Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Published by Viking on March 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 314
Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryChapters !ndigo

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.


I was needing a fantasy itch scratched and this totally hit the spot! I loved that Rebel of the Sands had an awesome eastern dessert mixed cowboy western feel to it with pretty good universe building (also, look how pretty that cover is!). While some parts were a bit predictable, there were interesting characters, a road trip, magic, and of course rebelling to draw you in!

It was a fun following gun-slinging Amani (aka. The Blue Eyed Bandit) on her adventure. Admittedly Amani annoyed me at first (she was a bit bratty), but I definitely grew to like her a lot more. I liked that she’s sassy but also matures throughout the book.

He told me not to do anything stupid. But it was damned stupid of them to leave a window open in the stables. And I’d be damned stupid if I didn’t take advantage of it.

Jin, our intriguing Eastern Snake, was pretty awesome. Mysterious, charming, with just enough sass to keep up with Amani. They were pretty cute together, plus throw in a ton of snark and banter and you got a pretty fun pair.

Jin was at my side, pulling his shirt over his head, Parviz disappeared. “Did you just shoot someone?”

“I got us hired, if that’s what you’re asking.” I scratched the back of my head and tried to to look sheepish. I was sure I wasn’t successful judging bu the look Jin was giving me. “And I only shot his glass.”

Jin hooked one arm around my shoulder, leaning on me. “I knew I liked you, Bandit.”

I really enjoyed the road-trip-esque adventure where Amani tried to escape her small town Dustwalk when she learns her uncle wants to marry her off. There’s always a lot running, fighting, sneaking, magic and all around action. I also really enjoyed the secondary characters that pop up later in the story, especially Shazad (yay kickass female characters!). The group of rebels are are so lovable (and pretty cool) and I’m intrigued by the bad guys. Definitely excited to see where it all ends up!

The ending sets up for the rest of the trilogy without much of a cliff hanger ending (much appreciated!) and I’m definitely excited for more. Overall, this was a great start to the series, It’s got an intriguing (magical) world, with fantastic characters, a story with angst and humour, and just a lot of lovely moments.

“Jin blew up a factory.” That seemed like the right place to start, only it wasn’t really. “That was after we burned down a building.” I added. “But that was sort of an accident.”

About Alwyn Hamilton

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.


Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

12 Replies to “Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton”

  1. Far Eastern meets Wild West with magic? I can see why you loved it. I don’t get fantasy craves often, but this one will be one worth strong consideration when it happens.

    Enjoyed your review and quote choices, Cyn!

  2. YAAAASSSS, CYN, FINALLYYYYYY! I’m so glad you enjoyed this book! Wasn’t it great? I love YA fantasy but this is so unique and different and wonderful. Despite the lack of cliffhanger (YAY, like you said), I’m dying to read Traitor to the Throne! I hope you and I get a chance to read that one soon. =)

    Wonderful review, Cyn!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  3. I’m happy to hear you liked this one! I started it on audio last Summer and never finished it. After seeing so many positive things I feel like I need to give it another chance!

  4. I once again need this because your quotes are so enticing, lol! Hopefully, I can get to this before Traitor to the Throne comes out 🙂

  5. I have been really curious about this, but hesitant as YA and I haven’t played as nicely together recently. So glad you enjoyed this, and your review has eased my fears

  6. There are times when I need a fantasy book and this one seems to fit the bill! I love the way you did the review with quotes from the book itself (very good selection by the way).

  7. I loved this book LOVED IT! It was such a gorgeous fantasy and original too I thought!

  8. This one is on my TBR for 2017! I know I should have read this last year, but I was a little hesitant because of the hype.. I didn’t really expect there to be a gunslinging female heroine!

    Great review, Cyn!

  9. I totally agree, the world building made up for the occasional predictability of this one was. And Shazad was probably one of my favourite secondary characters last year! Can’t wait to see her and Amani’s friendship grow.

  10. I have heard mixed reviews of this one, but I really do want to read it. Far East meets Wild West is quite appealing, I have to say!

  11. I love a road trip like adventure. I have seen this book around a lot now but I haven’t given it much thought. Im glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    Great review!


    I’m so excited you liked it too! Isn’t the world fun? Isn’t the whole thing fun? The quotes you picked are so perfect, though, and make me want to pick it up to reread right this moment! 😀

Leave a Reply