
“The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn't let weakness live.”
Rebel Of The Sands ticks all the boxes and for that reason, I can't help but slightly hate it. I've seen it all before. The setting is a heap better in A Thousand Nights, with uses real dessert words (like dishdasha) to give it a more contextual feel. The main character echoes Celaena from Throne of Glass, and as much as I love Amani (characters is definitely Rebel Of The Sands strong point), I like Celaena more. The style and pace are nothing new to fiction, reminding me of traditional teenage lit like Divergent or The Hunger Games. I found nothing new in it.
So, as much as I love the characters and I love the fact it was an easy, yet enjoyable read, I have to take back a star because it ticked all the boxes, and in doing so, I couldn't like it. I could see other novels within it - ones I should never have compared it to, but I couldn't help in doing as they were so similar. Rebel Of The Sands needed something outside the box for that extra star; it needed not another tick but a new item entirely - like Tinder's unusual style or David Almond's philosophical words.
Nevertheless, it was good (c'mon I gave it 4 stars if you round) and I would recommend it. Perhaps if I had read Rebel Of The Sands before everything else, I may have been as buzzing about it as the rest of the world is.
For more bookish reviews and general awesomeness, check out my blog @Reviewing Dreamer
4 out of 5
What do you think about YA's newest craze?