Rebel of the Sands book 1
**Contains spoilers – read with caution**
This was all mythical and shit
Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It’s not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al’Hiza must call it ‘home’. Amani wants to escape and see the world she’s heard about in campfire stories. Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run. But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan’s army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion…
I read a lot of books on my kindle because they’re cheaper and my room is overflowing with books as it is, but as soon as I saw this I knew I had to have it because look at that cover. That fucking cover! I can’t handle how gorgeous it is.
“In the name of the Rebel Prince Ahmed! A new dawn, a new desert!”
Amani is a pretty great protagonist. She is feisty and full of wild wonder and as such her personality takes her on an adventure. Amani lives with her aunt, uncle and cousins after her mother was hung for killing her father (morbid much?). She is insolent to say the least and her actions lead her to meet our main man the Foreigner, aka the Eastern Snake.
“I was a desert girl. I thought I knew heat. I was wrong.”
The two meet at a pistol pit where they are competitors in what appears to be a frequent gun match in which the prize is a lump sum of cash. Seeing as she is skilled with a gun and wants out of her home life, our girl disguises herself as a boy, is given the nickname the Blue-Eyed-Bandit by the proprietor and basically kicks ass.
Due to circumstances out of her control, she doesn’t win and is instead forced to return home. Of course fate has more than that night in store for them and when a Buraqi (mythical creature) tears through her town while the Foreigner is hiding in her uncles shop, the two escape to embark on what is the crux of our story.
The Foreigner, who we eventually find out is named Jin, is mysterious to begin with but as the story progresses and he becomes more comfortable with Amani, we learn little details about his life. I won’t reveal who he is but it becomes evident pretty early on that he can only be one of two people.
As we move towards the end of the story, there are some pretty cool revelations – some I didn’t see coming – and the book ends on a high after an epic fight scene.
This had Shakespearean elements in it, classic fantasy tropes grounded in ancient magic and a lot of heart. I have to say I quite enjoyed following Amani on her journey from a small town girl to a rebel warrior.
I definitely see why this has been getting mixed reviews but I think this fell into my hands when I needed it the most. I’d read a lot about the haphazard world building but I personally felt that given what the story was about, it was done pretty well. I will say though that I was a little frustrated at times when one chapter would end and the next would start in a completely different setting because of a presumed time jump. There were no masterful segues here.
Overall, not the best but definitely not the worst in this genre. There are some great action sequences, a lot of heart and a smashing romance to pull this rebel story together.
Will be looking out for the sequel fo sho!
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