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Review – A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves #1) by Morgan Rhodes

 

A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves #1)

By Morgan Rhodes

Summary: Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….
Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart. 

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

I purchased this book because it stood out on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I didn’t know it was a spinoff of the Falling Kingdoms series, which I had been planning on reading after hearing so much about, but I knew it was the same author, so I figured I’d give her other series a shot.

Since buying the book, I have read up the current book of the Falling Kingdoms series. I decided to pick it up after finishing Crystal Storm. I am enjoying the series, but it is a bit dramatic and ridiculous, so I was eager to see how the author would handle the present day Toronto world and that of Mytica, the setting of the Falling Kingdoms series.

I think there are aspects of A Book of Spirits and Thieves that I like much more than the Falling Kingdoms series. I read a lot of fantasy and the author’s writing is a little modern and a tad juvenile, making her Falling Kingdoms series a bit of one of those popcorn-munching guilty pleasures that I don’t pick up for the writing itself. Her writing works a lot better in the modern world where I expect characters to act a certain way and care about certain things, so I felt like I “believed” in the characters a little bit more than I do the characters of the Falling Kingdoms series. 

I liked the area of the book that was set in Mytica and I’m glad it didn’t really tie into anything with her other series at all as far as time period or characters or anything. It was just a magical plane of existence that worked in the modern world and Maddox’s struggle didn’t seem to fit in, but I knew it would tie in at some point and it did towards the ends. I know see how the two worlds are linked and I liked that whole set up.

I think I’ll likely continue the series, but I’m not rushing out for the next book because it’s still in hardcover. I feel like the author writes great YA fantasy fiction, but I feel like it’s one of those borrow instead of buy situations. I’ll wait for the library to stock the next book and go from there. This spin off series is fun and entertaining with a cast of characters you can’t help but care about. There is drama, relationships, mystery, betrayal, and secret societies. I definitely recommend reading, even if the Falling Kingdoms series isn’t for you. The setting in A Book of Spirits and Thieves changes the overall feel so that the writing fits a lot better than it does in an ancient world. 

Star 4

 

Review – Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

 

Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5)

By Morgan Rhodes

SummaryThe ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.


In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.

Source: I borrowed a digital copy from my library.

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Review:

Crystal Storm was full of twists and drama between all of the characters, which is quite honestly the main focus of the book. If I could describe this series in a few words I would call it a soap opera YA fantasy. It’s back and forth with the villain of the story changing and teams coming together, breaking apart, and unlikely allies form. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a little aggravating that each book introduces major plot twists and unlikely partnerships and crazy news and there’s never any actual closure with anything.

I think this book is on par with the other books in the series, so if you’re been enjoying the series so far, then I definitely recommend this book. 

While I don’t really understand a lot of the hype or the comparisons to Game of Thrones, I will give the series credit for being so deliciously entertaining. It’s still not the best written or most complex or even well developed, but it’s addicting enough to keeep me hooked. I already can’t wait for the next book. I flew through it and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I feel like Crystal Storm was a roller coaster when I really wanted the story to wrap up, especially after the last book. It feels a little frustrating because even more major surprises were revealed and I think some of the characters keep flip flopping and forming new connections and, while it’s always happened, I guess I was hoping we’d finally settle down, get the teams formed, and battle for the future of Mytica instead of more back and forth. I can see why the book has some mixed reviews, so I’d warn anyone invested in the series.. it doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon and this book is another sequel, not a book that brings any sort of closure yet.

Star 3

Review – RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

 

RoseBlood

By A.G. Howard

SummaryIn this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Source: I received a hardcover in the January 2017 Owlcrate.

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Review:

RoseBlood was the chosen book for the January Classic themed Owlcrate box and I was really excited to read it. I almost picked it up at the bookstore before realizing it might be the book in the Owlcrate box, so it was definitely a book I wanted and would’ve bought myself. The cover was gorgeous and when I opened it up, the ink was a dark red, which was stunning! It wasn’t difficult on the eyes, either. The book promised so much beauty and was based on The Phantom of the Opera.

Unfortunately, RoseBlood wasn’t as good as I expected. It had a lot of potential and drew inspiration from The Phantom of the Opera and other dark classics. Each chapter heading had a quote, with most of them from a pieces of literature that also dealt in dark themes. I was eager to escape into a rich fantasy world in a dark setting. 

Instead.. I was completely disappointed.

My first issue was that the main character, Rune Germain, was such a YA main character stereotype. (Don’t even get me started on the name Rune…) She was “cursed” with the ability to mimic opera. She could, without any practice, stand up and sing the most complicated of operas in the their original language and render a crowd speechless. However, her gift came with a price and it drained her almost completely and made her sick. She couldn’t stop the song from wanting to burst out of her, so it wasn’t an ability she could avoid. Anytime an opera caught her attention, she’d vibrate with the need to sing it. I probably should’ve just put the book down at the beginning that that was revealed. I mean, really? A poor girl with a woe-is-me attitude who is gifted with the ability to just flawlessly belt out tunes that others train years to do? Why would anyone even make a character do such a thing? I don’t even feel bad. The sickness she felt is probably still not nearly equal to the amount of blood, sweat, and tears a truly talented opera singer puts into one piece. And then she was going to go to a private school for gifted musicians and of course, didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to fit in, so of course she would gain the attention of the catty competitive girl, and bat her eyes at everyone about how it’s not her fault she’s stealing the limelight, she doesn’t even actually WANT it. That’s not a conflict I can be on board with. It’s overdone and it steals from the rest of the book that has to deal with fantasy and the paranormal.

My second issue was the narration. The book was mostly in first person narration from Rune’s point of view. I didn’t care much for her character, but I thought her narration was good and believable. But then the book shifted unexpectedly to third person POV to the mysterious gardener Rune glimpsed in the garden in the beginning. Suddenly, we were privy to his actions as he went on to reveal who he was and who he was working with. I think that immediately made me sigh out loud in frustration. I HATE when books do that. It’s so cheesy. If you cannot build a story from first person narration and make it still make sense and still reveal whatever it is you need to reveal, than don’t do first person at all. Do third person and then everyone is okay with the camera coming off of the main character and showing something she doesn’t know. But ripping me away from first person POV to show me something someone else is doing because it builds the story is lazy and I absolutely hate it. I think the entire book was written in a way that was overly descriptive, so I know the author wasn’t lazy, but her storytelling techniques were not up to par. It ruined all of the mystery and intrigue of the character!

My third issue with the story was the plot. (This is perhaps a spoiler, but let me explain why I don’t think it is.) From the very beginning, Rune’s mom takes issue with Rune being overly susceptible to superstition and nonsense and her mom doesn’t really understand or believe Rune’s talent is more of a curse or even a gift. Rune’s father was superstitious. The mom just jabbered on about it, so the whole concept was hammered on just about every page from the beginning when they were driving to the school for about the first third of the book until Rune’s mom finally left. So, Rune’s ability having a supernatural element was no surprise. And of course, it’s the key to everything. I mean, it wasn’t even unexpected. 

And of course, because the book is full of YA tropes, Rune noticed a mysterious boy who just happened to be a part of everything and together they would create a plan and fall in love and.. are you rolling your eyes yet?

What frustrates me the most is that the book had so much potential. The pieces were all there. In fact, if Rune’s gift/curse was done in a better way that didn’t spit in the face of people who hone and practice their real talents and the POV didn’t switch, it wouldn’t have been half bad. If the author didn’t rely on familiar YA tropes to draw her story together, it could’ve been really stunning. There were bits of great writing peppered throughout the book, so I know the author can write well. I suppose I just wish the story was well written as a whole. The book was not creepy or thought provoking or mysterious because it was over-told and written in a way that told instead of showed. There was no mystery, the plot was literally just written out in front of me plainly. 

I don’t recommend RoseBlood unless you’re new to YA paranormal stories that begin in some sort of private/boarding school and therefore aren’t going to notice the familiar tropes as much.. or if you just absolutely love The Phantom of the Opera enough to ignore the tropes and you just want something that isn’t the same book but contains the elements of the story you love. If none of those apply to you, it’s best skipped. I don’t regret having it, though. It’s a beautiful book that I do like looking at, so it’ll be a great Bookstagram prop. 

 

Star 2

 

Review – Heartless by Marissa Meyer

 

Heartless

By Marissa Meyer

SummaryCatherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.
Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Source: I received an exclusive hardcover edition in an Owlcrate.

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Review

I love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and I am always intrigued by villain backstories, so Heartless was on my radar. I was super excited to get it in an Owlcrate box and even more excited that it was an exclusive cover! It was written by an author I love and set in a world I enjoy escaping into, so my expectations were fairly high.

Heartless was a lot more difficult to get into than I expected and, while the story did pick up, I can’t say that I enjoyed it nearly as much as I thought I would. I expected the author to weave a tale that combined Wonderland and the Queen of Hearts together in a unique way because of how flawlessly she executed The Lunar Chronicles. I think my expectations were really high, so I won’t completely fault the book for that.

Catherine was very difficult for me to relate to, so perhaps that is also a reason it was a bit hard to get into. Catherine loved to bake and dreamed of one day opening her own bakery. She didn’t think her parents would ever let that happen, but she tried her best to line up a solid business plan once a storefront opened in Hearts. The King of Hearts took an interest in her, or her baked goods, but her as well, and it was clear that he would likely propose to her, a thing everyone in Hearts was excited about except her. Cath was falling in love with the court joker, Jest. She was one of those people who couldn’t seem to be firm with anyone. Inside, she wanted things and knew what she wanted, but she was so afraid to disappoint people and she didn’t think anyone would support her. I think Cath is easy to relate to if you’re also that way and come from a strict household, but I’m pretty strong willed for a shy person, so she just drove me nuts. She pretty much led the joker AND the King on just because she kept agreeing to what everyone else wanted, despite her heart actually swaying towards only one of them. To be fair, the book is NOT a love triangle, just a tangled mess of What-Will-Cath-Do moments. It was difficult to watch her make decisions when under pressure or in front of people and also know what she wanted to decide deep down. 

The way it ended was dramatic and interesting and I enjoyed it. It didn’t actually end the way I thought it was going to for most of the book, so I was happy to at least see a bit of a twist in direction (thought I do still think it was predictable) and see some choices that were out of her control impact her character. 

I don’t really feel like Heartless was good enough in terms of showing why a seemingly normal girl would become the villain we all know. The Queen of Hearts is the villain and one that probably wasn’t always that way, with a thousand reasons why that could be. Even the Tim Burton movies have delved into her past in order to give her a little backstory, so I was intrigued and excited to get another possible origin story for her from a favorite author. But I don’t feel like Heartless did anything grand, brought anything new to the table, or wowed me. We all know who the Queen of Hearts becomes because we’ve seen a million adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s original story, so any attempt to gain insight to her character had to be engrossing and interesting and new.. and Heartless wasn’t nearly as compelling as it should’ve been. I didn’t put the book down and feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest or that I truly got Cath or the Queen of Hearts and that’s what a truly good “origin” story should’ve done.

Despite the fact that the book didn’t wow me, it was still a good book. For a fan of Wonderland, it brought new and old characters together in a unique way. It took me into Wonderland through the eyes of someone other than the infamous Alice. I did love Jest and the growing romance between Cath and Jest, too. I loved the character of the not-so-clever King of Hearts and the too clever Cheshire. It was great fun, so it wasn’t a complete let down overall. Most of the book was light and quirky and I loved seeing how the author would portray each beloved character. The only character she didn’t really nail the way I expected was the main character, but the rest of them were very well done. I also love that there was a Raven and that the author including a little bit of intertwining Poe into the story, as it worked well and I am also a huge Poe fan.

I recommend Heartless, as it’s not necessarily a skippable book if you’re a fan of Wonderland. It’s worth exploring just to see another twist on an old favorite. However, if you do pick the book up, take your expectations and slash them in half. Pick up expecting a lot less than you were and I think it’ll be a much better book for you. It’s good, just not anywhere near as good as The Lunar Chronicles or what you may expect. 

Star 3

Review – Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

 

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

By Kendare Blake

SummaryEvery generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Source: I received a hardcover in an Owlcrate box.

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Review:

I loved getting this book when I opened up one of my previous Owlcrate boxes. I loved Anna Dressed in Blood by the same author and I knew that she would weave and dark and unforgettable tale of three would-be queens. I did not read the synopsis before jumping in, so I only knew what I could discern from the title and cover, which is how I prefer to read if I’m in the mood to not necessarily know what I’m getting.

Essentially, the island has a queen. The queen has triplets. Only one of them can be crowned queen. To take the throne, she must kill her sisters and take the throne. Every generation. Each potential queen has an ability and possesses a certain strain of magic. In Three Dark Crowns, Katharine was a poisoner queen. She could ingest poisons with no real ill effect, but her power was weak and virtually nonexistent. She was, however, adept at poisoning and poison mixing. Having been subjected to rigorous training, she was shy and had no real confidence. Arsinoe was said to be a naturalist, which meant she should be able to control plants and animals. Instead, her power was also weak and close to nonexistent, though her best friend Jules was a very powerful naturalist and controlled a wild cat. Mirabella was the only real talented would-be queen. She was an elemental and could control the elements, generating storms and controlling fire. The other two were much weaker, but as long as they could put on a show, they’d get the opportunity to be courted and could kill their other sisters and win the crown. 

The sisters were separated early in life and did not know each other aside from intelligence gathered by their supporters. Each sister was essentially trained and raised by those adept in their skills and guided each one. However, there was also a game of politics being played. No one wanted their queen to lose, even if their powers weren’t really strong.

I loved the premise of the book, especially as I got to meet the characters. None of them really wanted to be vicious and kill their siblings, it was simply what was always done and what was expected of them. Generations of poisoner queens had been in the lead, so naturally, the poisoner family of the Arron’s wanted Katharine to take the throne as the next poisoner queen to keep everyone in the lead and in the same position. Between politics and temples backing certain queens and not others, who knew what could happen to any of the queens.

As the story went on, I felt like i got to know and like all the sisters, so even I wasn’t sure who should win. Mirabella certainly had the most power, but she also had dreams, memories even, of her sisters and was less inclined to murder them. The temple attempted to take matters into their own hands. There was drama, mystery, romance, and violence in the book and I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to each of the three possible queens.

I definitely recommend the book and I can’t wait for the sequel. It was a good choice for Owlcrate and I don’t know that I would have necessarily picked it up otherwise!

Star 4

Review – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere

By Neil Gaiman

SummaryUnder the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.

Source: I purchased a paperback ages ago and finally picked it up.

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Review:

Neverwhere was Gaiman’s first solo novel, an urban fantasy taking place in an alternate London, underground, called London Below. Richard was ordinary, average, and kind of doormat. Until, for some reason, he decided he had to take action and help a wounded girl on the street while being berated by his controlling fiancé. His decision led him on a wild adventure underground once his life above was stripped from him, rendering the already slightly invisible Richard, totally invisible. 

I really enjoyed Neverwhere. It was such a fun adventure, dark in all the right places, full of darkness, puzzles, and intrigue. The villains were oh-so-perfectly villainous and it was an overall awesome fantasy adventure. There were twists and turns in the plot, betrayals and deaths, and Richard discovered he was a heck of a lot braver and more capable than he’d every imagined. 

In a lot of ways, Neverwhere read like a middle grade or young adult novel, because it deals with coming into yourself and discovering who you can truly be, but it’s even better because it’s a tad dark and Richard is older and I think adults sometimes need a good kick in a butt to realize we are just living in a routine. It was simple to read, but it was complex in just the right ways. I think it’s perfect for adults who love urban fantasy and somewhat dark, Tim Burton-like stuff. There is a ton of coming of age fantasy for kids and young adults and I love that this one features an older, but just as out of place protagonist finding his own Narnia wardrobe of sorts. 

It’s safe to say I am definitely a Gaiman fan. I can’t wait to dive into more of his books. I still think American Gods is the best, but this is a great book and one that helps bridge the gap from Coraline or The Graveyard Book, which involve child protagonists, and American Gods, which is wholly adult. 

Star 4

Review – Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

 

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)

By Alwyn Hamilton

SummaryShe’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from. 
Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Source: I purchased a hardcover. And a kindle copy on accident because I forgot I owned it already.

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Review:

I purchased Rebel of the Sands after seeing it win the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 category for the Best Books of 2016 on Goodreads. I’d seen the book around beforehand, but never picked it up. I read a lot of books each year and 99% of them I buy myself. I’ve been burned by new releases so many times, so I’ve been relying on reviews, overall star ratings, and things like “Best Book of the Year” awards to help me decide what to pick up instead of buying random books at the bookstore. 

Rebel of the Sands was a blend of cultures. I expected Arabian/Eastern type of desert mythology, but I got a bit of American West at the same time. Amani’s life resembled that of the American West, a desert town full of guns and liquor and people who didn’t trust one another. At the same time, the creatures in the desert and the political setup resembled the East, a bit of Arabian Nights, with Sultans and harems. I don’t know that I’ve read a book that took place in the desert and combined Eastern and Western settings. I feel a little conflicted because I thought the combination was unique, but I wish there was an explanation for it. The author isn’t American, otherwise my first thought would be that she wanted to stick with her own comfort zone and she did that by including the American West, but that’s not the case. It’s just a little weird as I’m not sure those two things really go together. 

Regardless, the book was compelling and I read it quickly. I liked Amani. I felt like she was a tough heroine who wasn’t afraid to try dangerous things. She wanted out of her life in a town where her gender determined whether she was listened to. Her uncle was going to force her to be one of his wives, but she needed to leave with money if she was ever going to get out of her town. There was a war going on and a ton of conflict, but Amani didn’t need to get involved until it showed up on her doorstep. Her path crossed with a mysterious foreigner and she was off on an adventure she wasn’t quite sure about.

A lot of reviewers have mentioned Amani’s lack of direction throughout the book and how she had no real purpose once she fled Dustwalk. What was she doing out there? Why was she so content to follow Jin? I understand the frustration when we are so used to heroines having something to focus on, even if it’s just revenge, but I liked that Amani didn’t really know what she was doing because I think sometimes that’s how life is. I get frustrated when heroines discover their strengths and somehow know exactly what to do to tear down some awful regime. I like that Amani knew what she was good at and every step she took lead her to discover the world she dreamed of wasn’t anything like she expected. Maybe she could escape to that city her mother came from, but then what? Why not just follow Jin and see what tricks are up his sleeve? At least by his side she could use her guns. She wasn’t trying to rage against the government or anything crazy. She just wanted out of her life and had no real other plan.

I do love that eventually Amani figured out what Jin’s whole deal was and found a bigger purpose. I liked that she didn’t just immediately jump on that bandwagon and that she stayed conflicted at first because it fit with her whole lack of direction. I don’t want to give too much away, but I liked how it all ended and how she ended up finding her place in everything. 

I can see why Rebel of the Sands won the category for Debut in 2016 on Goodreads. It was an interesting book and it was certainly unique. I also like that, while it is part of a series, it didn’t end with some crazy cliffhanger that makes me regret reading it so soon before the sequel’s release. It was satisfying, but there’s still so much more that can and probably will happen. I definitely recommend the book.

Star 4