SYNOPSIS: Amani has dreamed her whole life of escaping Dustwalk and seizes the opportunity when a mysterious stranger, Jin, blows through town with the army hot on his trail. As Amani and Jin get closer, she discovers secrets about both of their pasts and inadvertently joins a rebellion that seeks to restore the desert to glory.
You would think that the Western genre and the Fantasy genre would not go well together, but they go hand in hand perfectly. I loved how Hamilton was able to balance the two genres in such a way as to not overpower one or the other and it never for a moment felt weird or cheesy. There were nice subtleties to the Western atmosphere of the book and I loved that it played with the folklore and mythology of the Middle East. Fantasy gets to be a lot more fun when authors play with the non-Celtic/Germanic tales and I find the Djinni of this world are fascinating. I can’t wait to learn more about them and if there are other Demdji than the ones we meet in this book. Like in a Western, the world is just as much a character as the actual persons and I love how the desert becomes an entity all its own. It’ll be exciting to see what this sandy world turns all these characters into. This book clips along at a nice pace, so there is hardly a dull moment and I love watching Amani figure out that she doesn’t have to be alone in the world (although I wished she’d figured it out sooner because I need to know if her friend Tamid is alright). There were a couple of times when I thought it was odd that she’d pick Jin over everything, but that was just a small complaint in a sea of great things. I loved how the myths of this country were all over-exaggerations of real events and how you slowly discover that as the story progresses. I think the thing that I’m most looking forward to is how this ragtag group of rebels is going to succeed in putting the rightful heir in power. I love how Ahmed truly wants change and it has all been influenced by his travels around the world. I’m interested in seeing how he develops as a leader and I love his relationship with his siblings and I’m excited to see how those bonds are tested and strengthened. Noorsham is another interesting character that I need to know more about and it’ll be interesting to see how he comes into his own. All of these characters are rife with potential and the world can only get more exciting from here! I look forward to the continuation of Amani’s journey and I’m excited to see what kind of person the desert will turn her into!