Book Review – Rebel Of The Sands


Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of The Sands
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 4th February 2016
Publishers: Faber & Faber
No. Pages: 368
Source: Sent by the publisher
Buy at: BookDepository

“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.

I read this book back in February when I wasn’t as aware of problematic themes in books as I am now and so I’m editing my review as it’s been brought to my attention that this book is problematic.

The story follows Amani, a girl who dreams off escaping her deadbeat town. She know’s if she doesn’t escape soon she’ll be forced into a bad marriage; either to a stranger or to her uncle. I really enjoyed Amani as a character. She’s willing to do anything to escape to the city, and she’s ruthlessly unapologetic about it. She has a compassionate side too, which makes watching her make the tough decisions even more interesting.

Amani’s also a complete badass with a gun. This leads her to enter into a sharpshooting contest, in the hopes she’ll win the prize money and use it to buy a train ticket to the city. There she meets Jin, a forgeiner who’s on the run. Although I found it harder to connect to Jin, mainly because he is so secretive, than Amani I did end up really liking him. I especially enjoyed how witty he was. It’s pretty obvious that Jin is the love interest from the start, but the story barely focuses on the romance which I think fits the plot. Don’t worry though if you’re a fan of romances, there’s enough tension between the two characters to satisfy you.

We’re also introduced to a whole host of other characters, some of which I’m hoping play a bigger role in the sequel (I’m being vague because possible spoilers).

The world’s a blend of the wild west and the middle east,  which in theory sounds like a really cool combo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t completely sold with the mix whilst reading the book. This book is essentially a western which does a poor job at blending Middle Eastern stereotypes within it. There’s  a religion which I’m assuming is supposed to mirror Islam although it’s never confirmed within the text. However, if it is supposed to be Islam it isn’t a good representation since most of the characters spend their day getting drunk which is against the Islamic faith. I don’t know if this is a testament to the lack of research Hamilton did or if this was a genuine misconception but either way very few people have pointed out just how heavily this book relies on negative stereotypes.  

Whilst I did originally like Rebel of The Sands looking back there are books with far better representation of Middle Eastern culture with better writing/plot. If you are looking for a book with better representation of the culture your money would be better spent on The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.





6 thoughts on “Book Review – Rebel Of The Sands

  1. Leyanis M says:

    I’ve been seeing mixed reviews about this book O-O This book it’s one of my anticipated reads, but seeing how it has Western elements (which I don’t enjoy much) I don’t have much hopes ;A;


    • ohbookish says:

      I’d definitely recommend picking it up. It’s a pretty quick read so you won’t have to invest too much time into it if you’re not enjoying it. The western elements do take a front seat, so if you’re really not a fan you might not enjoy it as much, but I’d still recommend giving it a try.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reg | She Latitude says:

    Great review! I’ve read this one too and gave it three stars, though my main complaint was that the plot took a bit too long to actually get exciting. I thought the Western element was great and the world-building really interesting. 🙂


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