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Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands: Western Meets Eastern Fantasy

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton follows the story of Amani across the deserts of Miraji. Amani belongs to her uncle and he is free to marry her off to anyone he chooses, or even marry her himself. Refusing to accept her lot in life, Amani plots to run away from the family that has never accepted her and the dead-end town of Dustwalk. She sneaks out one night and heads to a shooting competition, hoping to win the bounty of 1000 coins. She’s a killer shot and knows that she can easily win, but the game makers are corrupt and things don’t go to plan. It is here that she meets Jin, a mysterious foreigner, and their stories become entangled from here on.

Great world building is a crucial to a fantasy novel and Alwyn Hamilton does this perfectly. We are quickly plunged into a magical world that seems to fuse a Western and Aladdin. There are mortal and immortal beings, new mythical creatures and rebel armies. Characters sit around camp fires telling tales of old and I found it so exciting to learn about all the new rules in this fantasy world. It’s difficult to write something completely original these days as the young adult genre is so saturated, but Hamilton’s world is mysterious and magical in all the right ways.

Hamilton spends the first half of the story introducing you to her new world and characters but it’s not until the second half that things start to get really interesting. It took me a little while to get into the story as I found the first half to be a little slow at times. However, there are numerous plot twists towards the end of the story that are completely unpredictable and you’ll be tearing through the last few chapters.

If you’re looking for a book with a kick-ass female lead, then Rebel of the Sands is for you. Amani is a tenacious girl, fighting against the prejudiced system in her home county. Women have no rights so Amani must disguise herself as a boy in order to escape Dustwalk and her uncle’s control over her. She feisty and reckless and you’ll be rooting for her from start to finish.

I have to say that despite this, I didn’t find her to be the most likeable character, but I did admire her a lot. She’s certainly a very interesting character but I didn’t think that she was developed quite as well as she could have been. I’m looking forward to the subsequent books in this series to see how her character progresses.

Weirdly, I thought the character Jin (and I guess you could call him ‘love interest’) was much older than he actually is in the books. As a result, I found the thought of any romance between Amani and him strange at first. The Jin at the beginning of the book is very different to the Jin at the end of this story and I guess that’s down to the fact that he has a hidden identity. I wasn’t a huge fan of his character at first but by the end of the book I had come round to him. His character definitely could have been developed a little better as I know I wasn’t the only one a little perplexed at how his character turned out.

Now before I wrap up this review, I have a confession. One of the main reasons I was drawn into this book is because of the cover. Yes, I’m a sucker for pretty covers, and let’s be honest, who isn’t? I needed a beautiful book to take with me on my travels around Thailand and Rebel of the Sands was my pick. You can check out all my #bookstagram photos with this gorgeous book over on my Instagram account: @whatshotblog. The cover release for Traitor to the Throne (book #2) is happening on Monday 12th September 2016 and I can’t wait to see it!

All in all, this is a strong debut to a new young adult series. This is only the first in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next! The character development could do with some work but Hamilton has laid the groundwork for an awesome young adult trilogy in a world that is completely different from anything we’ve seen before. The strong female lead is definitely a huge plus and this mystical world will have you dreaming about desert sands and rebel princes.

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Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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  1. Juliette Theureau
    11th September 2016 / 1:33 PM

    I looooooove the cover and the title but I’m wondering whether I’m likely to like it or not. ^^ So, I’m not sure, I’ll maybe buy it someday?

    • Laura @ What's Hot?
      16th September 2016 / 11:16 AM

      It’s a good book but there are definitely a lot of other great books out there that I’d probably recommend to you over this one!

  2. WonderfullyBookish
    11th September 2016 / 6:42 PM

    This sounds great, definitely with a kick ass female character! I’ll have to add it to my ever-growing to read list.

  3. Sylvia Fiolunka
    11th September 2016 / 6:42 PM

    What a pretty cover! It does sound like something I would love to read, thanks for the review!

  4. GoodnightTheSkye
    11th September 2016 / 7:26 PM

    Gorgeous cover, and I’m a sucker for a bad-ass female protagonist. I never get the time to read fantasy anymore though!

  5. 11th September 2016 / 7:39 PM

    I love the sound of this book – definitely something I could see myself curling up and reading. x

  6. Alyssia Slade
    11th September 2016 / 8:18 PM

    This book sounds amazing! Literally buying it right now!

  7. theCuriousPixie
    11th September 2016 / 8:49 PM

    I need a new book! Sounds like a great read.

  8. 11th September 2016 / 9:35 PM

    Sounds like a good story .I am always looking to add new books to my reading list.

  9. 11th September 2016 / 9:49 PM

    I would TOTALLY have been drawn to the cover! I loved it as soon as I saw it. I don’t think I’ve read any fantasy though so I am not sure what I would make of it. But then I didn’t admit to myself that I like sci fi for YEARS and actually I think i’ve just been in denial…. Star Wars, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy etc…!!! Perhaps I need to put might my preconceptions aside…! ps I love book posts!

  10. Louise
    12th September 2016 / 8:44 AM

    This book sounds really interesting and the cover is so cute! x

  11. Kelly
    12th September 2016 / 10:41 AM

    I do normally have to warm to a main character to get through a book, so thanks for being so frank about your own difficulty with warming to Amani. That being said, I think a book with a strong female lead character for young adults of both genders to read is important. I’ve got a bit of a long ‘to read’ list at the moment, so I may wait to see what people say about the second book in the series when it comes out before emotionally investing myself in a new series! (I’m a follower, not a leader when it comes to new literature!) But thanks for sharing and if I see it in the library I may pick it up.

  12. Yvonne
    12th September 2016 / 11:26 AM

    I am always on the look out for new books and I have to admit I am a sucker for a good front cover too, it just draws you in! I will need to look out for this one, I have not heard of it before your review but sounds like something I would enjoy x

  13. beautykinguk
    12th September 2016 / 2:11 PM

    The cover definitely got my attention, though admittedly it isn’t something I would generally pick up and read, not that I have picked up a book in quite some time now!

  14. Jessica
    12th September 2016 / 2:34 PM

    Intriguing introduction about marriage. The cover is already attractive for me to check it.

  15. Alana
    12th September 2016 / 5:06 PM

    The cover does look beautiful! I’m not sure I’d stick with this if it’s a slow start … Since having children I tend to fall asleep while reading!

  16. Tania Potter
    12th September 2016 / 5:54 PM

    I must admit, it doesn’t sound like the kind of book I would choose. I’m not a fan of slow moving fantasy novels but it sounds like a good read for people who enjoy those kinds of books.

  17. 12th September 2016 / 5:58 PM

    I haven’t read this book but it is definitely something I would read x

  18. Elodie
    12th September 2016 / 6:49 PM

    I’m not the biggest fan of fantasy novels, but I know a lot of people who would LOVE this so I’m popping it on my Christmas present list. Thank you!

  19. bc21578
    12th September 2016 / 6:59 PM

    It’s a shame how we all to often, put books down if they don’t grab our attention in the first chapter. I’ve done this with books over the years and with movies as well. Great that you stuck with this one!

  20. 12th September 2016 / 9:12 PM

    I do love that it has a strong female lead and I like that more books are using that for their narratives. That being said I find it hard to get past chapters that don’t excite me but if I know where the storyline is going then its another story.

  21. 12th September 2016 / 9:40 PM

    Would love to read this book. Sounds very interesting.

  22. 12th September 2016 / 10:33 PM

    You definitely have to give credit to authors that do a good job creating a believable world for their characters. This setting sounds pretty interesting.

  23. 12th September 2016 / 11:25 PM

    I agree if the look of a book stands out I’m more likely to look into it. It’s good that there’s more strong female lead characters though x

  24. Megan Ogden
    13th September 2016 / 12:51 AM

    Beautiful cover! I want to read this book now! I think I will order it soon! Thank you for this review.

  25. Kari Jonard
    13th September 2016 / 2:31 AM

    Very cool! I’ve never really been into reading books but I envy those who are.

  26. Mai C.
    13th September 2016 / 3:24 AM

    I love books that have female as leads, it’s empowering and inspiring and there’s really never enough of them around. I think this one’s a nice read and I would love to read this once I have time!

  27. Carrie Chady Rundhaug
    13th September 2016 / 7:04 AM

    I have heard mixed reviews on this book but it looks so good and the cover is absolutely gorgeous! I am so glad you enjoyed it! It is definitely on my TBR list!

  28. 13th September 2016 / 10:59 AM

    I haven’t heard about this series before but it does sound interesting. It reminds me a little bit of the Millennium series because of the strong feminine main character.

  29. 13th September 2016 / 12:13 PM

    What a nice review for a very interesting YA novel! I don’t often read YA but maybe one of my students learning English would love this book.

  30. Charlotte
    13th September 2016 / 2:17 PM

    I am a sucker for pretty covers too! Wish the contents always matched the outside but then the saying wouldn’t work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Hannah Heartss โ„๏ธโ›„๏ธ
    13th September 2016 / 5:23 PM

    I definitely want to give this a read now. The cover is so pretty too

  32. Ickle Pickle
    13th September 2016 / 8:13 PM

    What a gorgeous cover! It sounds a good book – I would love more time to read. Great review. Kaz x

  33. Leanne Dolan
    13th September 2016 / 8:36 PM

    I do judge books by their covers even though I know you shouldn’t!

  34. 13th September 2016 / 9:42 PM

    My mummy would love more spare time to read and she often gets distracted by covers in bookstores. Sounds like a good book!

  35. Cliona Kelliher
    13th September 2016 / 11:18 PM

    This sounds pretty cool. I’m not a huge fan of fantasy but I have read a few that I really enjoyed. A big plus for me would be a strong female protagonist and it sounds like an interesting plot. I think I might really like it and you’re right, the cover is fab!

  36. 14th September 2016 / 11:46 AM

    I always seem to find great books lately, I hope this one is awesome because it sounds like a good one. I will try it out, thanks for the little review ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Mrs H
    14th September 2016 / 10:06 PM

    I am a sucker for young adult fiction. Hunger Games is onbe of my favourite books. This novel sounds very interesting. I might have to give it a try. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  38. ThisKenyanTraveler
    14th September 2016 / 10:41 PM

    I will have a read. It does sound like something I would love.

  39. Fi Ni Neachtain
    16th September 2016 / 11:24 AM

    I’d also be drawn into that book because of the cover, it’s gorgeous! I know they say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but when they’re that nice it’s hard not to pick it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Anamika Ojha
    16th September 2016 / 8:27 PM

    This books sounds great! These days I am reading ‘A Song of Ice and Fire – Game of thrones’ by George R. R. Martin!

  41. Clairejustineo
    18th September 2016 / 9:11 AM

    Looks like a greatbook. I need to read more, I never seam to find time at the minute ..

  42. Joanna
    19th September 2016 / 10:04 PM

    Sounds like a great book its a book I can see myself picking up.

  43. 29th September 2016 / 11:58 AM

    Oh another one to add to my book list! thanks. I am going away in November and looking for some good books to read ๐Ÿ™‚

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