My Review of The Rebel Of The Sands-
What I liked:
I quite enjoyed the setting for this. I know there have been a few western themed YA offerings lately, but I haven’t personally read them. What I liked about this one was the way it blended a desert setting with the Western/Arabian theme. I do love books set in a fantasy Imperial Russia, but this did make a nice change.
I also likes some of the characters. Amani was an interesting heroine. Clearly she’s supposed to fit into the bad ass heroine class, which being a feminist, I approve of. However, sometimes writers can take that to extremes. When the girl isn’t so much a bad ass as she is an epic tantrum thrower, who’s incapable of seeing other people’s point of view, or bowing to the logic of the situation (yes Katniss, I am looking at you), it can get annoying. Head’s up, you don’t have to be a total screaming pain in the ass to be strong. There is a middle ground between total dick and Bella Swan.
I think Alwyn Hamilton found it. Brimming with funny one liners, Amani can shoot the eyes out if a snake at a hundred paces. With a steely sense of self-preservation and a fiery determination to escape a crappy future, she’s a girl it’s easy to root for. However, while often fiesty and argumentative, Amani knows when someone else is right about a situation. Even when lied to by a person she trusted, her understandable anger eventually calms, and she can listen to their side of the story. Even forgive them.
Jin, the charismatic, funny, gun toting stranger she takes up with is easy to like too. I love a hero with a dry sense of humour. The two have great chemistry.
What I didn’t like.
Not too much about this book bothered me. However, three things I would say are …
1) It did take a while to get the good parts of the plot. This was a bit of a road trip novel, and that’s fine, but I think we could’ve got to the main action of the rebellion a bit sooner.
2) Although the world Hamilton has built is pretty convincing, it took a while for most of the magical elements to come through. I’d like, in the sequel, to see her do more with the Nightmares, the evil magical creatures who haunt the desert. They were awesomely chilling, but didn’t show up in person until quite late in the book.
3) I did see a few of the plot twists coming. Not necessarily a bad thing, and maybe it’s just me being picky, but I’d prefer if some things had been less clearly sign posted.
So there you have it. My review, I hope you enjoyed it, let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree.
Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️ out of five.
If this book were my caffeine intake, I’d be able to make it through Monday morning without crying.