8 Reasons to Read Rebel of the Sands


Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Publication date:  February 2016
Publisher:  Faber and Faber
ISBN: 9780571325252
Length: 358 pages
Genre: High Fantasy, YA, Western, Romance

Goodreads Description

“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.

8 reasons to read this book

  • Each character is unique, with even the minor ones being given specific traits that make them all memorable.
  • The setting is both wondrous and incredibly realistic: while magic exists in this world, humans are either taking advantage of it or fighting against it, effectively bleeding the earth of it, while the magical world itself tries to fight back and restore balance.
  • The way sexism is presented. While women are constantly oppressed in the world itself (there is an important moment where the treatment of women vs. men is put into stark contrast), the narrative makes it so that the female characters are the ones that drive the plot: Amani saves the foreigner multiple times, Shazad is revered by the soldiers, Aunt Farrah runs the household (and her husband most of the time), and even Shira is instrumental to the army. While I was constantly reminded of how undervalued women were, each female character also came out on top on multiple occasions.
  • The dynamic between the characters. It’s constantly changing, with most characters choosing to act in a way that would benefit them the most, instead of sticking to principles of good and evil (it was actually refreshing to have selfish characters for once because, let’s be honest, we’re not all selfless and charitable souls)
  • Amani isn’t the special snowflake. While she is a bit more important skill-wise, what with being the main character and all, she isn’t the special snowflake of the series. At least, not in this book (and I certainly hope it remains that way)
  • The writing mirrors the way Amani speaks, which allowed me to fully immerse myself in her head, rather than read the book as if it were a polished memoire. I have to admit, at first it was a little grating but as I got used to it, I realised how much more realistic it made Amani seem.
  • There are 3 important plot twists, and a number of smaller scenes that are completely surprising
  • The romance could be entirely dismissed and the book would be just as strong.

3 reasons not to read this book

  • Your favourite minor characters Are. Not. Safe.
  • The writing can get tiring due to the long descriptions done from Amani’s POV. I feel like Hamilton’s writing style flows quite easily but Amani’s voice seems at odd with it, so there are passages that feel a bit pushed.
  • it’s rather graphic in its descriptions of violence and the entire tone of the novel is very gritty and cynical in its description of the world.




9 thoughts on “8 Reasons to Read Rebel of the Sands

  1. I love this book. I completely agree with you about the setting as well, it’s so brilliantly written, definitely one of my favourite aspects of is book!
    Also the plot twists! I honestly didn’t see any of them coming, especially the one about Amani herself, that was a complete surprise to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually thought Jin would be special because of his name and I thought I was so clever for figuring it out so, when the reveal happened, I was very surprised and very delighted! There were so many elements in this book that took me by surprise, actually, so I’m very happy with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I kind of thought the author would go the route of having Jin be the rebel prince (don’t get me wrong I’m glad she didn’t, I feel that’s kind of a trope that’s become a cliche now), honestly the big reveal about Amani’s character I didn’t see and I was so shocked when I read it, it completely snuck up on me 🙂
        Same, it was one of my most anticipated reads for this year and I was so thrilled when I read and enjoyed it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I never thought of Jin being the rebel prince but I agree, I’m glad it didn’t go that way. I wasn’t convinced by the blurb at first so I was a little reluctant to pick it up at first but I’m certainly glad I did!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I didn’t really make that connection. I’ve just read so many books where the love interest is the prince in hiding and when there was a rebel prince in Rebel of the Sands I just assumed it was Jin.
        It definitely lived up to my expectations, and they were pretty high to begin with 🙂 but I’m glad you enjoyed it as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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