This is part review of Alwyn Hamilton’s final instalment in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, and part round up of that self-same trilogy. Beware, there may be general spoilers for the series, but I have tried to keep it as vague as I can where major plot developments are concerned.
I first mentioned Hero of the Falls in my Five…Sequels released in 2018 post. It’s the final instalment of the Rebel of the Sands series, it was released at the end of January, and check me, I’ve read and reviewed it by the end of February!
In the Rebel of the Sands, Amani is a sharpshooter from the edge-of-the-desert town of Dustwalk, desperate to escape. She wins a sharpshooter contest, rescues a stranger from a foreign land, and finds herself trekking across the desert with a person she barely knows. There, she joins the rebellion of the Rebel Prince, and learns that she has djinn blood, giving her the power to control the very sand that makes up the desert. In Traitor to the Throne, the Rebel Prince’s armies are ambushed, and Amani taken prisoner in the Harem of the Sultan’s court. She aims to gather as much intel as she can, not realising the danger she is in. In the final instalment, Hero of the Falls, the rebellion is in tatters, and few of the demijin remain free to fight. Amani must take the lead, deciding how they are going to find and release their leader, and what they’re going to do to save the desert.
Hero of the Falls was fairly fast paced, with lots of personal and bigger battles and djinn and careful wording to avoid getting played big time by immortal creatures. The rebel group are exhausted and battered and they still snipe at each other, like bickering siblings, and they are so loyal to each other. I really enjoyed how there are small chapters which are how the legends of each character will be/have been told – so there is one for Shira, one for Sam, on for Shazad, one for Hala ect, for how they will be remembered beyond the war they are fighting, when they are legends told around desert campfires. They’re the chapters which have titles, rather than numbers.
As far as endings go, it’s a good ending to the series, with everyone holding their place in the battle they face, and exploring the international relationships of the adjoining nations, and the problems faced there.
I recommend the whole Rebel of the Sands series. I mean, it’s not life changing – absolute favourite book of the decade, but it is a good series, not set in the west, not American, a pretty awesome female antagonist, who has a tendency towards stubbornness, the best general ever is looked over in common society because of her gender. The magic is based on fire, the fire of the Djinn and the darkness that lets Skinwalkers crawl. It’s about finding your place in the world, planting your feet and saying “no, this is wrong”, and changing things. Yes, there’s romance, but it’s not the point of any of the book, it’s incidental. Amani would do anything for any of her rebels, and she’s not just there for her boyfriend.