Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Date Published: 8th March 2016
"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." - Goodreads
The synopsis of this book does NOTHING for it. If you've read the synopsis, and you're like 'hmmm nah', then ignore that - pretend you didn't read it, and take my advice. I felt exactly that and decided to pick it up anyway because everyone was going on about how amazing it was, and the reviews on Goodreads were mostly 5*. I do not regret it one bit. This was an incredible book.
I loved the setting, the desert is something that I'm so unfamiliar with and it was just lovely and refreshing to read a book not set in modern day US. (If anyone know of any other good book NOT set in the US, hit me up.) It had such a unique middle eastern feel about it, but at the same time it was obviously just made up, and the fantastical elements about it, where so unique and different.
The characters were all incredible, each in their own different ways. I loved Amani, she was fierce and ruthless, so determined to get out of her town that she'd do anything. Jin was also determined, but he had more of a laid back vibe, as if he knew everything would be okay, like he didn't have a care in the world. I love the two of them together, the dynamic between them was incredible. Their back and forth banter put a massive smile on my face.
The plot was so interesting and although not entirely unique, it had the same kind of feel of other books I've read, it was still really great to read and easy to follow along. Hamilton's writing was great, not too descriptive but just descriptive enough to stop us from getting lost with who's who and what's happening.
The last 60% was my favourite part, it really picked up towards the end. Whereas in the middle, from about 40-50% it kind of dragged a little bit. I have so many good things to say about this book and it will now be the book that I recommend to everyone. I think it's perfect and I can't wait for the sequel! I rated this book 5* on Goodreads!