Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Published by: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 4th February 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy/Romance/Adventure/Mythology
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Rebel of the Sands is set to be one of the best books of 2016 and I am so excited for everyone to get their hands on it and come along for the ride. It's full of mythology, adventure, a little gunpowder and a lot of action. Seriously, the story does not stop moving and there is always something dangerous and exciting happening.
Amani, the protagonist, is without a doubt the most kickass character I've ever met. She is fearless, strong and full of determination, not to mention quick-witted, intelligent and a good fighter. She was so interesting to me, as was Jin, the foreigner she meets on her journey. Minor spoiler warning here: I loved their subtle romance. It wasn't overpowering, it didn't take over the entire book, it wasn't the main plot, and it didn't follow the typical formula of boy + girl + danger = boy saving girl's life multiple times. I mean, that did happen but it worked the other way, too, which is something we don't see enough of in YA. They were equal and the attraction between them wasn't mentioned often; it was just there beneath the surface.
Another aspect I enjoyed was Rebel of the Sands' relevancy to our world today. Again, very subtly, it tackled the way women and people who are simply different from us are treated. There was a bit of politics and some discussion on religion and believers/non-believers, and Hamilton did this whilst crafting an incredibly realistic, magical world with Eastern influences that I really enjoyed. Honestly, the world-building in Rebel of the Sands is first class.
Even if this isn't a genre you would usually enter into, I definitely recommend picking up Rebel of the Sands and giving it a go. I did, and I'm glad because it's one of those books that pushed me out of my comfort zone and took me on an amazing journey. Rebel of the Sands is truly special and one of a kind.