Review: ‘Rebel of the Sands’ by Alwyn Hamilton

I received this book for free from bought in-store, requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘Rebel of the Sands’ by Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on March 8th, 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 314
Format: Hardcover
Source: bought in-store, requested from publisher
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

About Alwyn Hamilton

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

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Amani is tied to her Uncle and his family. Having lost her parents, they’re the only family she has left. But she wants better so with her incredible way with a gun she enters a contest with a bounty that will sure help her start a better and new life on her own. Then she meets a strange and mysterious foreigner who will turn her life inside out.


At first, it’s starts out as a Western gun slinging story but then it slowly morphs into this fantastic and magical world. I love how extensive the world was built. So many stories about people and their faiths. It was so lovely to read about something new and not rewritten. I can easily imagine the sheema she would wear and the horses that were descended from the Jinni. Loved the writing! There was so much action and not a lot of romance, just the type to be a slow-burn because even though you know she was trying to distract her love interest, it made me laugh because it was so out of the blue and in the weirdest part.


One thing I pretty much hate about this world though was how sexist the men were to the woman. I just wanted to throw something when I read this quote:

Woman have weaker minds than men, and weaker hearts. (155)

Though I’m pretty sure Amani proved how wrong they were! And there were lots of other male characters who didn’t believe in such atrocity so I happily ignored those bits. I really liked how it starts off as one genre but changes into another. I was eagerly waiting for it to happen! The only thing that I was sad about was that it ended too sudden. I could have read another fifty more pages, but maybe I’m just used to long drawn out books.


Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands will sure appeal to any reader for she brings a fresh take to the fantasy and gun-slinging genres. I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel for more Amani, Jin and Ahmed!


It was damn hard to trust a boy with s smile that. (60)
Haven’t you ever wanted something so bad that it becomes more than a want? (61)
They were going to believe a man over a girl any day. (80)
It’s mortal men that cause the most trouble these days. (136)
In this desert I could never seem to escape being seen as powerless, so long as I wasn’t a man. (155)
I’m a girl who could’ve done just about anything if I’d been born a boy. (209)
Just because I don’t speak your language doesn’t give you the right to talk about me in it. (218)
You can’t judge me for wanting to be more than just another worthless grain this desert. (240)

reading progress






  1. Carina Olsen

    April 10, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    Yay 😀 Lovely review Giselle. <3 So glad you liked this book a lot. It was a four star for me too. I just liked it a whole bunch. So good 🙂 And aw, you have it signed to you? 😀 Eeee. Jealous. <3 Looks gorgeous. Your pictures are stunning 🙂 Thank you for sharing. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly BarnhillMy Profile

    • giselle

      April 11, 2016 at 5:18 PM

      Thanks so much Carina! It was great. Yess she came to a signing last month 🙂

  2. Natalie

    April 7, 2016 at 4:09 PM

    Darn! I was debating buying this book at the signing, but decided to get The Dark Days Club instead! I should have just bought both! I’ll have to get it from the library now ;P

    • giselle

      April 7, 2016 at 10:14 PM

      Yasss both are excellent! I loved them both! It was nice seeing you at the signing

  3. Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    April 7, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    This book sounds so good!! I’ve been curious about it ever since the cover reveal, but I’ve been a little worried about the Western aspects. It’s exciting to hear that the story is more than that!! Thanks so much for sharing! I’m definitely going to grab a copy ASAP! 😀
    Tracy @ Cornerfolds recently posted…Book Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

    • giselle

      April 7, 2016 at 10:13 PM

      The Western part is only really in the beginning and I promise it was quite well done!

  4. Sophia Rose

    April 7, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    Definitely have me convinced that I want to read it. Nice review, Giselle!
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Take Me Home Tonight by Erika Kelly #ReviewMy Profile

    • giselle

      April 7, 2016 at 10:12 PM

      Whoo thanks Sophia! It’s so good!

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