Author: Alwyn HamiltonEdition: Hardcover & Audible Audio BookRating: 4 Stars
This book and I had an interesting adventure. Normally, I read a book by picking it up, turning pages, reading words, and then finishing it. However, with Rebel of the Sands I got it as an audio book first. I wasn't intending to fall in love with it, but enjoy it, so I thought it would be a good book to fall asleep to. Since I tend to only buy audio books of novels I know for a fact I enjoy, this was a bit of an experiment. Then, once I reached the halfway point or so I decided, because I loved it, I'd rather have a physical copy that I could touch and put on a shelf. So I stopped listening to it and waited to go and buy it. And then, after buying it weeks later didn't pick it up for another month or so. But I did it- I finished it! And I really, really liked it!
Rebel of the Sands is set in a wild west/middle eastern desert-type setting and follows Amani, a master marksman who is desperate to get out of her small town and escape the traditional life of a girl. She escapes with the help of a foreigner who has ties to the rebellion and with him they traverse the desert to freedom.
I really, really loved this book. I loved the setting, the mythology created by Hamilton for this world, and the characters. I could go on and on about how wonderful this book is and sing its praises. Basically, if you're looking for a nontraditional but still fantastic fantasy, pick this up.
But now onto what I didn't like and what led to the book only getting four stars instead of five. Honestly, it's a matter of taste and what tropes I dislike in novels. And these tropes aren't really ones I see other people complaining about, so I think I'm in the minority here. Anyway, somewhat minor SPOILERS:
In the final third of the book a bunch of new characters were introduced. That's fine, but suddenly we, the readers, were meant to be buddy-buddy with them and invested in them. I hate when a torrent of characters are thrown into one place and without all the development of the main characters they're given huge roles and we're expected to just click with them. I think part of my dislike of this is that I just can't connect with a character that quickly and I like to see development- it's what I enjoy most from books! When new characters come around that's fine, but I want to see them grow and develop and be interesting before I actually appreciate them. Anyway, that's why I couldn't give the book five stars.
Overall, this book is fantastic. It raises interesting questions and also entertains. If you even considered picking it up, stop considering and just pick it up. You won't regret it!