Isn't this one of the coolest blog buttons?! Brittany made it for the 2016 review train and each of the books being reviewed is a train car! By of way, yesterday Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense reviewed The Distance Between Us by Kassie West. Go check out her post!
Today I'm reviewing Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. It's very likely one of my favorites this year. It's a fun read, packed with action. You can't help but read it fast.
my mini blurb:
my mini blurb:
Amani will do anything to escape her dead end town Dustwalk. Anything to keep from being wed or dead. Posing as a sharpshooter boy seems to be her only chance out, but is it?
It's fantasy with a Middle Eastern culture mixed with a Western setting (think guns, desert, and train heists Western). It sounds like an odd mix, but it works. I don't think I've ever read a "real" Western, nor do I often read books with Middle Eastern culture. This was a refreshing change and I loved every minute of it.
Amani lives in a culture where being a woman is a shame. But she's always been one to go against the grain and make her own way. She has strong determination and she doesn't let anybody get her down. Although she does make some very bad decisions and sometimes she's selfish. So she has her flaws; she's human.
Character development for the win!
Also, she has a smart mouth. She grew up being beat for her attitude and yet she still has a steadfast sass. I loved it! Smart mouth characters are always my favorites.
To be honest, at the beginning of the book I was a little put out. I liked it, the different setting and the culture, the sand and the GUNS! Did I mention there were guns? Loved the guns! But I felt like I was reading any other girl-goes-independent YA book, just with a different flair. I liked, but didn't love, the book (although the guns, man, the guns). I thought, "This is good, but not outstanding."
The plot twist!
Haha! I loved it! It surprised me. Recently, in the books I've read I've seen half the "plot twists" coming. Not this book. This one threw sand in my eyes and ran away laughing.
I do have one qualm though, and it's not with the book itself. It's YA in general. The love interest. Why is it that you can always spot the love interest from a mile away? With a huge arrow floating above him/her and fireworks in the background. Love interests rarely sneak up on us. The moment we see them we all know, "Here's the really hot person our MC will kiss on the last page."
I just like to be surprised. That's all I ask.
Also, there was that other "plot twist." It's one of those twists that you're not sure if it actually categorizes as a plot twist because everyone knows it except for the MC. We're all just waiting around for her to catch on.
I loved how everything had a subtle foreshadowing and then it all comes together. Everything intertwined. All the coincidences mentioned in passing actually become something meaningful by the end of the book. Which I think is how it ought to be. An event might seem distant and unrelated to one person, when it is close to someone else and really hits home.
Also, Amani actually gets to form friendships outside of her love life. Wow, who'd ever think that was possible? Or realistic. A love life and friends could be unhealthy, Amani. Don't get too crazy.
Even though the love interest first shows up in all his cliched glory, after time I really liked him. Other people wouldn't give Amani the time of day because she was a girl. The love interest though treated her like she was capable of taking care of herself and capable of helping others, which she was. Meaning they made the best team. I love couples who work together. I appreciate that trust in each others' abilities and the not-smothering-each-other-with-concern. They were an unstoppable duo! And that's how it should be.
The other characters were a great cast. I loved them all! The banter. The personalities. I don't think I could pick a favorite. There was an emphasis on friends and siblings. Especially siblings. It wrestled with the questions like, "What if your sibling is a dastardly villain? Would you kill him/her to save the world?"
Because this is relevant to everyone.
The author balanced all of the relationships in the book superbly. It was done well even to the very end. Usually, a story emphasizes the romantic relationship most since the last sentences depict the couple kissing or holding hands, walking off into the sunset-- have a good life! This book didn't end that way. I appreciate the redirected emphasis. It took a broader outlook which was very fitting.
So by the end, I was grinning like an idiot.
Translation: Go read the book!
Don't forget to stop by Sinead's blog Less Reality, More Books for the next stop on the review train! Thank you so much Brittany @ Space Between the Spines for host!
Have you read Rebel of the Sands?