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Monday, 29 February 2016

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


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.



Three was the magic number for Bob Dorough, Blind Melon and De La Soul, and it's also the magic number for these new style Book Zone reviews, as part of my seemingly endless quest for brevity when reviewing. So, here are three reasons why I loved Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton:

1. The story

Many will know that these days I do not read a great deal of YA, and when I receive emails from publishers I very rarely request copies of YA books. However, many months ago I was tempted by this, and at that point I'm not sure I even knew the title or blurb, just that those lovely people at Faber were getting very excited about it. When the proof arrived (complete with personalised book cover!) it remained unread on my TBR pile whilst I continued to delight in all the middle grade books that were coming my way. However, I eventually succumbed to its pleas and decided to read Rebel of the Sands, the debut novel from Alwyn Hamilton. And I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved everything about this magical fantasy story, set in a wonderfully imagined desert location. I very rarely say this as I am not a fan of movie adaptations of books I have loved, but I really, really hope that someone great as acquired the film rights to this as I really think that it could be a huge summer family film hit, as per Pirates of the Caribbean. As someone who grew up loving the Ray Harryhausen Sinbad films, I was rather disappointed at the barely average Prince of Persia film, but Rebel of the Sands has something that film did not have - a cracking plot without any silliness.

2. The world building

I don't often dip my toes into the waters of adult science fiction and fantasy as I just don't have the patience to wade through page after page of detailed world building. In just the first few chapters Alwyn Hamilton managed to impart everything I needed to know about the society in which main character Amani Al'Hiza lives and the world's mythology, but never at the cost of slowing down the pace. More details of the part wild west, part Arabian Nights world are drip fed as the story progresses, and we are never left in a position of questioning the specific whys and wherefores of the culture and its people for very long. This is a credit to both Alwyn Hamilton's story-telling abilities as well as the quality of the editing.

3. The main character

It's hard not to draw parallels with some modern day middle eastern and African societies, where women are oppressed and do not, in our western eyes, have the same rights or opportunities as men. Women in Amani's society are treated as little more then property, owned by their husbands, or in Amani's case, her uncle, to eventually be sold off into a loveless marriage. To speak out against this treatment or act in  a way that is not deemed acceptable to the town's or country's patriarchs can very quickly lead to severe punishment and even death. Amani will do anything to get away from her family and the town of Deadshot, even if it means putting herself at the greatest of risks. She is courageous, independent and fiercely loyal to anyone she feels deserves her loyalty. There are few who can equal her skills with a sixshooter, which might come in useful as she has the dangerous habit of opening her mouth and delivering a snappy wisecrack when it would be far better for Amani, and those allied with her if she occasionally took the time to think before she speaks. However, we can forgive her this weakness as it makes the story that much more thrilling for us as readers.

~~~

Rebel of the Sands was published in the UK on 4th February and is currently one of my favourite books of the year so far. In fact, I have not enjoyed a YA magical fantasy book this much since Amy McCulloch's The Oathbreaker's Shadow, which became my Book of the Year back in 2013.





8 comments:

  1. Sebelumnya perkenalkan nama saya Rahmad Bastian di jawa tengah ingin menceritakan kepada semua teman-teman bahwa saya yg dulunya orang yg paling susah kampungku,buat makan aja harus ngutan dulu ama tetangga itupun kalau ada yg mau ngasi,semakin saya berusaha semakin susah juga dapat pekerjaan dan selama saya ingin berbuat baik kepada orang lain semakin banyak pula yang benci ama saya dan cuma dianggap orang rendah,miskin,tidak punya apa-apa. Maka dari itu saya akhirnya bertekat untuk pergi mencari dukun yang bisa merubah nasib saya disuatu hari saya bertemu sama orang yang pernah dibantu ama AKI SOLEH JAFFAR dan dia memberikan nomer AKI SOLEH JAFFAR,dia juga bilan kepada saya kalau AKI SOLEH JAFFAR bisa membantu orang yang lagi kesusahan,dan saya tidak berpikir panjang lebar lagi saya langsun menghubungi AKI SOLEH JAFFAR dengan senan hati AKI SOLEH JAFFAR ingin membantu saya dengan jalan togel,dan alhamdulillah saya sudah menang togel yang ke3 kalinya.setelah keberhasilan ini rencana saya ama keluarga ingin buka usaha demi untu kebutuhan keluarga yang tercinta sekali lagi makasih ya aki atas bantuanya jasa aki tidak akan perna saya lupakan.bagi teman-teman diluar sana yang ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi AKI SOLEH JAFFAR di ---> 0853---> 7778 ---> 3331 atau silahkan dan saya sangat bersyukur kepada allah swt karna melalui bantuan AKI SOLEH JAFFAR kini kehidupan saya sudah jauh lebih baik dari sebelumnya,ingat kesempatan tidak akan datan untuk yg kedua kalinya.


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    Sebelumnya perkenalkan nama saya Rahmad Bastian di jawa tengah ingin menceritakan kepada semua teman-teman bahwa saya yg dulunya orang yg paling susah kampungku,buat makan aja harus ngutan dulu ama tetangga itupun kalau ada yg mau ngasi,semakin saya berusaha semakin susah juga dapat pekerjaan dan selama saya ingin berbuat baik kepada orang lain semakin banyak pula yang benci ama saya dan cuma dianggap orang rendah,miskin,tidak punya apa-apa. Maka dari itu saya akhirnya bertekat untuk pergi mencari dukun yang bisa merubah nasib saya disuatu hari saya bertemu sama orang yang pernah dibantu ama AKI SOLEH JAFFAR dan dia memberikan nomer AKI SOLEH JAFFAR,dia juga bilan kepada saya kalau AKI SOLEH JAFFAR bisa membantu orang yang lagi kesusahan,dan saya tidak berpikir panjang lebar lagi saya langsun menghubungi AKI SOLEH JAFFAR dengan senan hati AKI SOLEH JAFFAR ingin membantu saya dengan jalan togel,dan alhamdulillah saya sudah menang togel yang ke3 kalinya.setelah keberhasilan ini rencana saya ama keluarga ingin buka usaha demi untu kebutuhan keluarga yang tercinta sekali lagi makasih ya aki atas bantuanya jasa aki tidak akan perna saya lupakan.bagi teman-teman diluar sana yang ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi AKI SOLEH JAFFAR di ---> 0853---> 7778 ---> 3331 atau silahkan dan saya sangat bersyukur kepada allah swt karna melalui bantuan AKI ALIH kini kehidupan saya sudah jauh lebih baik dari sebelumnya,ingat kesempatan tidak akan datan untuk yg kedua kalinya.


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  2. Good day,,,,
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  3. Hello
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    THIS IS GENUINE. NO SCAM. Hi! My name is Myriam Boyer. I want to tell my testimony to the whole world how this great and powerful man called great baba helped me to bring back my partner. My man left me for another lady for five years. I almost gave up until my friend advised me and introduced me to this great man whom she met on the internet. I never believed at first but she encouraged me and i tried to believe and contacted him on his email. I told and explained everything to him and he assured me that he will help me and that i should not worry too much. I believed him and i did all that he asked me to do which i did and it work perfectly and my husband came back to me begging for forgiveness. I am so happy and excited now. I discovered that when my husband came back he even loved me more than the way he used to love me before he left me. great baba opened up his eyes to see how much i love him and how much love we ought to share together as one. This is not brain washing contact great baba now on his email: Highersolutiontemple@yahoo.com

    AND YOU CAN ALSO CHECK HIM ON:

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    Highersolutiontemple.blogspot.com

    THIS IS GENUINE. NO SCAM. Hi! My name is Myriam Boyer. I want to tell my testimony to the whole world how this great and powerful man called great baba helped me to bring back my partner. My man left me for another lady for five years. I almost gave up until my friend advised me and introduced me to this great man whom she met on the internet. I never believed at first but she encouraged me and i tried to believe and contacted him on his email. I told and explained everything to him and he assured me that he will help me and that i should not worry too much. I believed him and i did all that he asked me to do which i did and it work perfectly and my husband came back to me begging for forgiveness. I am so happy and excited now. I discovered that when my husband came back he even loved me more than the way he used to love me before he left me. great baba opened up his eyes to see how much i love him and how much love we ought to share together as one. This is not brain washing contact great baba now on his email: Highersolutiontemple@yahoo.com

    AND YOU CAN ALSO CHECK HIM ON:

    Greatbabaofsolution.blogspot.com

    Highersolutiontemple.blogspot.com

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