ARC Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

ARC Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands
by Alwyn Hamilton

Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: March 8th, 2016
by Viking Books for Young Readers

Format: ARC


Amazon | Book Depository

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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rebel of the Sands  was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year yet I ended up not loving it as much as I had wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book. The second half just ended up letting me down with the amount of ‘twists’ that came.

The first half of the book built on the tension between the two characters and was full of awesome badassery. The second half got better and then all of a sudden, there were too many revelations that weren’t fully developed.

So. Amani is best described as badass. I LOVE HER. She has some epic shooting skills and can take care of herself. It is so much fun watching her journey across the land, even as she screws up from time to time. Amani isn’t afraid of making mistakes and she is a strong character. If the apocalypse happened, I would want her on my side. Unfortunately, I also think it would have been nice to see her character develop a little bit more.

Jin is SUPER SWOONY. #loveatfirstsight (one of these days I am going to do a review completely in hashtags.) Their romance is nice and slow burn in the first half of the book but in the second half, things progress too quickly. They go from this slow-burn romance to love and it didn’t fit with the pace at which their romance had been developing. It’s not insta love since they were together for over two months but, it is something…

The world building in this book is amazing. The author did such a good job at making the world come to life. I LOVED the descriptions, I loved the setting and I loved the way magic became part of this world. The author clearly knew what she wanted readers to get from her world and did a good job at bringing pieces together.

Things get a little iffy with the plot. I loved the direction the book seemed to be heading in and one of the first big revelations had me jumping off the walls. I was ready for more and excited to see what would follow the revelation and how it would affect Amani. Unfortunately, we got a bunch of other revelations to follow that one and I don’t think it worked. It left no room for real development and made lots of relationships in the books feel rushed.

It also made the second half of the book feel rushed in general. We went from a comfortable pace in the first half to moving very fast in the second half. Basically, there is a divide in the book between the first half and the second half, and I would have enjoyed the second half more if it wasn’t rushed. I like fast paced books, I don’t like fast paces when they leave no room for development and this seemed to be the case here.

Having said that, I DID really enjoy reading the book. It was such an amazing premise and the author followed through (for the most part.) Rebel of the Sands was definitely worth the read and it goes by fast. I cannot wait to see what awaits us in the sequel.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.8
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    This one has been getting some mixed reviews but so far I find most are positive. Your praise for the world-building (!!!) and characters is enough to make me want to read this but it’s a shame that things went downhill for the second half of the book, especially where the plot and romance are concerned. We’ll have to compare notes anyway, when I do get around to reading this! Lovely review as always my friend ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Let’s Discuss…(6)My Profile

  2. says

    I just finished reading Passenger and a little bit of what you discuss in this reminds me of my experience with that read–the romance progressing in a manner that doesn’t quite fit with what came before it, a series of rushed revelations towards the end, a case of too little too late… I know that feeling. But, I have heard a lot of really good things about this so I think I will pick it up (eventually…) but definitely with much lower expectations than before. Thanks for your honesty, Rashika–your reviews are so incredibly helpful! Fantastic review, dear, and I’d love a review full of just hashtags from you! ;)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Romance Mini-Reviews: Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas, Pairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon, and Party Lines by Emma BarryMy Profile

  3. says

    Oh yes. I feel like Rebel is incredibly hyped, and I was afraid to read it because of that. I’m glad to see a more detailed review of it!

    Sounds like there was more than one big reveal? I absolutely love them, but if there are too much, the reader gets used to all the surprises, and it almost seems like an information overload? Like answer-dumpy. Does that term even make sense? Can I coin it? Lol.

    Awesome review Rashika. No idea whether I will be reading this. Maybe if there is a kindle deal or I find it at the library.
    Valerie recently posted…ARC Review: Burning GlassMy Profile

  4. says

    I’m not a big fan of books that rush and lack development either. I feel there is never enough time to invest in them. The plot does sound very interesting though. I’m sorry to hear Rebel of the Sands didn’t live up to your expectations.
    Whitney recently posted…Review: The White TigerMy Profile