She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her
sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him… or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 4 stars! I found this surprisingly refreshing and original. I loved how the setting of the story shaped the characters and how the characters really drove the plot. Riveting and filled with adventure, I read this all in one sitting and was sad to reach the last page. I’m definitely not finished with these characters or the world they live in. Give me more!

♥ Review: This book has been sitting on my bookshelf since it published last year, but I never got around to reading it because I was swamped with all my review request ARCs. However, this year I’ve committed to requesting less and tackling the books I’ve bought and never read. For some reason, this jumped out as the first one I wanted to pounce on, and all I can say is: What an enchanting ride!

This was some crazy mash-up of The Wild West meets the Middle East with fantastical elements such as djinn (think genie-type beings), horses made of desert and wind, and all sorts of other magical (some creepy) creatures roaming this mystical world. It sounds like it might would be a little too much going on, but Hamilton wove all the elements together so seamlessly that it blended realistic and magical together perfectly. The setting really felt like a character all on its own the way the author brought it to life on the page.

Speaking of characters, our heroine, Amani, was a little spit-fire who really wanted more for herself than the one fate had seemingly dealt her, and she was ready to bulldoze anyone and anything standing in her way to make that life happen. While I admired that ferocity and strength of character in her, I also appreciated later the growth she underwent when she realized you didn’t always have to leave things/people behind to make your own way. And a good deal of that growth came about because of Jin. Le sigh. Jin quickly went from being a mysterious stranger to a friend to slowly something more. I loved the way the author developed the relationship. There may have been instantaneous sparks, but that didn’t mean Amani wasn’t willing to leave Jin drugged and alone in a bar while she took his things and his majestic horse to get her closer to her desired destination. I loved the effortless banter and dialogue exchanges shared between these two, and I certainly look forward to watching their relationship progress in future installments. Furthermore, these weren’t the only two characters stealing the show! There’s a whole host of secondary characters (that felt damn-near like primary ones) that I also look forward to seeing more of the next books. More than that, I loved how the plot really centered around the characters and I’m curious to see where the author will lead us next in regards to how this book finished.

If I had to state an issue as to why this was a four-star read instead of five, I’d say it was a matter of pacing at the beginning of the book. It was definitely a slow, gradual falling into the plot and action, but it wasn’t terribly dragging either.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m definitely anxiously anticipating the sequel!

♥ Teaser Quote: Loads of banter between our heroine and hero or even moments of camaraderie between our band of rebel bandits can easily be found inside these pages, but I’m always a sucker for a bit of a swoony tease.

    “You’re right.” He cut me off. “I never understood this country. I never understood why he chose to leave everything else behind and stay for this. Not until I met you.”
     I felt like he’d pushed me, like I was falling and I needed him to reel those words back in to keep me standing straight.
     “You are this country, Amani.” He spoke more quietly now. “More alive than anything ought to be in this place. All fire and gunpowder, with one finger always on the trigger.”

– quote taken from Rebel of the Sands, pg. 252

Book Rating Breakdown
Cover
Writing
Characters
Plot
Pacing
Swoons
General Book Feels
Cute, Fuzzies, Flutters
Overall:

♥ Rec It? Maybe Probably? My initial reaction would be to say definitely, but I can certainly see how this wouldn’t appeal to everyone (which is a total shame!), and so I can’t give it a blanket recommendation. That stated, if you like feisty heroines and a swoony hero that falls for that type of girl with a dose of magical mystery and epic, near-death adventures, give this one a whirl! I doubt you’ll be sad you did.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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