Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Rebel of the Sands series
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. I really enjoyed this young adult fantasy. There was a lot of action and a lot of fun characters.
Amani lives in Dustwalk and is destined for a bad marriage if she can’t escape. She is hoping her sharpshooter skills will be enough to win a shooting contest in the Pits and get her out of Dustwalk for good. The plan goes awry when during the contest she meets the mysterious foreigner named Jin. She thinks Jin might be her ticket out of here and when a mystical horse pounds its way through Dustwalk everything comes together and Amani ends up fleeing with Jin through the desert on a mystical horse.
However, Jin is not quite what he says he is and Amani doesn’t know the full extent of who she is. As these secrets are revealed Amani finds herself involved in a rebellion that she never even knew existed.
This fantasy has an interesting desert type of setting and lots of action, adventure, romance, and intrigue. The story was fast-paced and engaging and I enjoyed the world and characters a lot.
I also loved the idea of powerful mythical jinn-like creatures roaming the desert while humans rule the cities. It was excellent world-building and an interesting setting. I also really enjoyed Amani as a character; I love that she is tough and determined and an excellent marksman.
My only small quibble is that a lot of the plot reminds me of numerous other YA fantasy books out there. You have the girl escaping unwanted marriage, the handsome foreigner, and a rebel group that is trying to overthrow an oppressive ruler. Don’t get me wrong it’s a type of story I love reading…however it is a type of story and plot similar to many books I have read before.
The writing is very well done. It flows well and is very engaging. I also thought there was a lot of witty dialogue throughout that added some fun humor to the story. The story stops at a good spot, although I am eager to see what the next book holds.
Overall I had a lot of fun reading this fantasy novel. I really loved the desert setting, the Old West like feel, the mythical beings haunting the desert, the entertaining characters, the action and the romance. The plot wasn’t all that creative and seemed pretty typical of a lot of YA fantasy out there. However, I enjoyed it and am eager to see where the story goes. I think fans of The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark or fans of the Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson would enjoy this book a lot.