Format Read: Paperback
Published by Faber & Faber on February 4th 2016
"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."
Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It's not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al'Hiza must call it 'home'.
Amani wants to escape and see the world she's heard about in campfire stories.
Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run.
But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan's army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion...
An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.
Can we all just take a moment to admire how beautiful the cover of Rebel of the Sands is?
Okay, moment over 😀
Let’s kick off this review by saying that I was really surprised about this book. I was excited about it, but went in with very little knowledge of what the story was about. And what a delight it ended up being!
Rebel of the Sands is set in a middle-eastern world, with hints of a ‘Western’ vibe. Filled with magical creatures from Arabian mythology, it was a truly wonderful setting that had me hooked from page one.
Our main character Armani is trying to escape Dustwalk, a town in the middle of a dry and unforgiving desert, and the life that had been written for her. Destined to remain irrelevant in society as she was unlucky enough to be born a girl, she tries her hand at escaping a dreadful life (with talks of being married off to her own uncle) by participating in a shooting competition to win some coin. She hopes to run away to Izman, a place she and her mother had talked about escaping to before her mother was hanged by her own friends and neighbours.
Armani’s participation at the shooting competition sets off a string of events that leads her far, far away from her dreary life in Dustwalk…but just barely. Accompanied by Jin, who’s just as wanted by the Sultan’s army, we follow them as they make their way across the dry and terrifying desert where every turn and every step is like a landmine. You just don’t know if they’ll be safe, and that was what made this book so exciting!
Alwyn has created such a vivid world in Rebel of the Sands. It’s modern fantasy, with a twist of magic and a dash of realism. I loved both Armani and Jin, but the side characters could have definitely been developed a lot more. Definitely looking forward to the next book, I can’t wait to see where the journey leads them.
If you’re looking for a modern fantasy book with a rich setting and enjoyable characters, Rebel of the Sands is definitely worth picking up.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a copy of Rebel of the Sands for review.