My Rating: 4/5
I feel like there has been a lot of talk about this book of recent and it reminded me that I need to review this book already but also just wanna share my opinions. While reading this review I would like you to keep it in mind that I am a White girl from North East England. I’m pointing this out as the book is heavy with Middle Eastern Culture and from what I am aware also Islamic Culture. (Please correct me if I’m wrong). I do not know a lot about these cultures, I have not visited any Middle Eastern Countries and I am from a place that lacks diversity. That is also not an opinion, where I live is very non-diverse compared to other parts of the UK. So if I make any assumptions based on stereotypes or false information feel free to call me out so I’m not being an ignorant shit and offending people. Anyway, here are my actual thoughts on the book itself.
I actually really enjoyed reading this book. I read it for @northernplunder ‘s Travelling Book Project and I was sent this by Joel (for some reason I can’t find his tumblr someone help) . One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book is the setting. Like I fucking love fantasy books its pretty much all I read when I come to think about it. And as much as I love the courts and castles sometimes you just need a break. Rebel of the Sands gave me that break. This book is largely set in a desert. Sounds like a really boring landscape to choose but you’d be surprised. As I mentioned before I don’t know a lot about Middle Eastern culture, this also includes their folklore. It was so refreshing to have new (to me) creatures and magic and a whole new folklore to read about. This is one of the things that kept me interested. So for me most of this was new which kept it exciting. I wanted to know more of the old folklore stories and how and why the sea dried up and where had these legendary beings gone, where they real, are they coming back? Who knows, not me. But I want to. The setting of the book was very appealing to me.
I also did really like the characters. If you’ve read my other reviews you might have guessed that romance just isn’t my thing. I personally can’t think of anything worse than an intense romance being the main plot because I’m just not about that life. I want action and fighting and drama. These characters mostly deliver. There is a romance but I think its kinda mild and also kinda obvious from when they first meet. Like you just know they gonna do a kiss at some point. I like Amani, the main character, because she’s not perfect. She has her flaws. And my god there is one thing I hate about YA is the Perfect Main girl. She does everything right and everybody loves and she has perfect hair all of the time even through battle. Like there was times when I hated her. *Spoiler Alert* Like the main time I hated her when she left her best friend to suffer in that city??? Talk about Selfish *Spoiler Over* I think the villains were good villains like they have their motives, they aren’t just bad guys for the sake of it.
Did I have any problems with this book? Yes, every book has its problems no matter who writes it. I feel like there were some gaps in the story that could have been used for character development but were then just passages in time. Also in the beginning when there is talks of her being forced to marry her Uncle. Like one that’s just wrong to me like seriously what? But I was also unsure if this was just pushing an old stereotype of the Middle East, in which girls are forced into marriage for whatever reason. I don’t agree with anybody been forced into a marriage but the fact that it was an older family member just didn’t sit right, and I was really unsure if this was taking and using a stereotype or not. I’ve also read other people having other problems with it for their personal reasons but that is one that stood out to me the most.
TLDR; A YA fantasy book that is set elsewhere that a castle *gasp* *shock* New folklore that isn’t based from english folklore *more gasp* A strong female character who isn’t perfect in everyway. A little bit of romance. Some magic beings and powers and a weird family relationship. I would recommend this book to read I think its refreshing if you, like me, enjoy YA fantasy. Also damn right Ill be picking up the sequel whenever I can afford it.
If you have read this book tell me what you think. If I have said anything offensive call me the fuck out please. If you have any problems with this book let me know. Message me or reply to this thanks xoxoxox