There are books, and there are books, and there are BOOKS. And then sometimes there’s just…books. Life changing? Probably not. Earth shattering? Not really. But enjoyable, interesting, and just kind of all-around good? Heck yes.

That’s what this mystery read was. Supplied by Sniffer Blog, I’d been wanting and meaning to read this book for a while, and then he proceeded to enable my ability to ignore my actual TBR in favor of shiny things. And so the mystery read was born.

This one, you ask? REBEL OF THE SANDS, by Alwyn Hamilton.


  • Publisher: Viking
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre vibe: Desert western, plus djinn
  • At a glance: Amani will not–will not–stay in Dustwalk anymore. She’s been scraping together money for as long as she can remember to escape her uncle’s household, and she’s beginning to not take it any longer. So she heads out with her sharpshooting skills to earn a fortune and head to the city, but instead of a game well played, she meets a foreigner who quickly turns her world upside down and drags her into the adventure and the rebellion that she never knew she could be a part of.

So this book was just about the most literary fun that I’ve had in a while. I went into it not expecting very much of it. I knew that Mariesa at TwoamReader had loved it, and so had a few other people I knew. I knew there were deserts and magic horses involved, and I knew there would probably be kissing.

I didn’t really ask for much more.

Rebel of the Sands is a book that doesn’t want you to dig into it too terribly deep. It had world building, and it has plot, and it has just enough to keep you interested…if you don’t try and interrogate it for details. If you try and do that, well, sand isn’t meant to hold up a house.

But for Rebel of the Sands, that’s okay by me. This book isn’t one that requires a full set of structure to work right. The characters are sound, the pace is steady, the idea is just wholesome enough to fill out a good-sized novel. What’s not to like?

Not much, honestly. Our hero, Amani, while not always consistent in her wishes, is always someone I could trust to believe in her wishes at the very least. Jin, resident love interest/mystery man/ally, keeps his secrets, and he keeps them well. As does the author, and the world, always picking and choosing when and where to dole out information. And it works.

Rebel of the Sands may blow around a bit, but in the end, when the dust settles, there’s something pretty bright and shiny lying underneath.

So overall:

  • Rating: 4/5 stars
  • Recommended to: People that like: sharpshooters, kissing, deserts, magic, revolution.
  • Lasting impression: Light on sand that makes it look like diamonds. Soft lips and calloused hands. A horse, made of dust.

If you’re wondering what other people have to say about REBEL, SnifferBlog and TwoamReaders both reviewed it long before I did.