Review : Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

Title: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Published by: 04 February 2016

Date Read: 02 March 2016

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“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.



 “Tell me how you want your story to go, he says, and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

Alywn Hamilton’s debut novel Rebel of the Sands was a spiral maze of a story filled with sands, magic, love and the thrill of an upcoming revolution. I’m all over the place in love with this book. (Eeep!)

I’ve been reading/hearing about Rebel of the Sands since last year. The hype about this book was really loud especially on twitter. Plus, I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about it and that makes me more curious. Add in the fact that it has a unique setting which is on the desert.

A little side sharing though, when I began reading all I could think about was Aladdin and his Genie. Lol. I know I sound so lame, but with all the desert and Arabian things related to the story, Aladdin is by far the only reading experience that I have quite related to this story’s setting. The story of the Arabian Nights has long been fascinated me but I never did find the time to read it as well as read stories related to it that’s why Rebel of the Sands offers a new and fascinating world to me.

“There were only two things we had too much of: sand and guns.”

The novel started with introducing its main protagonist – Amani. A girl who’s desperate enough to escape the life she knows that she disguises herself as a boy to join a shooting competition to get enough money to leave. But trouble meets her and she finds herself running with a foreigner (wanted as well for treason) named Jin.

Amani is the character who not only has a sharp-tongue but sharp-shooting skills as well. She’s sharp, smart, determined and strong-willed. This girl could literally kick-ass!

Jin was the mysterious, tattooed foreigner Amani met in Dust walk. I’m so suspicious of his character on the first parts of the story. I know something fishy is going on with him. I was skeptical about him in the middle but he did win me over at the end.

These two greatly complemented each other. Majority of the story was dedicated on their journey. A journey through the desert – a place filled with monsters: escaping the sultan’s army, fighting ghouls, surviving and slowly falling for each other.

“I was a desert girl. I thought I knew heat.”

Don’t even start on me shipping Amani and Jin. Sigh. Yes, I did say Sigh instead of doing it because these two are just adorable. Their romance is slow-burn which I totally loved. They actually started their journey with a very rocky footing but then they start to trust one another and that’s when things start to go smoothly.

Trouble really did seem to trail behind Amani and Jin because on their journey they were caught in the middle of a rebellion against the reigning Sultan – hosted  by one of the Sultan’s son itself to get the sultan abdicate the throne and claim his seat.

“A new dawn. A new desert.”

Just when I thought the whole story would just revolve around Amani and Jin and the people they passed along the way throughout their journey, new set of characters were introduces on the last half of the book. I was so surprised that there is still a lot more in less than 100 pages of the book and that actually makes me more excited to get to the end.

The myths and the Arabian legends incorporated in the story are all so fascinating. I did get quite overwhelmed with all the information (I did keep a note of all the mythological characters and others while reading) but luckily I was able to keep up and just thoroughly enjoy the reading. There are ghouls, Skin walkers and Demdji (the children of Djinn and mortal women) with fantastic abilities.

The world building was so structured and well made that it all feel so real. The pacing of the story was just in the right speed – enough to let you keep up with new details of the story and enough to keep you waiting at the edge of your seats as well.

The plot literally thickens on each and every turn of the page. The twists, turns and surprise – it just never stops. It’s just your heart that is going to stop with every twist that is happening. I love how the author manages to get us at the edge of our seats all throughout the story. I mean, the setting was all desert and sand, dried up cities but the author was able to create something amazing out of the said setting. There is really more than the sands on the desert, you guys.

The story ends in a very good note. I love how everything all connected in the end. I really love how everything gets connected. There are no cliff-hangers and I’m actually not quite sure on what the next books on the series will be about but I will surely look forward to it. If you’re looking for something awesomely good and unique read with magic, adventures and actions, please please pick up Rebel of the Sands.

5 thoughts on “Review : Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

  1. Annika - Hiding Books says:

    I’m so glad you loved it as well! I loved Amani and Jin so much, I just need the next book now! 😉
    I definitely agree with you on so many points – the setting was wonderful, the world-building, the mythology. You’ve made me want to reread it now 🙂
    Great review!

    • karlaamae says:

      I totally loved it Annika and I’m also in deep shipping Amani and Jin! ❤️❤️

      I’m so excited for the next book too, maybe we can buddy read the next book on the series? 😉

  2. Jess I. says:

    I’m actually reading Rebel this month for a group read and I’m very excited to read it! Like you, I’ve heard such rave reviews. In fact, the wait list at my library for it is pretty long (which must be good!) so I might just end up buying it. The “bland” setting does put me off a bit but I’m glad the author turns it into something grand :).

    Jess @ Princessica of Books & The Bookish Blog

  3. HopefulReads says:

    Yay! I’m so glad you loved Rebel of the Sands!!! I totally fell in love with this story and characters and I just want everyone to love it too. You’d think never ending sand would be boring but it’s so beautiful. I cannot wait for the next chapter!

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