Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn HamiltonAbout the Book:
Title: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Pub. Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Rating: 3/5 stars

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him... or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.


I'm still trying to make up my mind how I feel about this book. For most of the time while I was reading this novel I was bored out of my mind, and considered DNF'ing it. But then the last 20% was actually really exciting and made me intrigued to read the next in the series. So ultimately, I settled on 3 stars because the ending was enough for me to round up. I think I went into this book to too high of expectations, and was finally hoping that the new trend of Western style books would pay off. I thought this had a lot of potential with the combination of Western and Middle-Eastern fantasy would make for a fantastic book, but it just fell a little short. That is, until the end when, like I said, things finally started getting good. 

One big problem I had this book was actually what I was most intrigued by...the mix of Western and Middle-Eastern fantasy. I think that maybe with a different plot or writing style, this could have worked well. But sadly in this novel, I felt that the entire idea of Middle-Eastern fantasy (a genre that needs much more attention in my opinion) was overshadowed by the "Western" aspects. There wasn't a good blend of the two genres and it just left me disappointed. On top of that, the Western elements were really nothing that original. The majority of this story follows the same pattern that countless other "Westerns" have done before...which obviously made reading a bit tedious. 

The other main problem I had with this book was the "romance." I put that in quotes because, to me, there wasn't much romance. I didn't buy the chemistry between Amani and Jin, and even though they were on the journey together, I didn't even feel as if there was a true friendship present. I guess ultimately, I couldn't connect to either character, and it left me at a loss. This aspect also added to the slow start. And honestly, these were the main reasons I was considering DNF'ing the book. There didn't seem like an ultimate goal to their journey (because you could tell it wasn't going to be what Amani set out to do), and I didn't see why we should care about either of the characters. 

However, with all of that being said, when I reached the 80-85% point, I was it in for the long haul, and that was when things began to pick up. The magic and the fantasy that I originally expected burst onto the scene, and the ending was full of exciting action. The conclusion set the story up for a sequel, which I feel could be much better than this novel now that the fantasy elements have been introduced. Nevertheless, I might wait to see reviews before picking up the next in the series. I would say if you don't mind journey books, then you'll enjoy this one, but might want to skip it.

Happy reading :)


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