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Rebel of the Sands | Alwyn Hamilton | Book Review

Rebel of the sands is first book in the Rebel of the Sands series trilogy. It is a sand-based young adult fantasy with Muslim representation.

I read this book as the August BOTM with Chai N Books Book Club.

About The Book:

Author: Alwyn Hamilton.
Pages: 314.
Genre: YA, Fantasy.
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1


Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

My Thoughts:

Spoiler-free Summary:

Amani Al’Hiza is a talented gunslinger with perfect aim. She is fierce and badass, but she can’t seem to get out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’ll either end up married or dead. She wants to have enough money to go out of Dustwalk and go all the way to Izman, the city her mother told her about. The story begins with Amani dressed as a boy competing in a shooting competition. There she meets Jin, a foreigner, and the two become companions and attempt to flee. From there, their journey began across the desert, exploring a variety of things – magic, rebellion, near-death experiences, and a little bit of romance.


The novel is set in the desert with mythical creatures like Djinni, Skinwalkers, Ghouls, Shape-shifters, Demdjis, Buraqis, giant rocs, etc.


Amani is a fierce and fearless badass. She has a sharp tongue but she’s also ambitious, strong, and caring. She’s also an amazing shooter with perfect aim. She’s the first YA heroine I’ve really liked in a long time.

“Here’s a tip for you.” He was close to me now, close as he had been when he kissed me, or when I kissed him. “Don’t try to hit a man in the face when he’s looking straight into your eyes. You’ve got traitor eyes, Bandit.”

I drove my other fist into his gut hard enough that my knuckles popped. Jin doubled over, coughing. “Thanks for the tip.”

Alwyn Hamilton, Rebel of the Sands

Jin is the best book boyfriend and by far, one of the best YA heroes as well. He is smart, mysterious, and sweet. And he has the best dialogues!!!!

She turned to Jin now, sprawled by the fire, his hat pulled over his eyes. “I can tell you’re awake. Are you coming with us?” He sighed, tipping his hat backward. “Yeah, yeah. Just trying to get some sleep before going to near certain death.

Alwyn Hamilton, Rebel of the Sands

And there are also some other interesting characters, which I cannot reveal now, because… SPOILERS – duh!


The writing is captivating, and the world-building is unique and fascinating. With all of this mythology infused in, the desert nation of Miraji has stories that read like folktales. I liked the fact that there were no long descriptions of creatures and places, yet it did not interrupt the flow of reading.

Final Verdict:

This book has the perfect slow-burn romance, which I love.

I have never read this kind of fantasy, let alone one which is a part of a trilogy. But, trust me when I say this, I enjoyed the experience. It took me time in the first 10% of the book to get used to the setting, but after that, I was reading non-stop.

What to Expect?

  • Badass heroine🦸🏽‍♀️
  • Sassy and hot Hero🦸🏽
  • Rebellion
  • Guns🔫
  • Desert adventures🏜️
  • Mythical creatures🧞
  • Lot of action
  • Lot of twists

I look forward to reading the next two parts of this series soon. Hopefully, the enjoyment will be constant, or maybe even more!

14 thoughts on “Rebel of the Sands | Alwyn Hamilton | Book Review

  1. I like your very detailed breakdown of the book and describing it as the perfect slow-burn romance. It’s been a while since I have read YA fantasy and this really sounds captivating. I love the cover too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a detailed review yo!! I have to absolutely given up on reviewing individual books on my blog thanks to the paucity of time. And of course, the review is just as amazing as the book itself!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Blurb of the book interests me a lot. But still I am unsure about this genre But your words always give me like a honest confession for me. I loved the part where you wrote about your take over the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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