Rebel of the Sands, Alwyn Hamilton (2016)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Amani is your typical main character in YA, she wants to escape from the world she is in, but unlike some characters she wants to escape for more drastic reasons. She is oppressed, mistreated and in a life that brings her no joy. In a culture with men in charge, Amani represents feminism and freedom as her character struggles to break free.
I loved her as a character, I have been lucky enough to be privileged in life as a woman, but I know that a lot of people are not. Amani served as a reminder that not everyone gets handed opportunities like we do in Western cultures. Still, this doesn’t mean we’re all happy with our lives, so if we had a chance to mix them up a bit and experiencing something new, would we take it?
Initially we see Amani disguised as a boy, I always love female leads that aren’t afraid to get down and dirty and take on things that are typically considered masculine. Of course her gender shouldn’t matter in relation to what she can achieve, but it does and she fights it. She is a badass and she can take care of herself, which again is what I love in a main character! You can really see the stages in this story and the Amani we enter the book with changes a lot by the time we read the last page.
I don’t think I’ve read a book with this sort of setting before, I enjoyed getting into a new world and learning about a strain of magic that I found really interesting. Hamilton’s writing gave me the perfect level of description and she wrote characters I was easily able to love. I will definitely be reading the sequel to this novel!