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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 452 pages
Publisher: Viking
Release date: March 6, 2018

Series: Rebel of the Sands, #3

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

When gunslinging Amani Al'Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she'd join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn't have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn't exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.

Ever since I read Rebel of the Sands last year, I loved it. I found it impossible not to love Amani. With the final in the series, I can one hundred percent say this is a solid fantasy. Immediately, I want more from Alwyn Hamilton. Upon our last novel, Amani had escaped from the Sultan's harem but not without great consequences. Her cousin, Shira, was executed for birthing a Djinni, and Amani rescued her son; the Sultan killed the Sultim and made it look like the rebels; and the Sultan and his  traitorous daughter Leyla built a machine to harness the Djinni's energy to power metal golems called Abdals which could basically blast magical fire cannons and only had the one weakness of their Achilles tendons. Additionally, the Sultan captured much of the rebellion, including Ahmed, the Rebel Prince, his Demdji sister Delila, and Shazad, their general. He had thought he executed Ahmed, but really it was Imin, their Djinni shapeshifter. The core group of the rebellion is now very small, leaving only Hala, Amani, Jin, Maz and Izz, and Sam. They also are accompanied by a reluctant Tamid who just wants to return home.

Now, the Sultan has cast a shield over Izman to keep out their many enemies, but it's also trapped Amani and the leaders of the rebellion. Meanwhile he sent Ahmed and his other prisoners of the rebellion out of the city. With Ahmed and Shazad captured, Amani finds herself the reluctant de-facto leader of the rebellion since she's the most recognizable. She's only led smaller bands, and now she must decide what their little group does that could have such far-reaching consequences as to kill the rebellion entirely if they fail.

In the course of their quest, Amani has to confront her hometown and with it, her old self. As the foolish wishes of other Demdji and their mothers come to fruition around her, she wrestles with her own desires and that of the wisest choice of action to save their people. One of the most interesting things is the juxtaposition of her beginning at Dustwalk and the family she finds through the rebellion and her Demdji blood. Amani has been an outcast, an outlaw, a slave, a prisoner, and now a leader, a hero, and an acrobat, balancing between Djinni curse and Demdji power. She is always two halves, and it's funny how this book really illustrates that.

My favorite and most agonizing part was her relationship with Jin and how this develops towards the end of the novel. Then there's the key heartbreak in the novel, too, that had me crying and mourning. I almost didn't think the ending was going to pull off, but, wow. The final chapters were so fast-paced that I almost don't recall what happens, but interspersed and at the end there are these beautiful and lyric myth/legend segments that wrap the story up to make it feel almost like a fairy tale.

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.


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