ARC REVIEW: Traitor To The Throne – by Alwyn Hamilton

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Title: Traitor To The Throne
(Rebel Of The Sands #2)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Finished reading: February 18th 2017
Pages: 528
Rating 4,5qqq

“But then, this was what the desert did to us. It made us dreamers with weapons.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Faber & Faber in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I had heard a lot of great things about the first Rebel Of The Sands book, so when I saw a copy of the sequel at Netgalley I decided to go ahead and request it. When (to my surprise) the request was approved, I hurried to read the first book. And it was love at first chapter. Both the writing style, plot and characters managed to convince me right from the beginning, and I had an excellent time reading the first book. I was more than excited about Traitor To The Throne after that, and Alwyn Hamilton didn’t disappoint. This has without doubt become one of my new favorite fantasy series! Traitor To The Throne by no means suffers from the so-called ‘weak-second-book’ syndrome and was possibly even better than the first book. The writing, the worldbuilding, the plot, the characters, the magic… Everything just works. The sequel has a lot less desert and is mostly set inside the palace, but I personally liked the change of scenery. And despite the fact that the story doesn’t end in that big of a cliffhanger, it is going to be a long wait for the third book… Because I sure will be missing the main characters and their world in the mean time. If you like the genre, I can definitely recommend this series!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Nearly a year has passed since that memorable day in Fahali… Amani has had time to get used to her powers during the months that passed, and both her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit and the Rebel Prince’s message have spread across the desert. Things are getting out of control, and Amani will soon find herself in a very complicated situation. One day, she finds herself stripped of her powers and identity, and Amani will have to rely on her desert instincts again to survive… Because the Sultan’s palace is a dangerous place. What will happen to Amani and the other rebels?

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When I start reading a new fantasy series, I’m always looking for a few key elements before I decide to continue with the sequel. The most important ones are: well written prose, excellent worldbuilding, interesting/likeable characters with a believable development and a little something extra that makes the story stand out from the rest. Rebel Of The Sands basically has it all, and the sequel is just as good as the first book. Amani is partly your typical strong female heroine, but I’ve grown to love her character and I like that she isn’t just a strong desert girl with great weapon skills, but also has her ‘special’ powers. I will definitely be looking forward to the third book next year!


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WWW Wednesdays #125 – February 22nd

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading two Netgalley ARCs, depending on the genre I’m in the mood for. The first is the thriller The Killing Game by J.S. Carol, which I actually should have read two months ago and it’s about time I finally picked it up… And the other title is A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, a historical fiction story set in the Russia of the 1920s and a very enjoyable read so far. I’ve also read the first few pages of The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and I’m definitely looking forward to continue it as soon as I finish my current ARCs. And I’ve decided not to mention my current audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) anymore until I actually make progress again. 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is The Truth Will Out by Brian Cleary, an ARC that has been on my TBR for way too long. And wow, what a disturbing and messed up story! This crime thriller is set in Ireland and the plot is without doubt intriguing. On top of that it’s well written, full of twists and without doubt a gripping story in general.
* I then read The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew, which I had picked up on a whim after browsing my kindle. I should have checked goodreads first instead, because I can definitely understand the very low rating now… I had a REALLY hard time reading this story and was close to DNFing it more than once. I had a strong dislike for the prose and the story simply didn’t make sense at all. I guess I was as lost as the light in the title…
* To make up for the previous read (and also because I finally finished the Rebel Of The Sands review) I continued with Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. And this series is definitely one of my new favorite fantasy series! I enjoyed this sequel just as much or even better than the first book, and it will be a long long wait for the last book. The writing, the plot, the characters, the magic… Everything just works.
* The last book I finished is The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro as part of my promise to start finishing more series. I enjoyed the first book of this series last year, but the books are steadily declining in quality. This third book was actually quite a struggle. I don’t think I would have finished it if it wouldn’t have been for the superfast pace… Because between the extremely annoying main character, sappy romance scenes and general blah I had a hard time finishing this story. It makes me really worried about the final book…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m trying to tackle the mountain of pending ARCs that are waiting for me, so I have the following three lined up: I Found You by Lisa Jewell, Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer.  I also want to read both Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken as part of my promise to start finishing more pending series.


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BOOK REVIEW: Rebel Of The Sands – by Alwyn Hamilton

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Title: Rebel Of The Sands
(Rebel Of The Sands #1)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: February 13th 2017
Pages: 320
Rating 4,5qqq

“The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn’t let weakness live.”

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Dear Rebel Of The Sands, why have I managed to ignore you for nearly a year?! I’m still kicking myself for not picking up this first book of a fantastic new YA fantasy series… But I guess it does mean I can read the sequel straight away! I admit I have heard mixed things about this story in the past, and that might just be why I was so hesitant to pick it up in the first place. I normally tend to have bad luck with popular books, but I’m glad that Rebel Of The Sands has proven to be an exception. I’m glad I finally gave this story a chance and I loved even better than expected! I’ve basically fallen in love with the worldbuilding, characters and writing style from the beginning… Alwyn Hamilton writes in a way that draws you right in and even though the whole strong-female-character thing in YA fantasy isn’t all that original, I was thoroughly charmed by Amani anyway. Together with Jin, Shazad and many other characters she managed to win over my heart and I had a blast following them on their journey through the desert. The worldbuilding is so interesting! I’ve heard complains about the ‘mythical’ being lost by the ‘western’ feel of the descriptions and some of the scenes, but I personally really liked the mix of two different elements. Great prose and characters, interesting plot and worldbuilding, lots of action, a healthy dose of action and magic: Rebel Of The Sands has all the ingredients to enchant you.

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Amani Al’Hiza lives in the small desert town of Dustwalk and basically learned to shoot like an expert when she was only a little girl. There is not much to do in Dustwalk and Amani has become a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim… But that won’t help her escape before she either loses her freedom or her life. When another bad decision brings her to a shooting contest, she meets the mysterious foreigner Jin. Amani sees him as the perfect escape route, although it won’t be easy to escape with both their lives… And she definitely didn’t imagine escaping riding a mythical horse she didn’t know still existed. And she will soon learn a whole lot more about her country as they try to find their way to safety.

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Thank you Traitor To The Throne for finally making me read the first book! I’m so glad I was approved for an ARC of the sequel, because I still feel I have been missing out by not reading Rebel Of The Sands sooner. I know this story has a lot of mixed reviews, but if you ask me it’s definitely worth the try. This series has the perfect combination of interesting worldbuilding, great characters and well written prose; the magic and mythical elements make Rebel Of The Sands into something special. I will be looking forward to read more about Amani and Jin’s adventures for sure!


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WWW Wednesdays #124 – February 15th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently still reading the Rebel Of The Sands sequel, and I can’t wait to properly dive into the story later today. It took me a little longer to finish my review than I thought, but no more excuses now. Traitor To The Throne it is! I haven’t made any progress with my newest audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) this week though…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer, a new detective series I requested after hearing a lot of great things about it. It’s definitely a worthy psychological thriller! Lots and lots of plot twists and the writing style is really enjoyable… I wasn’t a fan of all the characters and there were a couple of cliches, but the rest of this messed up story makes up for it.  And even though I saw part of the ending already coming, a couple of facts/twists will definitely surprise you!
* I then read Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, a book I’ve been posponing for way too long if you ask me. I finally picked it up after receiving an ARC of the sequel, and I’m glad I finally gave this story a chance. I loved it even better than expected! I’ve fallen in love with the worldbuilding, characters and writing style and I’m already reading the sequel right now.
* The last book I finished was The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson. I’ve been posponing this TBR jar pick for way too long and I’m glad I finally gave it a go. I still have to read the previous TBR jar pick as well (Little Women), so I won’t be picking a new one until I do. This one was better than expected even though some of the story was a bit weird (especially the whole Death thing and Andrew himself). The story is without doubt original and I liked the graphic novel bits with patient F.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have two pending ARCs next: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer. (Ok, actually I have a whole mountain of pending ARCs, but I’m going to try and read these two first…) I also want to read both The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken VERY soon. So many books and so little time!


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

Teaser Tuesdays #127 – February 14th: Traitor To The Throne

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’m still kicking myself for not picking up Rebel Of The Sands sooner, but at least it does mean I can read the sequel straight away… I was honestly a bit shocked my request for Traitor To The Throne was approved, but I’m not complaining. 😉 Especially since I LOVED the first book. I’ve heard mixed things about it, but I’ve fallen in love with the worldbuilding, magic, main characters and Alwyn Hamilton‘s writing style. I’m not too far into the sequel yet, mostly because I still have to write a review of the first book and don’t want the two books to be mixed up. But I can’t wait to continue this one as soon as I’ve finished my review! 😀

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My teaser (10%):

“He chose the second one. But I was faster than his stupid brain could work. I dropped to my knees a second before the gun went off, the bullet burying itself harmlessly in the wall behind me.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #123 – February 8th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading one of my pending Netgalley ARCs, Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer. I requested this one after hearing a lot of great things about it, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint so far. I’m also about to start Rebel Of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton… I’ve been wanting to pick that one up for a while, and now I’ve been approved for the sequel there is really no excuse to pospone it any longer. 😉  I haven’t made any progress with my newest audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) this week though.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I was able to finish since last week is Missing by Monty Marsden. This one sounded like such an intriguing read and I still like the setting in Italy, but it took me a long time to finish it. I know this story is actually a translation, but it just all felt too chaotic and it took a long time before things started making sense. The many POV switches distracted from the main plot and had me confused which characters were actually important in the story. Claps was an interesting character though.
* I then read The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, which was actually published yesterday. It’s such a brilliant read! I completely fell in love with the writing style, plot and characters and it just such a great feel-good story full of nostalgic feelings and flashbacks to the 80s. And even though I grew up in the 90s myself, it was really easy to connect to the story anyway.
* The last book I managed to finish is The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I was really looking forward to this one and maybe my expectations were just too high, but this story wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I was actually confused by the chapter introductions for a while and didn’t get a proper feel for the story straight away. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but it took me longer than I thought I would to finish it and frankly I expected something a little more ‘mindblowing’. Note to self: get the Chaos Walking sequels ASAP!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’ll probably pick up my Netgalley copy of Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton as soon as I finish the first book… Although I have been wanting to read both The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult for the Beat The Backlist challenge as well.  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson


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