Home / Book Review / Vivid, Romantic Fantasy | Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Vivid, Romantic Fantasy | Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands is a new YA fantasy book you’ll definitely want to get your hands on…

Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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rebel of the sands alwyn hamilton book review

Title & Author: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Series: The Rebel of the Sands #1

Publisher: Penguin

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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. ”

Old West Meets Magical Arabian Desert

I’m strangely attracted to books that involve the desert. Maybe it’s because I am surrounded by water living in Florida, but I love the idea of endless waves of soft sand (ok, that does sound a liiiiitle like Florida 🙂 ).

Beside the interestingly exotic setting, Rebel of the Sands has a lot to love.

Amani lives with her aunt and uncle and is a bit of a troublemaker. Her sharp, straight shooting ways rub the people in her small desert town the wrong way. Then, when a night trying to win money for her escape ends in literal flames, Amani’s life starts to get a little more exciting…and dangerous.

Amani is pretty kickass – I loved her forthrightness and her sassy attitude. Her sense of self-preservation is admirable.

Then there’s the creatures and magic of the story. The world of Rebel of the Sands includes djinn, which were presented in a different way. They definitely are NOT “genies” – they’re wild, untamed and definitely very dangerous. Their representation felt like it had sort of Greek god-like mythology, which I really enjoyed.

Plus, the pace of the story was just right. While I didn’t think Rebel of the Sands was unputdownable per se, I appreciated how balanced everything felt. Action and surprises definitely took precedent.

The only thing I wished for was more of a backstory for some characters. I wanted to know more about their origins and how they came to be. There was a certain “completeness” that was a little missing.

I think this novel is really special despite the small flaws I pointed out. I’m pickier and pickier these days about the sequels I’ll bother spending the time to read, and I know for a fact that I MUST have the next book in this series.


This is a strong new fantasy series to follow. Rebel of the Sands offered high action adventures with a great romance and an even better fantasy world – recommended.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Cristina

    This looks so good!!! *fires up laptop and clicks on goodreads*