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Rebel of the Sands series | Alwyn Hamilton | Review

Amani Al'Hiza is a gifted gunslinger, but being born in the unforgiving Miraji desert, there are ways women like her are expected to behave, and Amani doesn't exactly do as she's told. The desert is a place where mythical beasts are all too real, and the children of the Djinn who made the world with their magic are known to live among the humans, marked by their parents with strange powers as well as physical markers, like brightly coloured hair or golden skin, but there is little magic in Amani's life in Dustwalk, until she meets Jin. Jin takes Amani away from Dustwalk, on the back of a mythical horse, and straight into a rebellion Amani is not entirely prepared to deal with.

Amani knows what she wants, and what she wants is to get out of Dustwalk. From there things start to get tricky, and a whole cast of characters arrive to help her figure out what's next, not just for her but for the world they're living in. From her claustrophobic life in Dustwalk, Amani finds herself working with the rebellion against the Sultan. To liberate the desert she grew up in, Amani must become more comfortable with death, magic, ghouls, and enemies all around her than she ever has before. From working deep within the rebellion to spying from inside the palace walls, and working with those strange magical Demdji children of the Djinn, Amani must truly become the Blue-Eyed Bandit if she ever hopes to help make the change Miraji needs to see, whatever that may mean.

Amani quickly becomes embroiled in the rebellion's plot to overthrow the Sultan, in favour of one of his least favoured sons, as this series takes her from the small desert town she has always known, to the splendour of the Sultan's palace, and to far away lands she never dreamed of visiting, building a fantasy world that weaves Middle Eastern influences with Cowboy Westerns and plenty of magic. The world of Rebel of the Sands is one unlike anything I've ever read before and Amani is a character unlike any I've ever read before either.

Whether you're interested in the magic of the Demdji and the Djinn who bore them, Amani's desert gunslinging, unique fantasy lands, intense romances, or political intrigue and regal rebellion, this series has a lot to offer. Gripping from the first page, these novels are a fast paced fantasy adventure with unique characters in a unique world. I flew through each and every one of these books and my only disappointment is that it had to end. The ending itself, you can find out by reading them. I think it is more than worth the adventure of the journey.

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