She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.
Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him... or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.
I’ve been meaning to gush about this book since I read it last year, but due to the Blogging Crisis of 2016, I wasn’t able to. Well, I was, but I didn’t. Because I suck. But anyway, that’s over now and I’m ready to shout about my ship the book just in time for the sequel to come out. By the way, we’ve recapped Rebel of the Sands over on Recaptains so if you have read the book and are anticipating Traitor to the Throne, you can refresh your memory.
First of all, I have to talk about the world building. What Hamilton has done with both Middle Eastern and Old West elements is enticing, captivating, and to be honest kind of jaw dropping. I absolutely loved the cross between fantasy and steampunk and western. It works so well, and I felt utterly immersed in the story the entire time. It has still stuck with me a year later, which says a lot.
Amina, the main character, is an interesting one. She’s not the most standout main character I’ve ever read about, but at the same time I enjoyed reading about her and I can’t really point out any faults. I felt for her as she was abused and mistreated by her family, and I loved how she was able to overcome that and get herself out of that awful town. Also, her point of view was hilarious, and I loved the snark.
AND THEN THERE’S THE SHIP. So, Jin and Amina are obviously the main pairing. I imagine they’ll be endgame. And I guess I ship them. I don’t hate them together or anything, and there’s a little bit of chemistry there, which is always good. So when they are endgame, I won’t be too disappointed. But my actual ship is SHAZAD/AMINA. There was tonnes of chemistry there and I thoroughly enjoyed their scenes together. Even if they don’t turn out to be a thing, which they probably won’t because I have a tendency to crackship, I will still root for them. And maybe make some sacrifices to the gods.
Another thing I loved about Rebel of the Sands is how fast paced it was. There was never a dull moment, and it didn’t feel like there were any pointless fillers or any convenient moments to move the plot forward. I hope this is something that holds true for the sequel as well, as middle books in trilogies often turn out to be filler books. But I have faith, and I really think that Hamilton will be able to pull it off, judging by a) this book and b) how much of a bookish fangirl she is.
Definitely give this book a chance if you haven’t already. If you pick it up soon then you’ll be in time for the sequel, and you won’t have to wait an entire year like I did. Trust me, it has been torturous because this is such a solid debut.