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.
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Published: March 8th 2016
Rebel of the Sands #1
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Sexism, Misogyny, Death
I won this book through a Twitter giveaway back in 2016, where planned on buying it, but got it for free. There was so much hype surrounding this book, too. Debut author? Check. Badass gunslinging girl? Check. Western/Arabian mix? Check. This was made for greatness… I was just underwhelmed. It was enjoyable, but maybe the excitement got my expectations too high.
In the small town of Dustwalk, Amani has two choices: end up ‘wed or dead’. Desperate to get out, she leaves with the mysterious Jin into the desert, which is filled with all kind of creatures. Being a Western/ Arabian mix, there was a lot of uniqueness to the story. We have djinn, desert creatures and so much more that the characters have to deal with.
We’re in the desert for a long while, so I can’t say the imagery was anything special? I wasn’t really captivated by it or paying attention to it. But that isn’t even my main issue, the characters were.
Amani was cool, both as a main character and under pressure. Her nickname ‘The Blue-Eyed Bandit’ was nice, too. But other than that, I didn’t connect with her. She was the stereotypical, special snowflake character… because she didn’t have really any motivation. She wanted to get out of DustWalk. Alright. Now what? Then this pretty boy with nice eyes comes in and all of his plans are now your plans.
It was like looking from the outside in, which is sad because I wanted to be in the world with them.
Jin also was pretty basic as well as the romance. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them. Again, he was just a way out of her fate in Dustwalk and she was a mysterious girl who was good with guns. At least, that’s how I saw it. THeir development just felt instalovey and with the situations they were put in, a great relationship (romantic or not) could have been made.
The side characters are interesting, but forgettable. I couldn’t tell you any of their names. There was a lot of action, though. I especially liked the train scene towards the beginning after she escapes Dustwalk.
Towards the end, things did start to pick up. Characters development became more front-lined and there were some wow I can’t believe that happened moments. Something I’m kind of disappointed in was a character we meet towards the end who I really wanted to know about… and he died. And the secret surrounding Amani was so very obvious. Overall, I really want to know what happens next because I did have a good time reading this. AND THAT COVER.