Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Rebel of the Sands #1

Rebel of the Sands

Rate this book
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.

314 pages, ebook

First published March 8, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Alwyn Hamilton

11 books4,220 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
19,549 (31%)
4 stars
24,840 (40%)
3 stars
12,370 (20%)
2 stars
3,116 (5%)
1 star
1,221 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,142 reviews
Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.6k followers
June 18, 2016
4.5/5 stars! Review coming soon to my channel...
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
March 18, 2016
Jin had the sort of smile that would turn over whole empires to the enemy - that made me feel like suddenly I understood him exactly, even though I knew nothing about him.

I was so certain I would love this book. A Middle-Eastern fantasy with djinn, magic and mythical horses? It's like a unique and delicious recipe for exactly the kind of book I would love. And yet, for the first two thirds, I was so painfully bored I very nearly DNFed it.

Rebel of the Sands does pick up toward the end when the real fantasy and magic elements are finally introduced to the story. It takes a very long time to get there, though, and the journey is a slow one.

I'm willing to admit that part of my problem with this book is a personal one. On two levels.

1) Firstly, I just did not like the fusion of Arabian mythology with a Western setting. By "Western", I mean cowboys, shoot outs, saloons, etc. I didn't think it worked and, if you ask me, it succeeded in taking an area of the world that is oft-unexplored in modern fantasy and westernizing it.

2) For the most part, this book mirrors the plot of the stream of other Westerns we've seen lately. Maybe I would have liked it more had I not already read the first two thirds in Walk on Earth a Stranger, Vengeance Road and Under a Painted Sky.

My initial excitement over this return to the Western genre is petering out, because it seems that everyone is telling the same story. Badass, gun-toting heroine who, though pretty cool, is exactly the same in each book. Absent or dead parents forcing heroine to impersonate a cowboy and go on the road. Long-ass road trips, usually with accompanying hot dude.

^This sums up the plot of each book I mentioned, as well as Rebel of the Sands. And yes, I'll admit the other books may just have the advantage of being first but, for whatever reason, they were so much more compelling than this one.

The beginning is literally all about getting Amani and Jin on the road together. Jin is an easy-to-spot love interest as early as page seven, when he is introduced with a detailed description of his bone structure *rolls eyes*, but the two have zero chemistry. Because Amani has been desperate to leave her town and Jin is a wanted fugitive, the two hit the road in a blaze of drama.

I think what this story lacks for a long time is an end goal. I'm not a big fan of journey books, for a start, but it is even worse when I have no clue what we're moving towards, or what we should be concerned about. The bigger story emerges later, but by then I was bored and tired of reading about Amani and Jin riding around together and almost making out.

I have no interest in the sequel.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store
Profile Image for Regan.
457 reviews110k followers
June 9, 2023

Review on my channel to come!
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,253 followers
August 15, 2016
Let me start by saying I don’t give out 5 stars easily. It has to be a book I find nothing wrong with, absolutely love, and plan on reading again and again. Rebel of the Sands does all of that. About halfway through I was freaking out because I wanted a sequel so badly. I knew I would need way more of this world and the characters. I seriously cannot recommend this book enough.

The story starts with a shooting competition. Amani is disguised as a boy and needs to win in order to finally have enough money to escape Dustwalk and travel all the way to Izman, the place her mother always told stories about. It was said to be a place where a girl could be free and make her own choices. Her mother died almost a year ago leaving Amani to live with her aunt and uncle. They are awful. Her uncle wants to marry her off so he no longer has to take care of her, but is debating marrying her himself. Dustwalk is clearly a dead-end town for a girl. It make sense that she would rather die trying to escape the town. Amani meets a mysterious foreigner who appears to bring the perfect opportunity for her to finally leave. She has no clue her world is about to be changed forever.

Amani is a very tough, feisty badass chick. She has attitude and a smart mouth, but is determined, strong, and compassionate. She is also incredible with a gun - quite the sharp shooter. She’s actually my favorite heroine in a ya book in quite some time.

Every single chapter ended with something that kept me needing to read. If I could have, I wouldn’t have ever put the book down. The writing is completely engaging, while the world-building is original and exciting. The desert nation of Miraji has stories that read like folktales with all this mythology seeped in. This is where the fantasy genre comes into play. There is magic and immortal creatures like skinwalkers and nightmares that roam the desert. There is also a rebellion with a rebel prince plotting to take back his rightful throne.

There is a whole lot going on, but it all flows together nicely. I enjoyed meeting all of the characters within the story. There aren’t too many to remember, but you definitely meet plenty throughout. I am excited to see where the story goes in the second book. I felt like Rebel of the Sands ended nicely without any crazy cliffhangers, but still left you wanting to read more. There was a nice slow-burning romance that actually felt real the way it developed. The chemistry at one point had me swooning. That just doesn’t happen with me, so consider me hooked. I cannot wait to see where it all goes.

This western twist on an arabic-inspired setting works perfectly.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,631 reviews34k followers
February 16, 2016
4.5 stars Guys, meet your new favorite historical fantasy series.

This book has spectacular world-building, nimble dialogue, finely drawn characters, and epic battles with magic--not to mention so much chemistry between the main characters that the air is practically charged with the irresistible pull between them.

This is that sweeping story (and romance) you might've wanted from THE WRATH AND THE DAWN but didn't quite get. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, and I loved that everyone here, good or bad, believed in something bigger than themselves. I hope like hell this makes a lot of bestseller lists. It deserves it.

And holy hell, it's a debut! So excited for more books from this author, and for this story to continue.

More of a review to come.
March 9, 2016

Oh, good lord this book was boring. This is a spaghetti Western meets Middle Eastern fantasy and it is just as bad as it sounds. Ok, I guess it wasn't terrible terrible, but it is so excruciatingly dull.

Awhile back, Walk On Earth A Stranger came out. It was also a Western, and it was also super fucking boring. But apparently a lot of people loved it. I wasn't one of them.

Aside from the Middle-Eastern-magic thingy, there are a few similarities between this book and Walk On Earth A Stranger.

1. Girl with special skills/power growing up in a place where she's different and special
2. Girl has no parents/dead parents
3. Girl disguises herself to get the fuck out of Dodge
4. Girl falls in with a guy who can't possibly be the romantic interest! Not
5. Girl goes on a long-ass, unending, again, excruciatingly dull road trip to get to wherever the fuck she's supposed to go

Judging from the high ratings for this book and Walk On Earth A Stranger, clearly people like this stuff. It's just not for me.

Read this review and more @ The Book Eaters
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,937 followers
July 6, 2017
I fell right in love with this freaking book! I don't usually like sand books < -- that's what I call them, lol, but I loved this one so much! It was such a different take on anything I have read. We have Amani who is dead on with a gun and she's wanting to get out of her town and away from her evil uncle and his wives and kids. It's not a very good living situation and she wants to get out before she is married off or married to her uncle. Hell to the no!

Amani enters a gun contest one night when she sneaks out. She's trying to make money to get the hell out of dodge. She ends up meeting a newcomer named, Jin. They eventually team up and hit the road. Although, it takes a bit for them to trust each other and what not.

Amani was lucky enough to capture a Buraqi which is a beautiful sand horse and if the person who touches it turns it into a real horse, it is theirs. Well of course, since women can't own a damn thing, Amani would have to give it to her sorry uncle. Anyhoo, things happen and Amani and Jin head out of town on said, Buraqi.

I totally loved the world, the characters, the quests, pretty much everything. I loved that there were shapeshifters, Djinni, Demdji, Ghouls, and I'm sure I left something out but you get the idea. It was such a fun ride!

Oh and it was pretty awesome to find out that Amani wasn't just a normal girl after all . . . .

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
September 6, 2021
oh, look. its me. starting a new series when i have so many others that i havent finished yet. but im glad this was so fun so i dont feel as guilty about it.

this story is quintessentially YA, in both tone and writing. it came out in 2016, but the genre has progressed so much since then, that this story might feel a bit dated to some readers. the narrative is pretty simple, the characters are very ‘what you see is what you get,’ and there are a lot of classic tropes used (amani is an outsider, she joins a group of teenage rebels, falls for a mysterious boy along the way).

but i think the thing that really sells this book is the atmosphere and setting. i love a story set in the desert. it can be both mysterious and cruel. i think it provides a great environment for these characters and for the type of story that this is. i also really loved the various tales about the djinn incorporated throughout.

overall, this is the perfect book for anyone looking for a reliable YA fantasy set in a unique world.

4 stars
Profile Image for Kiki.
194 reviews8,529 followers
March 6, 2020
This book was...really something. And by "something" I mean "bad." So bad I ended up leaving it behind in France even though the copy I had didn't belong to me. It's fine, though, because I'm pretty sure the person who the book belongs to would rather it were across the channel too.

I couldn't make head nor tail of it: it's a weird blend of the Wild West and bastardised Arabic folklore, set against a sort of steampunky backdrop with a low fantasy element and also a rebellion and this book just needs to decide what it is and to stop trying to be 4785478 things at once. It needs to cool its fucking jets. You want Wild West? Do Wild West. You want Arabic folklore, do it (properly). But those things mix like soy milk and boiling water. The political and social mechanics of the Wild West (the ungoverned fringes of a too-big empire, the ever-changing frontier, the unstructured infancy of a new country), make 0 sense when they're flopping around amongst the ancient, highly structured, and orderly world of old Arabia.

It doesn't help that this book is written from the POV of a generic heroine with a generic backstory and a generic voice. Even the parts of this book that held promise (I guess the...scenery might have been cool? I'm a sad, needy bitch for anything set in the desert. I love the desert) are bogged down in mediocrity. I suppose I can see why this might be enjoyable: it could perhaps be one of those gems that lets you switch your brain off and just yield to the fluffy, silly fun of the story. Listen: I'm more than capable of doing that. I love fluff books. I'm a stan for The Selection, for crêpes' sake. But the problem is that this book is not fun or immersive, and it also depicts parental abuse, systemic oppression, rampant sexism, frequent rape threats, and a violent rebellion. That's...not really in the spirit of the fluff book, is it?

If handled with nuance, these topics can and definitely should be depicted (I am not, for fuck's sake, going to even dignify the tangential argument of "depicting something isn't endorsing it!!!" because anyone who needs to be told that should be forced to mud-wrestle while wearing their most expensive clothing) but because they're included here, you can't argue that this is just meant to be a "silly book" or that we should lower our expectations. Come on, now. Let's be real here.

This book was just a big dud for me. It's one of those books that I just can't wrap my head around, mostly because I just don't understand what it's trying to do or say or be. But beyond all of this, there's one thing that we always return to whenever we - we being my two-person book club - discuss this book. Guess what it is.

If you guessed the gold suit, then you would be correct.

The gold suit.




Just don't even get me started on the guy in the gold suit. Don't even ask me about it. I just can't get over it.

The gold suit.


Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
130 reviews98.2k followers
February 9, 2017
1.5 Stars

I'm honestly amazed at how popular this book is considering how heavily it relies on stereotypes of middle eastern culture and lore to develop its plot, world, and characters.

Not a fan at all.
May 7, 2020
"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.”

Rebel of the Sands is one of the most delightful and thrilling books i've read in a long time. this tiny, beautiful gem of a book is now one of my absolute favorites. and i was left completely speechless after i’d finished it. 


first off, i rarely mention this in reviews — but this book checks off all the boxes for aesthetics. the cover is so pretty just to look at -- all that glitter and sparkle and the BLUE AND GOLDEN COLORS. and i’ll be the first person to admit that i absolutely buy books by judging their covers occasionally (read: frequently).

we begin with one of the most riveting opening scenes i’ve read in a long time. the story begins with amani al’ hiza disguised as a boy, about to take part in a gun shooting competition. to escape Dustwalk, the dead-end desert town she lives in, she needs to win the prize money so that she can flee to Izman, the great capital city, where it’s said that a girl can be free and make her own choices. it’s essential that she gets the hell out, and quickly, because she discovered a few days before that her repulsive uncle wants to marry her (yikes). what amani isn’t counting on is the mysterious foreigner jin. fate intertwines their destinies when they become temporary allies at the competition. before long, amani finds herself traveling across the desert with jin while caught up in a tangled web of politics, rebellion, myth and romance.

amani was a breath of fresh air. she was a wonderful, gutsy, snarky heroine without being a mary sue; and i fell in love with her fiery personality very quickly.


amani completely redefines badassery. she’s an amazing female lead who’s a wicked shot as well as sassy and smart. amani dreams of escaping her abusive relatives to carve out her own path in life and discover her own personal kind of awesome. she’s defying every stereotype about females in the book and crushing society’s sexism beneath her heel. and she’s fierce and brave and loyal and loving and doesn’t take nonsense from anyone! don’t get me wrong. amani’s definitely an imperfect heroine - she’s very reckless and makes mistakes. but even though she makes mistakes, she acknowledges them and learns from them and never makes them again. and this is what i call excellent character development.

another thing i really loved about this book is THE SETTING! rebel of the sands has a beautiful, carefully crafted plot woven with myths, ancient tales, desert fantasy, magic horses, rebel princes, and a touch of slow-burn romance. it’s just the perfect blend to leave you swooning and turning the pages for more. the story is told with an addictive simplicity, and yet the world building was so well done and the fantasy was absolutely epic. the mythology and ancient tales tied in so well with the direction of the plot and resulted in a tantalising sense of mystery that shadowed my reading throughout the book. also, the storyline is highly addictive and the first chapter hooked me in like never before, transporting me into a scene of action immediately. this continued throughout the entire book with every chapter ending in something that left me wanting to keep reading. i know this is a tiny book, with only 300+ pages but there was so much action packed into the pages and the best part is it didn’t even feel annoying or exaggerated because it was so real. i didn’t see half the plot coming, but it was so realistic and engaging and set the blood thrumming in my veins with anticipation. literally. i tried to read whenever i could spare free time during college hours because i just had to know what happens next. it left me on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding for the characters and rooting so hard for them. and then before i knew it, i’d flipped to the very last page and was left an awestruck mess, craving the sequel like a drug.



in the book, we’re brought to a desert country named Miraji, where mythical desert creatures rule the sands and a missing rebel prince is preparing to reclaim his throne. here's a quick guide to the desert's creatures taken from the official website:

Djinnis - One of God’s First Beings: men made of out of smokeless fire. The true rulers of the desert, their powers are both great and mysterious. Travellers are warned to not trespass on their domain or disturb them in the desert. And to always be polite to strangers lest they be a Djinni in disguise.
Buraqi - A horse fashioned out of sand and wind, the Buraqi run wild from one side of the desert to the other. They may appear as black as the sand of a cool desert night or as brilliant red as a bloody dawn over a sand dune.
Rocs - Great birds the size of palaces that can darken the sun with their wings.
Nightmares - A breed of Ghoul that remains in the sands like an infestation, coming out only at night. These creatures stalk sleeping on the wings of a bat, with the maw of a monster. They crouch on a man’s chest to inject him with venom that infects his mind and body, sending him into a terrible sleep.
Skinwalkers - If the Skinwalkers have a shape of their own it has long been forgotten, as they shift their form from that of one victim to another. A Skinwalker is known to devour the flesh of an unsuspecting desert traveller, and then assume his form to prey on the rest of his travelling party.

this tale is really a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy genre, with its Middle-Eastern (Arabic? Persian?) desert setting and influences, and its intricate world-building that leaves you hooked and makes you feel like you’re in the fictional world itself. i’ve honestly not encountered such a well thought-out fantasy for a while.

romance is alluded to very subtly in the summary, and hinted at in the book, but it never takes up a major part of the book, and neither does it slow down the plot at all. i loved it even more purely for that reason. amani and jin start out as uncertain allies, except amani is adamant that doesn’t need a man and constantly tries to escape from jin because she doesn’t trust him. But then through a number of plot twists, they end up together again, traveling across the desert with a caravan, supposedly on an alternative route to Izman. i enjoyed watching their friendship so much, reading their snarky banter back and forth (amani! she’s such a queen of sass) and it definitely didn’t turn into a steamy romance at all. instead, alwyn hamilton chooses to focus more on the gripping action of the plot, while including some intense moments between amani and jin which hint at their budding romance. this makes the book so much more riveting, and the blossoming relationship between amani and jin very sneaky, but no less sweet. (they do share a kiss or two.) but even with their romance not being the main focus, I STILL SHIP THESE TWO SO HARD, MY PRECIOUS CHILDREN. PLEASE LET ME PROTECT THEM AT ALL COSTS.


the ending of rebel of the sands was something else! a perfect balance of “I’M CRYING THIS WAS SO LOVELY” and “OMG GIVE ME MORE”. for now there isn’t a cliffhanger, but i’m pretty sure there will be one in the next book. but this was great, because at least i didn’t have to live in suspense for the next year!

rebel of the sands is a fantastic debut, a book i loved to pieces after reading only a few pages. it’s a beautifully told young adult fantasy with characters that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. i really fell in love with amani and jin and all the supporting characters and I NEED THE NEXT BOOK. NOW.

“The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn't let weakness live."
February 22, 2018

"But if knowledge was power, then the unknown was the greatest weakness of immortal things.”

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dustwalk always seemed like a prison to Amani - boring with horrible people in it.
The only things she loved were her mother and shooting with a gun.
When her mother gets hanged for killing her husband and Amani is being send to her aunt, Amani’s urge to run away becomes strong.
She tries to win the money to get away - but chaos and a foreigner come into her way.
Soon she meets the foreigner again and an exciting but dangerous adventure begins.
This book is full of great action, Djinns magic, stories and a rebellion with a traitor prince.
It has a good, nice pacing and some lovable characters. It’s definitely a book worth trying, let alone for the world building.
The book is also funny and feels magical, it makes you smile and dream of different wonderful worlds in it. 🎈

Characters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amani is by far the coolest girl with a gun I know. She’s a badass and she knows that it’s completely stupid to think that women are less than man.
No, Amani knows she’s better than any man with a gun. She is strong, intelligent and sometimes ruthless. But in the end there are always secrets to discover. Even in yourself.

“(...) that girl who dressed as a Boy, who taught herself to shoot true, who dreamed and saved and wanted so badly. That girl was someone who had made herself matter.”

And Jin, oh my wonderful Jin. Your smile makes empires turn on each other and girls go dumb. Your heart is full of kindness and love for the world. For your family and for the girl you love.
You thought Amani is a badass? Well you haven’t met Shazi yet, who appears a little later in the book. She’s a real fighter, a born soldier who knows strategy and skill like no one else. She’s definitely one of my favorite female characters now.

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Just imagine you’re somewhere in the desert - maybe in Egypt or in the United Arabic Emirates. There’s desert, there’s gunpowder and there are soldiers everywhere.
You’re ruled by a Sultan, a ruthless man who decided some time ago, that he should rule Miraji instead of his father. So he partnered up with the Gallans - an enemy to Miraji - to kill his own family and get himself on the throne. But there’s a rebellion against him - led by his own son.
But there aren’t only humans in this world. When God created the world he created the First Beings - Djinn, Buraqi.. magical creatures that are powerful and connect with the sand and sun.
They lived undisturbed until the Destroyer of worlds came and twisted the world. They fought, but the First Beings never knew what death is until this day. So they created the Mortals who were brave, fought and died for them.
Soon the Destroyer of worlds was defeated, but he left something on earth for the mortals to fear. Ghouls and other creatures who can be the death of you. Sometimes they’re called nightmares and they suck the life out of you until your soul is gone.
But the immortals didn’t disappear. They stayed and sometimes loved humans. Soon there were children - half Djinn, half humans - Demdji who were gifted with Djinn powers. They create illusions only you can see, they can change their shape and their faces. They change into other people or even animals. They can become fire, death and sand.

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Is there anything sweeter than two people who found each other and learned that together they could survive this terrible world and actually change something?
There are passionate kisses to hide from the enemy and jokes on the long days together through the sand.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It was a nice enjoyable writing with action, friendship, betrayal and love. It was filled with stories from Djinns and Mortals, ruthless Sultans and Princes that wish for a rebellion.

Great BR with my cutie :*
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,832 followers
March 28, 2017

Buddy read 4/5 (we're aLMOST there !!!) with, Praggs ♡♡♡

DNF @ 50%

I started this book with such high expectations! I mean, fierce desert girl escaping a terrible situation with her sharpshooting skills! W o w, sounds great !!!

But after reading twelve chapters. . .


Personally, I’m just concerned where the plot went. . .Literally nonexistent.

The clichés in this book are intense. We got:

- “The Special Snowflake” – this girl has striking blue eyes (that has to be mentioned three times per chapter) while the rest of the simpletons are stuck with ugly brown eyes.

- She’s only sixteen but she’s a world-class sharpshooter – never misses a shot

- The girl who everyone is madly in love with but she's obvious cause like :) :) :) :)

- The Mysterious Foreigner which is basically insta-love just dying to be called out

- The Terrible Parents


- The writing style that makes you want to jump out of a window


I seriously wanted to prove everyone wrong and love this book despite my initial distaste to it but like please stop writing clichés and write something more fascinating than a boring MC and a missing plot.

“Haven't you ever wanted something so bad that it becomes more than a want? I need to get out of this town. I need it like I need to breathe.”

1.5 stars!!
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,754 followers
April 21, 2017
The summary of this book calls it a mash up of The Wild West and Arabian Nights (though it is not a retelling). I think that's pretty accurate in terms of the setting and feel. I do want to acknowledge that there are many negative stereotypes about Middle Eastern culture and the historical US West that are used here, but I don't think the author has ever lived in either region as far as I can tell. Although I ended up loving this story, I don't disagree with people who have questioned if it was her story to tell and say the Middle Eastern influence was poorly researched. I have read a couple of own voices reviews that seem to be in conflict about the representation, and as I have no experience with the background it's hard for me to know what to think.

While reading, I was very engaged and found the story and world interesting and enjoyable. I kept being surprised at how much I liked it. I loved the world-building. It felt familiar AND fantastical. The magical creatures were interesting. I loved the creation mythology. I loved the magic system.

There isn't a ton about the main character, Amani, that stands out to me as something I loved, but there was nothing about her that I hated either. Jin on the other hand was a character I enjoyed from start to finish. I loved the dynamic between the two of them.

The middle portion of this book has kind of a survivalist tone and I'm always a sucker for that. Two characters with conflicting motives having to work together to survive? SIGN ME UP!

I loved the pacing. There was a part of the story right past halfway where the action lulls off and we start to learn more about new things. This is usually where my attention would take a nose dive. I was expecting to lose momentum here but then surprisingly, things were revealed in a way that kept my interest and propelled me on to the end! I particularly loved that some big things were revealed around 3/4 in because this gave us a little time to explore them and get excited for the next book without revealing too early, which can sometimes make me grow bored.

I love

I loved that there were many villains, and I especially loved how one of them () is kind of a wildcard who you want to be won over to the good side but you can't tell how it will play out! I am so invested in seeing what happens with this one character! And the conflict they present to Amani! Ugh! My emotions were all over the place.

This book took the overdone rebellion-trying-to-overthrow-an-evil-overlord trope and made me interested in it! I will definitely continue the series.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews842 followers
February 21, 2017
THE ENDING WAS PERFECT. Perfect, as in an excellent balance of "happy" and "omg tell me more". No cliffhanger, no agony, but things are just starting to heat up in the desert (hehehe). I can't wait to read more! :D

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Book One of the Rebel of the Sands series
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Ahhh, I can see why this book has received so many stunningly positive early reviews so far, and why it's set to be a huge success worldwide. This book was magical! And such a fun, exciting fantasy novel. So many YA fantasy books today are so heavy and gloom-and-doom-y, save-the-world-and-claim-the-throne kinds. This book has certain elements that are typical of YA fantasy novels, but nothing like your average YA fantasy, in my opinion.

Amani desperately wants to escape the small desert town of Dustwalk. She's excellent with a gun, and she's hoping to use those skills to win some prize money and get out of the town, before her uncle marries her off. With a little help from a handsome foreigner, Amani escapes into the world outside of Dustwalk. But she isn't expecting the wild adventure that follows, tangling her up in rebellion and revolution and magic she has never seen before.

My expectations have been super high, ever since seeing this book's cover (the original one AND the new one!). It's not always smart to be excited about a book solely based on the cover, but in this case, I was justified. Kickbutt fantasy + amazing synopsis + gorgeous cover? This book has been calling to me! So I'm even more excited that it did not disappoint, because my expectations were crazy high!

Amani surprised me from the very beginning. I know we in the YA book world like to throw around phrases like "kicka** heroine", how some heroines are tough and feisty and spunky and whatnot. But Amani is a different kind of tough. She's so incredibly mouthy, and she stands in the face of danger and does not back down. I love her wild spirit, and how unafraid she is to show her temper's claws. Not that she has an angry temper - but her personality is very fiery. I love her to pieces! Her character development was a very important part of this book; as she matures as she discovers the world beyond Dustwalk.

The world-building of this book is incredible! Desert fantasies are nothing new in YA, but this desert fantasy is a little different. Guns and trains and other technology totally exist, and yet, so does Djinni and ghouls and magic. The world is also highly patriarchal, and polygamy is very common. Amani's uncle has many wives who all live together with their children... it's just of awful to read, and a bit heartbreaking. The Sultan himself has, and I quote, "more sons than there are hours in the day" (ARC, 170). While no one will like this polygamous aspect (I hope!), everyone can agree that its presence helps the authenticity and richness of the world-building.

Did I mention how much I liked the setting? No? I love desert settings. I like how the author made this desert setting very unique and almost modern, but totally not modern. We're not stuck in Dustwalk for very long, and Amani travels through many places. This book takes place over many months (at least two), and I like how the pacing felt.

Our male protagonist is Jin, who is the foreigner mentioned in the synopsis. Jin! Ah! I liked him a lot. He's charming and funny and adept in a fight. He's handsome and muscular and extremely intelligent. We don't know exactly who he is for a good part of the book, but when we find out, it came as a bit of a surprise to me. I LOVE that the author does not take a cliche route with Jin. Jin is one of my favorite characters in the book, and I was cheering him on just as much as I was cheering on Amani.

We meet many of our secondary characters in the latter half of the book, and I adore so many of them! Shazad is another strong female, in a different way. Hala too. Bahi is such a sweetie! I love the twins too. The author does an excellent with the development of the secondary characters - and what a lovely cast of characters they were.

The story captivated me, and I love how the author moved the plot. The book never seemed slow, or overwhelming. This book is the first in a trilogy, so the author did not get into the heavier parts of the fantasy in this particular book. We are introduced to the political conflicts and there are some key moves made in this book. But I liked that, despite all of that, this story remained fun and adventurous. I'm sure it'll get more calculating and threatening and fearful in the next two books, but I'm savoring the adventure that was this first book.

There is a subtle and sweet romance in this book! The synopsis alludes to it, and I'm happy to say that I love the blossoming relationship between Amani and Jin. I LOVE that they are slowly coming to understand their feelings - there are no "I love you"'s thrown around, and no one is making rash decisions for the sake of each other. The romance is so sweet, and yet, so sneaky. I foresee more swoony scenes in future books, but this one kept the romance light and sweet. Also, no love triangle in any way shape or form! Not an insinuation or speck or whiff.

No cliffhanger either! Small mercy there, because I have been hit with so many cliffhangers recently. Phew! I'm sure there will be a cliffhanger at the end of book two of the trilogy (as it usually happens), but we're safe for now!

Have I said enough to convince you? I'm going to wrap up my review a little, because I could probably go on and on. I loved this beautiful story and cannot wait to read the next book!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing that I can think of at the moment! Maybe that we have to wait for the sequel?! Personal request there - more kissing!

Would I Recommend It:

Whether you're a YA fantasy fan or not, this is definitely NOT a book to miss. The ending is not cliffhanger-y at all, so it wouldn't hurt to start now! I so want to reread this book and experience it all over again. What a fabulous story!


4.5 stars -> rounded up to 5 stars. I can see this being a favorite at the end of the year! I don't give the five-star rating often, but I'm thinking this book deserves it!
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,380 followers
September 6, 2019
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 3.75 stars

“You know, I never believed in fate until I met you… then I started thinking coincidence didn’t have near so cruel a sense of humor”

🌟 This year has been weird for me reading wise! I ended up disappointed by most of the books I expected to love and vice versa! Expectations are apparently a dangerous thing.

🌟 This book is a GR choice winner for the year of 2016, and I expected it to be a copy of all the other books in this genre and the beginning even gave me that and I was ready to get bored! However, the more I read, the more I enjoyed it and the more creative I thought it is.

🌟 I was afraid of the settings because I thought the Middle Eastern settings would mean some Arabic that does not make sense would be thrown in, it never happened and the writing was good. The setting is quite tricky because it is a mix between Eastern and Western and I would have preferred only one but it was not such a huge problem for me.

🌟 The characters are well written, I thought that Amani would be the typical YA girl, dead parents and is sneaking as a man because of the oppression but that was just the beginning and her character started to get unique after that! She’s not the greatest character but def not the worst! And I finally found a character with my name!!!


🌟 But the plot was what I enjoyed most, because I liked the magic system and I loved the mythology that was told through many short stories between the characters and then things started to make sense and fall into its place and I was happy with the outcome! I wanted to re-read it again just to see the things I missed the first time!

🌟 Summary: Rebel of the Sands was an enjoyable read and I don’t know if it was because of my lower expectations or it was really good! I know one thing for sure that it is slightly different to the other YA books and I can see why it won an award. I would recommend this for YA lovers and will continue the series for sure now 😀

you can get the book from here: Book Depository
Profile Image for Lainey.
261 reviews1,577 followers
March 16, 2016
Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHRZy...

Update 2/19/16 - After sitting on this one, I'm rating it a 2.5 instead.

All I can really say about this is that the book left a lot to be desired.

Rebel of the Sands tells the story of a young woman gunslinger named Amani. She lives in this small town that she says has too many of two things: guns and sand. Orphaned and living with her uncle and aunts, she finds the opportunity to leave the town behind with the help of a mysterious foreigner. That's all you get from the summary on the back of the book and this all takes place in the first 75 pages leaving you to wonder what the hell the plot is. Keep wondering because it actually doesn't show up until the last 70 pages of the novel leaving me to believe this was all just set-up book for the series.

So, I rated this a 3. The first chapter is one of my favorite first chapters from the book, so I was really excited for this book, and then after the summary of the book happened, my interest in the book started to go downhill and it didn't rise again until the very end. I will be continuing with this series, but this book is definitely not one of my favorite I ever read.

One of the biggest problems I had with it was the world building. The set up was great - a desert fantasy setting with guns and iron and trains and magic. I was feeling it. My problem with it was that the author seemed to be throwing new elements into the story as she went along like, "oh yeah, this is a thing that has been going on for thousands of years but I'm only now mentioning it on page 250." I didn't like this. I wanted to feel all this from the beginning. This also happened a lot with the magical beings like the Burqui, the Nightmares, and Skinwalkers. They all felt like an afterthought. They didn't feel cemented into the story and were kind of just "there" to add drama to the storyline. If you like complex magic-systems in stories you won't get it here. In continuation with the setting, I found the names to be very... I don't know. First, Amani is from Dustwalk. Yet all the other cities in this country are given these very middle eastern-esque names like Izman, Dassama, Mirija, etc. Not to mention there was so difference between places and peoples' names. Sometimes I had no idea if they were talking about a person or a place because they are all so similar. I would have liked to have seen more of a difference for this world. Along with this world being in a fantasy setting, I found the diction to be very... modern. It kept reminding me of an American teenager the way Anani spoke and it kept taking me out of this world. I just wanted more for this world and I felt like it all wasn't very developed well and could have been.

Character wise, I felt no connection to anyone - especially our main heroine. Jin, who is the main male character and love interest, I didn't feel their connection at all. And of course, their relationship is rushed light years when I finished the chapter, turned the page and read: "Over the next six weeks..." THIS IS HOW TO KILL A RELATIONSHIP. As a reader, I need to SEE all of this happened, especially if it is told in one perspective, first point of view. You can only get away with that if your story is multiple pov. Honestly, when I read the summarized six weeks in one paragraph, I couldn't connect with this characters anymore. Especially since we were at a point in the story when I had no idea what we were working towards - aka there was no plot.

What prevented me from rating this book a two was the last 100 pages or so, when the plot appeared. And yet... as action-thrilled as it was suppose to be, I was just reading this, I wasn't feeling it at all. I didn't care if anyone died in the last scene, I didn't care about anything really. But still, I'll be reading the next book to see what happens. I just wished I was more emotionally invested in this story and I wasn't.
Profile Image for Nina.
790 reviews282 followers
August 11, 2018
Amani Al’Hiza has been trying to escape her hometown Dustwalk for years; but even though she’s a gifted gunslinger with a perfect aim, she just can’t manage to shoot herself out of the town on her own. But 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 a mythical horse – or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

The plot of this book was amazing. “Rebel of the Sands” was so interesting and such a gripping read. I was literally glued to it and just couldn’t put it down anymore. It was such a quick read and I absolutely loved the setting of this story. Furthermore, there were so many things that I just didn’t see coming and it was definitely one of the most entertaining novels I’ve read in a long time.

Another thing I loved about “Rebel of the Sands” were the unique characters. The main characters Amani and Jin were absolutely fantastic and I adored both of them. There were just so many different kinds of characters in this book and I didn’t grow bored of any of them. And I also just really loved the romance in this novel. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had “butterflies” in my stomach while reading about the relationship of two book characters and I can’t wait to get more of them in the next books.

I also really liked Alwyn Hamilton’s writing style. The book was very well written and overall, just very easy to read.

So all in all, you can probably already guess that I absolutely loved this book. It had amazing characters, a great plot, was super interesting and a book I just couldn’t put down anymore which is pretty much everything I was looking for. I just had to give this book a full five stars and I still can’t believe it took me so long to finally start this series. By the time I’m writing this review – which is almost three weeks after reading the book – I’m actually already in the middle of the sequel, Traitor to the Throne, and I’m enjoying it just as much as “Rebel of the Sands”. Currently, I definitely feel like this series has the potential to get a spot on my list of all-time favorite book series.

instagram || my blog || twitter
Profile Image for Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books).
211 reviews1,012 followers
September 7, 2016
This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books.

Rebel of the Sands has one of the best opening chapters I've read in a long time!

We start by finding Amani Al'Hiza disguised as a boy and about to take part in a gun shooting competition. To escape her dead-end town of Dustwalk and her repulsive uncle (who wants to marry her), she needs to win the competition to have enough money to finally flee to Izman. At the competition she meets Jin, the mysterious foreigner, and Amani soon finds herself as part of the uprising against the Sultan and his destructive forces.

I loved this! It was so refreshing to read a fantasy book that wasn't set in an England-type environment; this was pure Middle Eastern desert with djinnis and mythical sand horses, but also had somewhat of a cowboy western vibe going on. Hell yes.

Amani carried the story wonderfully. She was sassy and strong but also incredibly naive about the world outside of her small town. Discovering the outside world alongside her was such an exciting experience. We see desert battles, gun slinging competitions, mythical sand horses, a train heist, I could go on, but I won't because you all should read the book.

Now, why did I give this four out of five rather than the full five? I found many of the supporting characters, who we meet past the halfway point, to be a bit flat, not quite as fleshed out as they could have been. Especially Ahmed, who should have been way more memorable. However, as this is the first book in the series so I'm banking on the fact that these characters will shine in the future novels.

Rebel of the Sands is Alwyn Hamilton's debut novel, which is absolutely ridiculous considering how well written and well paced it is. You can tell she's a natural storyteller, and I am SO excited to see what else she gives us.

Let us also take a moment to admire the gorgeous cover our eyes are thanking us for.

Buy your copy today!  (Amazon US / Amazon CA / Book Depository / Indigo)
Profile Image for lauren ❀.
294 reviews432 followers
April 11, 2017
I loved everything about this book and to be honest I didn’t expect to. The fact that the setting was very different to what I usually read was why I loved it. I loved how Alwyn Hamilton decided to change the typical setting that is in every other book and made it so diverse. Everything about it was perfect! There was just enough romance, and all the fantasy and magical creatures were just great!! I was so intrigued from the beginning. The sad part now is that I need to wait to have the second book in my hands.

Before this book I was almost headed into the reading slump because of the current book I was reading so then I decided to read this book. I ended up flying through it (but not because the writing was so big and there was a big gap at the top and bottom of each page) and loving it so much! The second I started the book I just had to carry on reading it. The characters were all really good and they were actually lovable and not annoying which is so good.

Amani is the main protagonist and she was a really strong female character. I loved how even though where she lived women weren’t able to do much she still taught herself all these things and tried to be different. The only thing that really bothered me about her was how she always left people behind and cared only for herself. I understand that was the purpose and the author wrote her that way but it still irritated me. Jin, who the newcomer to Amani’s home was actually my favourite character. I loved him and his personality from the beginning.

I loved how a lot of things that happened around a third of the book was so different. The author kept slamming all these twists and turns in the plot one after the other. Everything was so unexpected and every time I turned the page something crazy happened. This book is such a wonderful book and I NEED the second book NOW. I can’t wait to see how everything turns out and how the story unfolds. I totally recommend this to anyone!!
509 reviews2,414 followers
February 9, 2017
It's been almost a year since I've read this, but it stuck to me in a way that I can still remember a lot about what I loved about it. In this glorious piece of heaven you will find:

1. A realistic heroine -- Amani's fierce AF. She has a huge mouth that she can't shut, is incredibly sassy and fierce. At first she was too into herself and a bit stuck up, but her development was amazing and she turned into such a compassionate, loving heroine by the end. (Not that her original murderous self wasn't awesome or anything, because it was.)

2. A kick-butt world... and MAGIC -- It was so easy to get lost in Miraji, with its djinn, ghouls and magical horses. But we've also got guns, trains, and those tech things that make the world a bit more complex and intriguing.

3. A super cute love interest and romance -- Jin is just a mixture of mysterious, witty and charming (yes, feel free to ask for my hand in marriage, Jin darling), who isn't afraid to back down. He compliments Amani and they're just so annoyingly cute together.

4. BEAUTIFUL pacing -- IT WAS FAST. It wasn't too fast that you wouldn't get any of the stuff that went down, but it wasn't slow in a way that you wouldn't get any substance from the plot. It was just fast enough for a lot of things to go down, remain totally investing, but still understandable.

5. That cover -- Let's just admire it, yes? Do yourself a favor and get yourself a physical copy. You're welcome.
Profile Image for Beth.
744 reviews576 followers
March 14, 2018
Four Stars!

Special thanks to Tânia for the recommendation!

“But if knowledge was power, then the unknown was the greatest weakness of immortal things.”

I think I have a new type of book that I seem to be enjoying a lot lately… and that is desert type books. I don’t know how else to put it. We have one of my new all time favourites An Ember in the Ashes and now we have this! I was pleasantly surprised by it. I had no idea what to expect going into this, I keep away from reviews and reading too much into something before I go into it, and I’m SO happy I did! I was delighted to see elements of magic, shunned Princes, a rebellion, some romance, lots of twists and so much more.

It is full of detail, to say this is the first book in a series it seriously engages you and it makes you want to read more (lucky me I started it late and can hopefully binge the rest of the series this month!) The world and character building was brought to life and it was so easy to imagine. I think that’s what I enjoyed so much! The detail you get is as though you can place yourself in the pages and become part of the story, I loved it!


“What else was I meant to do? Leave you to die?"
"You might've."
"I wouldn't have.”

We first see Amani trying to escape from her current situation due to certain matters (to be honest I don’t blame her) from the moment I met her I was like, yep me and you are going to get a long just fine. She was a good a character, we see her come into revelation, holding her own and when things are unexpected although immature for a while realises it’s better to not hold a grudge. (I felt like a proud mummy bear at that point). I loved her building relationships with the characters and knowing her worth. I need to know more.

Then we have Jin, he’s trouble from the moment you meet him, and I was a sucker I can’t even begin to explain. He too takes things in his stride, his loyalty is unfaltering and his belief in others was just ahhhhh, I can’t help but smile! I also liked his take on religion, he may not be religious but the way he saw it was so well done. I’m pretty intrigued to find out what happens with his story.

What I liked?
- I loved all of the storytelling throughout, it really set the scene but not only that we got so much insight to what happens.
- The backwards and forwards of saving lives… I liked it okay!
- All of the magical elements! We had Magic horses, people able to change appearance, hallucinations. I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT.
- The freeing of the Buraqi.
- How creepy the Skinwalkers are.
- The compass.
- There’s a character, I’m not going to mention the name, but there’s a character and when they speak it’s just so full of passion, I was like… sign me up!
- There were so many twists! I mean I knew one of them and others I was completely blind to even though it had been dangled in front of us from the very start.

What I didn’t like?
- One of the plot twists I literally knew from the very beginning. I messaged Tania being like if this isn’t the case I will eat my shoe, and look who isn’t eating their shoe. ME!
- We get introduced to a LOT of characters, at times I couldn’t keep up… don’t know who’s related to who in some cases, and it was a lot of information thrown at me in one chapter than I don’t think has fully settled until probably Traitor to the Throne.
- Why are the women seen to be lesser and not equal, it’s something I can’t stand. I understand WHY it’s like that, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

“These ideas could make men shout for rebellion even when it meant they would hang for it.”

Overall I’m looking forward to continuing on with this series, I mean after that ending how can I not? I’m hoping to see a lot more magic, get to know other characters more and find out more information.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,752 followers
Shelved as 'books-i-own-but-haven-t-read-yet'
March 15, 2016
WESTERNS, I love 'em. FYI.

So REBEL OF THE SANDS was already on my radar before I read the preview chapters, but now I NEEDS IT.

B/c this:

A group of factory workers still in their uniforms huddled around a nomad in a busted-up wagon who was shouting about selling Djinni blood that’d grant good folks their hearts’ desires. His wide grin looked desperate in the oily lamplight, and no wonder. It’d been years since anyone round these parts had seen a real live First Being, let alone a Djinni.
Besides, he should’ve known better than to think desert dwellers would believe Djinn bled anything other than pure fire—or that anyone in Deadshot would believe themselves good folk.

And this:

Even with my face covered from the nose down, Hasan must’ve seen the hesitation. His attention was already wandering past me, like he figured I was about to walk away.
That was what did it. I dropped the money on the table in a jangling handful of louzi and half-louzi that I’d scrimped one by one over the past three years. Aunt Farrah always said I didn’t seem to mind proving myself dumb if it meant proving someone else wrong.

Amani Al'Hiza is a sharpshooter who's been living with her creeper uncle, who wants to make her one of his wives (ICK), and her equally unpleasant aunt since her mother was hung for reasons unknown nearly a year prior.

Unsurprisingly, Amani does not want to become one of her uncle's wives, so she takes the money she's scrounged and stolen over the last several years, and uses it to enter herself in a contest, planning to use the prize money to get the hell out of dodge.

Things don't go as planned.

That's as far as I got with the preview, but the writing is fantastic and authentic, and I want the rest of it NOW.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
513 reviews305 followers
May 8, 2017
Mini review:

Wow this was so much fun! I loved Amani and Jin. The magic and the stories were really cool! Will definitely be continuing this series.
Profile Image for Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★.
123 reviews943 followers
September 14, 2017


If I wanted to.
If I wanted to be part of this story. This riddle.
Truth be told, it was more than a want

this book tells us about a girl named Amani Al - Hiza lives in a town called Dustwalk and she lives with her evil aunt and an uncle who wants to marry her and she is trying to get out of from this town and go to Izman and one day, she goes to a shooting contest but she doesn't know this contest leads her to her adventure with a foreigner guy named Jin.

My Opinion

so I got this book a month ago and just like I usually do, I rarely read the books I bought immediately, I always wait when the right time to comes read them and in this case, I read this book a month later after I got the book and IT WAS FREAKING GREAT ASSAHSBAJHDBJSDJDJBDBS.

I really had a great time with this book and DAMN. I STILL CAN'T STOP STARING AT THE COVER! IT IS SO PRETTY! I prefer this cover than the other covers, I don't know why but the cover looks so amazing and I assume it's Amani on the cover from her blue eyes and she looks kick-ass with fire surrounds her and that black clothes because I love black clothes, all my clothes are mostly black, I just love black because I think it makes me look kick-ass hahahahaha, okay I need to stop rambling and talk about this book. So here are the reasons why I gave this book 3.8 stars!


The Plot

*takes deep inhale* IT WAS SO FUCKING GREAT! *exhales* I mean, this is the first time I read a book like this, there are mythical beasts and I normally don't really like paranormal creatures, but are those mythical beasts considered as paranormal creatures? well, I don't know *shrugs* but one thing I know is I LOVE IT. I love this kind of book and my favorite creature/mythical beast is Buraqi.

A desert horse. A First Being made in the days before us mortal things, from sand and wind. That could run past the end of the world without tiring. ( page, 63 )

horses are my second favorite animals, the first is lions. I love lions because they look and are fierce.
and this book was really great, okay how many time did I say that already? xD
and it is not predictable. like you get theories about what it is all about but then BOOM! they're wrong or most of them are wrong and then this book will make you like " WHAT THE FUCK!? I DIDN'T SEE THAT THAT WAS COMING. SSAHHSHJSGGSGJAJSGYA " and omg, just read this book, it was sooooo amazing.


The Characters

all the characters are so great and the secondary characters are great as well. my favorite secondary character in this book is Shazad Al-Hamad. I won't tell you anything about her, just read the fucking book and I'm sure you'll like her and all the characters felt so real to me and Amani! she's really really amazing and I just love her smart mouth even though it gets her into trouble ...
there are no flat characters in this book, even the bad guys felt so real and I got annoyed by them. maybe it's because I felt connected to Amani. I just don't know why I felt connected to her. I have no smart mouth like hers ( I want to have smart mouth like her, actually ) and our personalities were not exactly same but we shared one or two same personalities and her character development was really outstanding and don't worry she was not a weak girl, she never was. she just got tough and tough and I have to stop at this before I spoil you anything. JUST READ THE BOOK, IT WON'T DISAPPOINT YOU.

maybe you're wondering if I really liked this book this much then why would I give it 3,8 stars instead of 4 or 5 stars. alright, these are the reasons :

The Romance

I'm not gonna say the romance was bad because that would be a lie but I'm not gonna say it's good either. well, the romance was not as great as I expected, it was kinda boring ... I don't think that's the right term ... but the thing is I didn't feel truly connected to the romance. I felt connected to Amani but when the romance scenes happened, I felt like I was watching two people instead of feeling it. my advice to you when you read this book is you better don't get high expectation about the romance and maybe that way you can enjoy the romance more than I did. but this book isn't about romance, I think the romance is just addition to the story to make it sweeter. I hope the romance gets better in the second book.


Boring Moment

this book isn't perfect, there was one time I got bored. but it didn't last long because seriously this book fills with so great and many action scenes and it was just once and I didn't even think to dnf it or anything because it was not the kind of boring that makes you just want to throw the book across the room so you at least get some fun at throwing the book. nope, it's not that kind of boring. it's the kind of boring you still can bear and maybe you get one or two yawn. but I don't think this kind of boring will make you fall asleep and again the boring moment was just once and it didn't last long maybe it lasted for 10 minutes because I was slow at reading it, I'm a slow reader.

thank you so much for reading and liking this book guys, I hope you all have an amazing day!

Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,308 followers
April 14, 2017
3.75 STARS

Rebel of the Sands reminded me so much of the Grisha trilogy mixed with some X-Men elements set in the desert.

This book was a pretty fun read. For sure I liked it but I didn't really love it. At times, the beginning felt a little slow and info dumpy but the story picks up fairly quickly. The characters were actually my favorite part and I loved all the different abilities each Demdji had. Although, I found that Amani's ability to manipulate sand was a little unusual. It was different from your typical superpower but it wasn't as exciting as I was hoping her power to be. But I guess considering how this story is set in the desert, I suppose it proved useful.

However, I was a little disappointed that the Rebel Prince played a very minor role in the book. This whole rebellion was formed for the purpose of the Rebel Prince but we rarely got to see him in action. In all honesty, it sort of made it hard for me to believe that Ahmed was this great, born-to-be leader that everyone made him out to be. If Jin turned out to be the Rebel Prince, it would've been predictable but at least understandable and believable because we spent the whole book being around him as opposed to 2-3 scenes with Ahmed.

Rebel of the Sands had a few twists and turns and I enjoyed the adventure that this book put me on. I appreciated the Mulan influences that surrounded our main character, Amani. Although this book certainly wasn't the greatest I've read, I can really see the potential that Alwyn Hamilton has as an author and I look forward to more books written by this author.
Profile Image for ☆☽Erica☾☆.
200 reviews676 followers
March 21, 2016

Someone please save me from the nightmare that is this moment. I am so disappointed.

I have been waiting for this book for months now. Even preordered it. And the cover, how beautiful. THE COVER TRICKED ME.

I so hardcore wanted this to be amazing. But it wasn't.

Okay first of all- the plot. It's a story about a girl who dresses like a boy to achieve her goals while slinging a gun like a champ. This is a fine idea, and I personally like it, but I've seen so many like it lately. And this particular version did nothing to wow me or bring anything new to the table.

For a large portion of the story the two main, hot, young hetero characters are venturing across the desert. Sidenote: How do so many situations find a hot guy and girl adventuring together? Like why are seventeen-year-olds so special? And why are they always paired this way? Anyways, I honestly found myself skimming this pointless traveling majority of the book. Nothing happens that is even remotely important and it is so darn boring. This boringness includes the semblance of a romance intertwined in the plot, because that whole thing was just a huge fail. I didn't even care about the two main hot people kissing or anything. I would have preferred to just skip that altogether, which is really weird for me because I love romance in stories. There was literally no chemistry between them and barely any buildup to what I guess was intended to be the glue to the whole story. The main girl character Amani has been wanting to escape her desert homeland for basically her entire life and go to this mystical city she's heard about. But then she meets this handsome dude and she suddenly would follow him anywhere?

The only part of this story that I liked was when we got to the magic part (THAT THE BLURB PROMISED) that was allllll the way at the end! GAHHHHH..

But! All of these annoying qualities would have ultimately been okay if not for the writing. That's where it died. Because the balance here between action and internal monologuing was too vast. And within that internal monologuing there was entirely too much pointless detail. To conjure up an example of my own so I don't have to type out what the book says because I'm feeling lazy:

As I walked down the dark dreary alley, that once I danced through on the night of the Dance. I thought about how my mother would never reach the world of her own thoughts. How love would never grace the lowly precedence set my her forefathers. Suddenly I heard a click at my temple. There was a .05 rifle slighshooter rifle notched easily against my cranium.
"Time to die," said my assailant.
I took in the situation and thought about what my great-great-grandfather would do. Oh how he loves dolphins. Where do you think dolphins even come from? Like we're in the desert here. Haha, I'm so funny. Sigh, I wonder what my best friend is doing right now. I have to give him back his lamp that I borrowed. Not sure why I had to borrow that but yeah. It's a yellow lamp that helps guide the way through the darkness. In my land, after the sun goes away, things become dark. We have begun to call that "Night." Suddenly my thoughts flashed back to the gun at my head.
"Not today bitch," I screamed and grew a gun out of my own arm to shoot him. Logic doesn't matter here. Neither does time.

Okay so there's an example. Like something would happen and then there would be this endless time in between the action and the reaction for thoughts and even sometimes conversations. It made no sense. One time they were getting attacked in the desert by magic creatures and suddenly they find out Amani is a girl and they have this whole argument about whether to trust her now ????????? Like what????? Are the ghouls coming after you?????????????

I am lost.

Basically the writing was too uneven and soiled what action the book did have. Plus with all the descriptions and random names, I got lost in the middle of action sequences. It was actually pretty impressive how confused I got.

Anyways, if you want, you should try this book out. I didn't particularly like it though.
Profile Image for Feyre.
102 reviews244 followers
March 18, 2018
“She moved like a storm someone had given steel to.”
― Alwyn Hamilton, Rebel of the Sands


This book was so disappointing !! I expected and wanted so much to love this. But unfortunately, nothing worked for me. It took me more than a month to finish the book. I didn't care for the characters and found the whole experience to be boring.
Sorry, but I don't think i'll be continuing on with this series !! :(
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,142 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.