Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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.”
Review: What a debut novel! Rebel of the Sands was so different from what I expected. The proposed fusion of Middle Eastern fantasy with Western action and adventure didn’t initially sound like my cup of tea, but from the get-go Hamilton took this rich, colorful story in so many unexpected directions. I absolutely had to give this novel a high rating because, for the first time in a long time, I was genuinely shocked by the major plot twist (don’t worry, no spoilers). I love Amani as a character; she’s fierce and independent, completely determined to be master of her own future.
“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.”
Jin doesn’t really hold a candle to her, but the secondary cast of characters that are introduced about two-thirds of the way through the novel certainly make up for any flare he may be lacking. Hamilton’s world building skills are commendable, and her incorporation of mythology and folklore into the world of Miraji was impeccable. I couldn’t justify giving this novel a five star rating because of some character and plot complaints, but I was really impressed overall and am looking forward to the next two books in the series.
“The air smelled of oil and incense and smoke and food and the desert and being alive in the desert.”