Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands (#1)
 by Alwyn Hamilton
pub 3/8/16 by Penguin
YA Fantasy
I’m a big fan of heroines who take matters into their own hands so it’s no surprise that I immediately warmed up to Amani from the moment she’s introduced to us. She’s got the best sharpshooting skills in her hometown of Dustwalk and she’s willing to do whatever’s necessary to use that to her advantage. She wants out of her town and away from her family, who treat her poorly and are forcing her to marry. She has a plan to get out, which completely falls to pieces, but she does make it happen. However, in the process she defies the evil Sultan's army. Now they're after her and Jin, the handsome stranger she runs off with.

What I just described? That's probably describes just the first few chapters. The book literally starts off with a bang.

I liked that even though the story hits the ground running, I was able to grasp Amani’s personality quickly. She’s strong yet vulnerable and even though she doesn’t know where she’s going, anything has to be better than her life in Dustwalk. She imagined making this journey alone so the last thing she expected was Jin. Again, I enjoyed their dynamic from the start. There’s a lot of back and forth as they try to escape the people after them and learn to trust one another. Of course, once the trust settles in, so do the romantic undertones (which I absolutely wanted!).

Some reservations
My main reservation had to do with how the mythology and world-building unfolded. There were lots of references to djinni and mythical creatures but their connection the plot at hand felt vague at times. And when it was explained, it was difficult to picture in my head. My other reservations was a disconnect to the characters. Don't get me wrong, I really liked them but something was missing to make me fully invested in their journey.

Do I recommend?
I do. Even though some parts were predictable, one twist did surprise me and overall it’s a decent introduction to the series.


  1. I really enjoyed Rebel of the Sands! I thought it was such an interesting mix of style and culture, and I definitely liked Amani. I can't wait for the second one!

  2. I agree with you about connecting to the characters being a problem. I think, for me, that was partly because the pacing was so strange (introducing so many new characters and plot points in the second half of the novel!) but, then again, I've yet to find any book with djinni elements that I 100% enjoyed so maybe it's a personal issue as well.


with love,