Young Leaders and True Heroes: How a 'Rebel of the Sands' Becomes Both

Posted by Marie on March 7, 2018
Alwyn Hamilton is the author of the New York Times-bestselling trilogy Rebel of the Sands. This YA fantasy series and 2016 Goodreads Choice Award Winner follows Amani Al'Hiza, a young girl and magically gifted gunslinger who becomes the leader of a revolution. Here Hamilton gives her take on how the burden of becoming a leader plays a role in becoming a hero.



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Selfish. Out for herself. Independent. Those are the words I used to use to describe Amani when asked about my main character in Rebel of the Sands. She is not interested in being part of any kind of cause that might endanger her, and ready to cut and run at a moment’s notice.

But if you asked me where you’ll find Amani when you pick up Hero at the Fall, the final book in the trilogy, none of those descriptors could apply anymore.

With the rebellion’s former leaders dead or captured and no one else willing to step up, the girl who once only worried about keeping herself alive is now responsible for guiding the movement and saving everyone else. And being “selfish” and “independent” don’t quite work when you have hundreds of people relying on you.

Over the course of Rebel of the Sands and Traitor to the Throne, Amani’s flight instincts turned to fight instincts. She has learned to stand for what she believes in. But that doesn’t exactly mean she’s ready to take charge. Being ready to sacrifice your own life doesn’t mean you’re ready to make decisions that could cost the lives of others.


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Through Hero at the Fall, Amani is plagued by uncertainty with every decision she makes. She’s haunted by the worry that each decision might not be the right one, that it might cost lives. That she is standing in the place of people smarter, more qualified, and who actually know what the right decision is. That, no matter how far she has come since Rebel of the Sands, she’s just not good enough.

If inhabiting the minds of heroes of fiction for a few hundred pages has any insight to give us it’s this: No one is as confident as they might look. But being a hero or a leader isn’t about having complete faith in yourself—it’s about believing in the people who have rallied behind you.

What ultimately drives Amani to be a leader in Hero at the Fall isn’t a surge in confidence about her own choices, it’s her deeply held belief that the rebellion—a ragtag collection of rebels from every corner of Miraji, growing in numbers and passion with each passing day—has it within them to take back their land from the tyrant they’re fighting. She might be uncertain about her choices and worried about making a misstep, but she has absolute confidence in the movement she helped create and in the people who make up that movement. She may be reluctant to risk their lives, but she knows she’d lay down her own for them and for their cause.

And that’s how a rebel and a traitor became a true hero.

Alwyn Hamilton's Hero at the Fall is now available at a bookstore near you. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf. And be sure to share your thoughts on what makes a true hero in the comments.



Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I've loved this trilogy so much. :) This is a great insight into how much Amani has changed throughout.


message 2: by Maria (new)

Maria Reading Hero at the Fall right now. Totally captivating!


Helena🥀 FAVORITE BOOK SERIES EVER❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


message 4: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Impatiently waiting to get my hands on Hero at the Fall. 2nd book left off with such a cliffhanger and great plot twist!


message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol Can't wait to have the book!!!!!!!!!!!


message 6: by sheep cow (new)

sheep cow I think when someone helps an old woman cross the street or a last child at a playground find their parents is a true hero. Something as small as that to Amani and everything in between is what makes a hero.


message 7: by sheep cow (new)

sheep cow Can't wait to read it! Thanks for the series!


message 8: by Marta (new)

Marta My favourite trilogy!!♥


Holly Ann🦋 Such an amazing trilogy❤️


message 10: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Jaffe ❤️


message 11: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Alyssa Hi Ms. Hamilton, I have a question. Why is every city in this series an Arabic and authentic name, while Amani is from Dustwalk? That never made any sense to me. I felt like it was just thrown out there.

Thanks :)


message 12: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn Romero Loved this series! I bought it for my class, best purchases ever.


message 13: by Fai (new)

Fai What age group is this please?


message 14: by Cos.In.Dreamland (new)

Cos.In.Dreamland Favourite trilogy ever😊


message 15: by Harnie (new)

Harnie I'm so glad I pre-ordered the book and when it arrived I was as excited as ever. I've currently started reading it and it was great to hear from Amani after a long time:)Hero at the Fall


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