East meets Western

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 4 Fe­bru­ary 348 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook

Au­thor Al­wyn Hamil­ton

Pub­lisher Faber & Faber

While “tra­di­tional” fan­tasy has ( in the UK at least) of­ten tended to be set in a mag­i­cal ver­sion of me­dieval Bri­tain or Europe, in re­cent years we’ve seen many more mul­ti­cul­tural fan­tasies pub­lished. This YA de­but is a glo­ri­ous mash- up of sharp- shoot­ing Western and Ara­bian Nights- style tales of sul­tans and Djinn, cen­tred on an on- the- run hero­ine who’s been fir­ing pis­tols since be­fore she could read.

Amani Al’Hiza is des­per­ate to es­cape the town of Dust­walk, her abu­sive aunt and un­cle and a world in which women have no rights. When the chance comes to leave with a young mer­ce­nary, she takes it – but run­ning away from home is never that easy, espe­cially when a rev­o­lu­tion is com­ing.

Amani is a coura­geous, well- drawn char­ac­ter who grows through­out the story – though it’s a shame many of the other char­ac­ters she en­coun­ters are just a lit­tle too won­der­ful to be be­lieved. The first half of the novel can feel frus­trat­ing at times, as plan after plan of Amani’s falls apart, but you re­ally won’t care too much – the en­ergy of the plot and en­thu­si­asm of the char­ac­ters will pull you along on an ex­hil­a­rat­ing, en­ter­tain­ing jour­ney. Rhian Drinkwa­ter

Hamil­ton’s first story ( aged five) was “The Tan­gle Monster”, about a monster that would tan­gle a lit­tle girl’s hair.

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