Author: Alwyn Hamilton
First Published: March 8th 2016
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Available As: Hardcover, paperback, ebook
My Copy: Kindle Edition
My Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Instead of the usual English (is that even what you call it?) fantasy, this time we have an Arabian theme. We have a whole load of mythical creatures, like Djinni, Roq, Buraqi... They all play a large role in Rebel of the Sands, but not the type of role we'd normally expect.
Amani is an independent, tough and witty character. She manages to wriggle her way out of trouble around 99% of the time. In the beginning, she's the type of person who would run to save their own skin, but by the end of the book, she is willing to stay behind and risk her life for her friends. Her character development is strong and detailed, seen when she left Noorsham and Tamid for dead in the earlier parts of the book, but wouldn't let Shazad die on the train. Go Amani!
Jin is different from what I expected. Unlike many YA characters these days, he seems to have no interest in the current state of things, especially since he doesn't want anything to do with the rebellion. Yes, he will stand alongside his family, but no he doesn't particularly want to fight. He is even quick to criticise Amani when *spoiler alert* she finds out there she is a Demjinni. Once she knows, she's determined to figure out her powers, thinking that only then will she be powerful and important. Jin rebuts that by saying that she was already important in the first place - as the Blue Eye Bandit. Ah, cute supportive boyfriend there ;) *spoiler over*
Amani and Jin's relationship is also nicely told. They seem like two strangers helping each other in the beginning, but that slowly develops into something more. Eventually, they end up fleeing together and they are a great team! Then - obviously - their friendship changes into something more romantic, but there isn't that much romance in this, except for Jin's protectiveness over Amani and their kiss at the end. :) I like Jin because although he is pretty protective over Amani, he isn't possessive or controlling. He's Amani's support, because even if he doesn't like her actions, he won't stop her.
Now, to the plot! There was quite a lot of action in this one, but limited to fleeing, fight scenes and talks of rebellion. No gory or bloody scenes at all. In every YA book, there has to be a rebellion right? But this one seems more calm and subtle, none of the "let's rush in and kill all the government!" and *stab-stab-stab* kind of violence. Of course, there is talk of bringing down the monarchy so the Rebel Prince can regain his rightful throne, but it doesn't extend past that. This kind of rebellion really brings some relief, especially after the heartbreaking rebellions as seen in Mockingjay, Red Queen, etc. I can't wait to see how this plays out!
This book really beats out all cliches in the YA Fantasy-Dystopia category. There is a rebellion, but no violent bloodshed (not much, anyway - just the weapon). Amani isn't selfless, but rather selfish at first. And no cliffhanger moment! The ending was pretty calm, not the heart-breaking kind, but it still manages to keep you longing for the next book to come out.
All in all, this book hit all my expectations and surprised me even more! I cannot wait for the next book!
My Chosen Quote