January 6, 2017
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Without the local mine feeding metals to the factory in Dustwalk, no one knows how much longer the factor will remain open. But that’s not why 16-year-old Amani Al’Hiza wants out. She’s female and she’s an orphan. That means that she relies on the generosity of her aunt and uncle to cloth and feed her. And the nature of that “generosity” is about to change.
Her uncle has decided to make her his next wife.
Amani is desperate to avoid marriage. She saw what it got her mother — life with an abusive alcoholic who mocked her for being raped by occupying soldiers. How else could Amani have their blue eyes?
Amani may be the only blue-eyed girl in the Last County but she’s a girl whose good with a gun. So she takes her skills to the gun pits, determined to gamble her way out of Dustwalk. Unfortunately she pitted against a handsome foreigner who may be as good as she is. That’s a big enough problem even before she finds out that the whole set up is just that . . . a set up. There’s no way she can win. Now how is she going to escape across the desert?
My Dad grew up in the alpine deserts of West Texas and maybe it’s something to do with his tall tales but I’ve always been drawn to desert stories. Unlike Dad’s stories, Armani’s is full of djinn and ghouls and other creatures of magic that inhabit the far corners of the desert. As she travels into the desert with the reckless foreigner, Armani discovers a connection to these beings, a connection that she never dreamed was possible.
It was no surprise to me to discover this is a New York Times best seller. There’s adventure, romance and danger as well as magic and mystery. The setting is 1/2 Wild West and 1/2 Arabian Nights and entirely enthralling.
Share it with your teen and settle in for a great read.