C.G. Drews's Reviews > Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
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really liked it
bookshelves: magical-fantasy, read-2016, young-adult

I get slightly nervous going into Massively Highly Anticipated Books of My Life -- because what if I don't like it???? What if my expectations are too high??? Whatifwhatifwhatif. But, WHY DID I EVEN WORRY ABOUT REBEL OF THE SANDS?!? It was a glorious conglomeration of Persian fantasy, magic horses, sass, and guns...and I absolutely freaking loved it.

(Seriously tho, was this book written for me?? Omg.)

It's basically set in a dusty fantasy world with Middle Eastern influences. I was actually surprised because I NEVER read modern fantasy like this??? (It reminded me a bit of Blood Red Road actually, which I also abso-freaking-lutely love.) We have, like, weapons factories and GUNNNNNNS and shooting people -- but we also have spirits and ghouls and terrible things lurking in the desert that like to rip your face off. #nice And sand. MUCH SAND. It actually almost had a cowboy western feel to it at times...but that could be because I just finished reading Under a Painted Sky and am thinking of all the western things. AHEM. MOVING FORWARD!

Amani is downright awesome. She's the "tough heroine" who is a wicked good shot and dreams of running away from her abusive relatives to FIND HER DESTINY OF AWESOME. But she's not ever irritating??? She's really really sassy. And she makes mistakes. Omg, so. many. mistakes. (I kind of wanted to hurt her when (view spoiler)..I mean, wut even Amani?!?!?) But she had amazing character development too.

And of course there's the love interest: Jin. Whom I adored. It could be because of the sass. Or that he slinks into a shooting game in the local tavern and competes against Amani and they're so stinkin' cute together. Ooooor, it could be because he gets shot right at the front and I do love a good story where everyone is bleeding. Ahem.


Also the story itself?! I basically loved it to absolute pieces. It's fast! It's like this entire WORLD crammed into a 330 page novel and, um, hello and excuse me but I'M SO PLEASED ABOUT THIS. Usually I find smaller novels suck with the world building. BUT NOPE. Epic world building. Epic mythology. Epic settings. EEEEPIC EVERYTHING, DANGIT. (Although it did have a tendency to info-dump in the form of folklore tales occasionally. Which I'll forgive it for? But I wasn't particularly interested in those tales.)

"So why isn't it full 5 stars, Cait?" you say, because you are intelligent and noticed I'm holding back. Just slightly. There were a smattering of things I found underwhelming.

For Instance:
• I predicted one of the biggest plot twists. I think it was waaaay too obvious. (view spoiler)
• Then I did get a bit confused at the end because there are SO MANY CHARACTERS and I'm still not 100% who is killing who and for what.
• Also Amani was way more spunky and awesome at the beginning. Maybe she was maturing? But as soon as Amani stopped shooting things along the journey, I was sad.
• I also saw the phrase "sharp shooter" in the blurb? And I thought that meant, like, taking out people at long distance or whatnot. But Amani was an AWESOME SHOT but she really wasn't hired for her gun or anything?
• It's very sexist. Like, that's okay! Because Amani was like kicking the sexism in the teeth...but I am so tired of sexist fantasy worlds.

...but basically?!? This book was AMAZING and I want to hug it for nearly ever. I'm so happy because of the Persian culture particularly (!! my favourite !!) and all the shooting and trains and MAGIC STUFF and wild actiony adventure. This is definitely on my "you must read it or I will perhaps growl" list. SO WHAT EVEN ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? GO GO GO.


Jin was at my side..."Did you just shoot someone?"
"I got us hired, if that's what you're asking. And I only shot his glass."
Jin hooked one arm around my shoulder, leaning on me. "I knew I liked you, Bandit."

"You're going to get us both killed if you go off looking for this on your own, you know. And if I was going to die on account of you, I'd rather have done it weeks ago before I had to do all this walking."
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Reading Progress

August 5, 2015 – Shelved
August 5, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
February 12, 2016 – Started Reading
February 12, 2016 –
page 200
63.69% "So this is FREAKING BRILLIANT. Guns and magical horses and sass. <3333"
February 13, 2016 – Shelved as: magical-fantasy
February 13, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
February 13, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 13, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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em_is_reading OKAY I REALLY WANT TO READ. And, I'm also sick of sexist fantasy worlds. I've seen a few awesome Matriarchy fantasy worlds where the women are in charge and the guys have to disguise themselves as girls to fight or whatever, but where's ones where women and men are just completely equal?

C.G. Drews SAME. I have never read an epic fantasy where sexism wasn't there to some degree. Like even in The Demon King it has a matriarchy but there's STILL SEXISM. *sighs* I would like, just once, to read a gender equal fantasy world?

Liv Perisan/Middle East influence? Ooooh, that sounds really different and exciting! There aren't so many fantasy books set in this kind of environment. Will definitely be adding it to my books to check out, thanks for bringing this to my attention ;)

message 4: by Zara (new) - added it

Zara I really want to read this book now. It was on my TBR list, but it wasn't highly anticipated. NOW, I want to get my grabby hands on it. This book sounds awesomely unique!

C.G. Drews @Kayla: I think you might be thinking of A Thousand Nights or The Wrath and the Dawn? But are 1001 Nights/Sharazhad retellings. This one has Persian folklore but it's not a retelling, I don't think...

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I DID SEE THE FIRST PLOT TWIST YES. Well actually *SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS* I thought Jin was the rebel prince. So then I thought all the plot twists were over but then *MORE SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS* we find out the whole demdji things—that I never would've seen coming. I thought that whole arrangement was actually really clever!

Clare S-B Some people I follow say it gets boring about half way through, what is your POV on that? you obviously liked it a lot and I am considering buying it... so just wondering.

C.G. Drews @Clare: Hmm, honestly? I don't think it was ever boring because it's so short and I thought the pacing was great! I felt it was a little less original about 2/3rds through? But that was only because I figured out the plot twist too soon. XD It was so nearly a 5-star read for me, so I'm biased to say I adored it. hehe. Maybe you could library it?

Lauren I bought this the other day for my kindle - I will get around to it when I have read my review books :-) great review! :-)

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @lauren: Yyayayyya! I hope you like it! :D

message 11: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma Thomsen Hi. I have just finished the book

Clare S-B Our library got it, and I enjoyed it, thanks for the recommendation

message 13: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Clare: Yayyyy!! I'm super glad you liked it. :')

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