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Hero at the Fall: Rebel of the Sands 3 (Rebel of the Sands Trilogy) Paperback – 1 Feb 2018
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Sheer escapism. (Guardian)
Highly anticipated conclusion to the epic Rebel of the Sands trilogy - a genre-busting Wild West meets Arabian Nights fantasySee all Product description
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Hero at the Fall begins maybe a few days or so from where we ended in Traitor to the Throne, with a very beaten down and broken rebellion. Their leader and general captured along with the majority of the rest, the few still free, now led by Amani, struggle to come up with a solid plan to retaliate against the Sultan. One thing they know for sure is that they need to save their friends, but with time clearly not on their side who will be left alive if and when they finally reach them.
My complete and utter love for this trilogy has seemingly come out of nowhere. I really liked Rebel of the Sands but it was definitely Traitor to the Throne that fully had me invested in this story and its characters. Since this is the authors first novels I had no idea what this final chapter would be like. Would Alwyn Hamilton be the author that kills everyone? Will she put them all in near-death experiences only to have them pull through at the last minute? Will she kill all my faves?
I didn't know.
I do now.
See, Alwyn Hamilton is one of the worst kinds of authors. She is constantly playing with your heart. Shame on you!
Honestly, there wasn't a page in this book that I read without gripping fear coursing through every part of me. The suspense and pacing was masterful. I didn't want to put it down because I needed to know, but I was also tentative to read it because I was scared of what I would find. This shows how much Hamilton has made me care for these characters over the course of these books. I just want them all to be happy and safe and alive! I didnt' think that was too much to ask.
The world just keeps getting bolder and bigger. With each book it has become more vivid and amazing in my mind. This is the first book in this trilogy to feature a map at the front and I'd be lying if I said I didn't spend a good 5 minutes, both before and after, just looking at the map and thinking of how far our rebellion has travelled. I would also flick to it at some points during the book to see where we were. The magic and the Djinni are amazing! I want to be a Djinni! Seriously Amani makes a boat sail over sand, that would be awesome!
I adore these characters. It was the main thing that stuck out for me a year and a half ago when I first read Rebel and I still love them now. I think if you're going to include things like war or a rebellion were the reader will pick a side you have to have characters the reader can really root for otherwise they may not pick the side they're supposed to. Trust me I was fully rooting for the other side in Zenith. With this trilogy I have never not been fully rooting for the rebellion and that is because the characters are extremely likeable and Hamilton never tries to make them what they aren't.
Something that stood out for me in Hero is that Amani never acts as if she knows what she's doing when it comes to leading the rebels in Ahmed and Shazad's absence. She is constantly thinking about what they would do and trying to be like them and it's a change from heroins seemingly knowing what to do in every circumstance. Every character has their strengths and each has their flaws, but they never try to hind them from each other. They admire each others strengths and support each others weaknesses and they feel like a family. There's nothing fake and the friendship and love they have each other is so well written.
I've always loved how it never felt like Hamilton was forcing Amani and Jin's relationship on you. it has never been the primary focus but it is there and it comes across so natural and I love that. I also love Amani and Shazad's friendship it is seriously underrated. I truly adore these characters and there was many a time I had tears in my eyes when reading. Sometimes it was when a character died, others it was just from the thought of one dying.
One thing I will say, is that if you are expecting this book to be one big battle you will come up a little short here. I didn't realise until after I had finished it, but the final battle is like 30/40 pages long. We spend the majority of the book searching for and trying to save Ahmed, Shazad and company from captivity. I'd be lying if I said I thought this was how the book was going to go. I thought we'd have everybody out within the first quarter, halfway at the least. However, that wasn't the case because, obviously, things would be too easy that way. But, like I said, I didn't realise this until after I had read the book so the lack of big battles does not slow the pace at all.
I will admit, I think I preferred Traitor so I may have to bump that one up to 5 stars.
I don't want to end this review, because then it makes this trilogy ending more real and I don't want to say goodbye to this yet. It is a very fitting conclusion. The final chapter is more like an epilogue and fully ties this trilogy up, ends it and lets you know the fates and lives of much loved characters. It's very satisfying. It's one of those ending that makes you sit there for about 5 minutes because you have no idea what else to do. I still don't know what to do and it's been about 4 hours since I finished it.
I’m going to start at the end (spoiler-free) because I want to be super positive about this. The final chapter was probably one of my favourite series conclusions I have ever read (just behind A Conjuring of Light and Our Dark Duet) because it tied up the whole entire three books in an expertly crafted way, summarising the rebellion, the uprising, the lives lost and where Miraji could go from there. It didn’t answer all the questions but it didn’t leave you burning and angry for everything unanswered. It was the perfect ending and that chapter alone made up for any sins the rest of the novel had.
I loved this book. But it was slow. Maybe that was just my brain and its desperation for the series not to end but it felt slow to me, less enjoyable in the middle, a bit like it was plodding from one big, impactful scene to the next. BUT, those big, impactful scenes were everything. I cried so many times when I wasn’t expecting to. I forgot how connected I was to these character and how in love with Jinn and Amani I was. And boy do those two just fill my heart with love. One of the most perfect OTPs, for sure.
"But he wondered if a boy from the sea and a girl from the desert could ever survive together. He feared that she might burn him alive or that he might drown her. Until finally he stopped fighting it and set himself on fire for her."
My absolute highlights were the short chapters. In between each big event, there is a short chapter, told third person about various situations the rebels find themselves in, written as though a bard/storyteller is speaking of these characters as myths and legends of the past. These moments were my favourite and if I could frame each tale on my walls, I would.
I’m not really sure how much more I have to say, because I could gush for days but I really want this to be spoiler-free. The most important thing I can say is that if you loved the rest of this series then this books will only impress you. It is a really beautiful conclusion and Hamilton’s writing is definitely something to watch. I’m so excited to see what she does next.
TL;DR – A perfect conclusion. My heart is so full and this ending was everything I needed it to be. Constantly twisting and turning away from my predictions.
Following two books of Amani and her friends’ fraught and emotional journey, this book is the climax to all she’s learnt about herself and the world she lives in. This is a showdown of power, society’s rule and the individual relationships within. This made me laugh and cry, gasp and groan. I won’t give away any details but, suffice to say, it is an emotional rollercoaster of adventure that doesn’t disappoint in delivering the action or the quieter emotional moments.
Alwyn Hamilton’s writing style means she wastes no words, delivering vast detail and depth in an effortless way that is a delight to read. She’s brought the series to a masterful end. Yet, I was bereft that it was over. I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next. If you haven’t read this trilogy, I recommend you do.