Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review: Rebel of the Sands

Hello fellow readers and writers! It's not often I write book reviews--to be honest this is my first one! The reason for that is pretty simple.

I'm kinda picky

I don't like offering books to friends (or internet friends, or friends in other dimensions) unless I believe in the book and know it to be good and something worth keeping on my shelf--something I'd chop my friend's hand off for if they tried to touch it. I have found such a book ladies and gents. And since I don't want to chop any of your hands off, I suggest reading this review and getting it your self so that we can fangirl over it together! But also, so that we can all keep our hands. We cool? Cool!

So without further adieu: MY REVIEW!

Book: Rebel of the Sands

 Alwyn Hamilton

Keep/Toss: Keep it on your shelf and don't share!


Now, I could give you a summary and a play by play, but I feel the book can do that on its own just fine! Heck, read the summary! Go ahead, I'll wait.

Just kidding! I know you won't go read the summary!

 Here's a brief summary that doesn't come close to awesomeness that is this book. A girl named Amani, the best sharp shooter in the deadbeat town of Dustwalk, wants out. Girls are supposed get married and be glad if they only get beaten once a day. But she has a gun, a stranger, and the ability to kick ass to get out. And boy does she!

There are a lot of things I love about this book and almost nothing I hate--and that's saying something! The setting is a magical world of sand and fire and magic. Its part fantasy, part steam punk (sorta), and as the author has stated, part western! And it really is all of those things! Alywn has an amazingly fresh voice, and her pacing is fantastic. How she manages to pack so much story, legend, character building, and plot into 314 pages baffles me!

 Rare is the day (at least for now) that I devour a book as quickly as I did this one. Save for the last quarter, I finished most of it in an hour and a half. Not because it's easy reading, but because the pacing is just that fast and that good. I had to stop myself from reading it because I didn't want it to end!

As a writer (as you all know I am one!) I can say Alwyn's word choices and phrasing just floored me. They're equal parts brutal and beautiful. Think of every word you could use to describe the desert. Did you think of like..10? She's got 1000. The desert feels real and alive under your eyes. And that's what good writing is. I had to stop and read sentences out loud because I loved how the sounded!

Oh. And lets not forget this important fact: This is a girl. She is kick ass, wields a gun, doesn't mind doing perhaps morally wrong things if it saves her skin, and yet STILL LIKES THE FACT THAT SHE'S A GIRL. Sorry, I had to caps lock that, because it's important. There are a lot of 'girl power' books that tend to shove being a strong female as the most important thing down our throats, and scoff at the idea that perhaps girls like being pretty and like being a girl or girly. That perhaps we don't have to look boyish or act super tough to match a guy's strength and deny that we're girls who like pink. I like pink. I also like mud.

Amani is a good example of a person. She's not perfect, she's not meant to be, but she at least doesn't mind being a girl.

This book is marketed as YA but I'm going to disagree. The book is amazing. AMAZING. But unless your 13 year old watches Fear The Walking Dead or has the soul of a 30 year old, I'd hang off on letting them read it until they're 15. There is cursing, there is death, there are harsh realities, and booze and drunkenness. Oh, and guns and magic of course! So please be aware of that.

My only nitpick about this book was the ending. No, I won't spoil it for you! I'm not that kinda girl! The ending was good. Great? No. Good, yes. It felt slightly rushed, slightly smushed together, but not so much so that I wouldn't read it again and again and again. It's left open ended to a degree, which is fine since Alwyn is working on book 2, and it does wrap up book one well. Just a little too quickly compared to the rest of the book.

But the writing is amazing, and reminds me of my favorite writer (and the one who made me want to become a writer myself!) Tamora Pierce. She's got twists and turns that I didn't even see coming, and now I have to re-read it to see all the clues and Easter eggs she dotted along the book like shadows cast on the desert floor. They're there, but you don't notice them until it's too late.

I highly recommend this book for any one young or old, and hope you can restrain yourself better than I did in finishing it slowly, but I doubt you'll be able to!

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