REBEL OF THE SANDS
East meets Western
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.