The sequel to Rebel of the Sands picks up with the rebellion somewhat stagnant. For every push forward, the Sultan’s army fights back. Amani, aka the Blue-Eyed Bandit, was gravely injured. When she recovered, Jin was not by her side and she felt betrayed. The story opens with another rescue mission that leads to Amani’s betrayal at the hands of her aunt. She is sold to the Sultan. The rebellion has wanted to plant a spy within the palace and here she is. However, the Sultan has discovered a method to control the Djinni. Her power is taken away and she must obey the Sultan’s every word. Despite the Sultan’s cruelty, he shows Amani small kindnesses and includes her in his counsel. He explains his strategies and his love for the country. Seeing how a leader must be decisive, she doubts the Rebel Prince has the necessary qualities to rule a war-torn country. Nothing and no one is quite what they seem.
The writing is close to perfection. The characters are richly drawn, full of flaws, and incredibly complex. The feel of the desert, the Sultan’s palace and the harem, steeped in petty bickering that disguises each person’s fight for survival, are all cleverly described so that the reader is fully absorbed into the story. The characters ring true. Childhood friend, Tamid, does not forgive Amani leaving him for dead. While Amani has all the clever, tough, brave traits of a hero, this story allows the true heroine to be Shira. Amani and Shira are cousins who despised each other. Raised in the same home in Dustwalk, both girls were desperate to get away from Dustwalk and both are cunning, ruthless and are survivors. A true hero sacrifices for others and this go around, it is Shira who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her child, Amani, and the rebellion. Then there’s Sam – divertingly glib – but has a story all his own and we get a bit of a glimpse into his past. This series is nothing short of brilliant! Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 3.7.17