[Review] ‘Rebel of the Sands’ by Alwyn Hamilton


Title – ‘Rebel of the Sands’
Author – Alwyn Hamilton
Published – February 4th 2016 by Faber and Faber 
Pages – 358
Format – Paperback

Book Summary –

“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

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…

An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.

Review –

*Warning – Contains minor spoilers*

This book had a wonderfully enticing story line and was so popular and well talked about that I just had to pick it up and have a go at reading it myself. I wasn’t disappointed. This novel was full of action and lots of elements which kept the reader on their toes. I mean, I read the book in one day practically so I must of enjoyed it!

Ok so one of the first things I’d like to say is that I think adding a map to this book would have been helpful. I couldn’t quite picture the layout of the different towns in my head and that was one of a few faults I found. But that also may just simply be me not being able to picture and imagine places like I can with characters. I did like the desert setting, the heat… the long stretches of nothing more that sand covered land. It’s a setting you don’t see all that often.

Whilst I would say the book is predictable in many elements it was well written enough to keep you interested. Plus I’m simply a sucker for anything with magical creatures or ancient mythology etc. Whilst some didn’t quite like the joining of the Arabian mythology and the western atmosphere I personally liked the combination of the two. I believe Alwyn brought out the more intense elements of the two and combined them rather smoothly considering you wouldn’t normally expect to see them together.

The terminology in this book is probably the element I struggled with most in this book. As with a wide selection of books involving fantasy and mythology of some kind there are a number of different terms to get used to. A number of them were rather similar and I had to take some time to fully separate them in my head… as with the names of the characters who we meet throughout the book.

Talking of the characters… well, they weren’t bad. But I don’t think any of them were standouts either. Even the two main characters, Amani and Jin weren’t particularly incredible. I did like Jin somewhat but I also always fall for the leading man so I’m not hugely surprised about my feelings towards him. He was the character that stood out most to me but as I said, even then he wasn’t massively overwhelming. I think possibly too many characters were introduced to us far to quickly, we didn’t get enough opportunity to really delve into Amani and Jin’s personalities in all honesty and when other characters were introduced they didn’t get enough time to shine and had to be pushed aside rather quickly so we could be introduced to other characters.

I think it was the story line is what primarily kept me reading rather than the characters. And the setting to interested me enough that I wanted to see how the characters would survive in such a climate. I don’t think I would survive there after all. I did like the amount of action within this book, the different action packed scenes were well paced and dotted rather evenly throughout the book itself.

To sum up this book, it is a funny one. I don’t mean that literally. I mean it in the sense that while the setting was wonderfully appropriate and the story line was incredibly gripping the characters themselves where a little lackluster. Amani did have a wonderful fire to her soul but we didn’t see enough of it. Jin was sensible and clever but was almost too predictable and easy to guess. The fact that I read this book in a day shows that I definitely liked it to a certain degree however I do think certain elements could have been more cleverly written. If you’re looking for character development then I’d probably steer you away from this book, however if its a gripping and complex story line set in a beautiful atmosphere then this might just be the book for you.

Would I suggest this book to other bookworms? Yes and no, it really depends on what you value within a book.
Will I be reading the other two books in the series? I’d like to say yes, however I am unsure.
Am I completely in love with this book? In love with the story line.. yes. That characters.. not so much. 

[I rate this book 3/5 stars]


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