Longing to escape her dead-end, completely non-magical town, gunslinger Amani unexpectedly falls in love with exotic stranger Jin, who reveals his identity as a magical rebel in a secret movement to overthrow the Sultan. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)
Desperate to leave the dead-end town of Dustwalk, Amani meets Jin, the mysterious rebel running from the Sultan's army and she unlocks a powerful truth about the desert nation of Miraji...and herself. - (Baker & Taylor)
"Amani is desperate to leave the dead-end town of Dustwalk, and she's counting on her sharpshooting skills to help her escape. But after she meets Jin, the mysterious rebel running from the Sultan's army, she unlocks the powerful truth about the desert nation of Miraji...and herself"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
The New York Times bestselling novel by the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Author of 2016, published in 15 countries!
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female. Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
This startlingly original Middle-East-meets-Wild-West fantasy reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally embracing her power. - (Penguin Putnam)
*Starred Review* Arabian Nights meets the Wild West in this thrilling debut novel. Amani can't wait to escape her small desert town. She knows she's meant for more, and she's counting on her sharpshooting skills to help her find a way out of Dustwalk. When she meets the mysterious Jin, a charming foreigner who is wanted for treason, she decides he can be her escape. Amani ends up on an exciting journey where mythical beasts rise, djinni wield magical powers, and the sultan's army is on the hunt. As whispers of a rebel prince start echoing through Miraji, Amani finds herself unexpectedly caught up in a revolution; but, once within it, she discovers more about herself than she ever imagined. This atmospheric fantasy combines magic, mythology, and the Wild West to create a riveting tale. Amani is a strong heroine who is witty and willful. The supporting cast of characters is well drawn, and the story is full of surprising twists that will leave readers satisfied yet still eager for a sequel. Although many familiar tales echo within its pages, this is an exciting, romantic adventure that is all its own. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
Amani, an expert markswoman who plans to shoot her way out of her dead-end hometown, escapes from Dustwalk with a handsome young criminal. Their journey across the desert leads Amani to the Rebel Prince's Djinni army, placing her at the heart of a global battle between good and evil. Middle Eastern lore meets steampunk Western in this exciting fantasy debut. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
A sassy desert sharpshooter swashbuckles through a six-gun Arabian Nights in this fantasy debut. Once upon a time in Miraji, fiery Djinn bartered for wishes and heroes rode immortal steeds of wind and sand; now the hardscrabble folk of Dustwalk make weapons for the Sultan's foreign allies and trade whispered rumors about the Rebel Prince. Orphaned, barely tolerated, and stifled in a culture that considers females worthless, Amani is so desperate to get out of the Last County that she dresses as a boy and enters a shooting contest. But that's before she meets the charming foreign scoundrel Jin, and then the barn burns down, and the factory blows up, and the army arrives….From the irresistible opening paragraph, this rollicking caper expertly mashes up a gritty Middle East with a steampunk Old West, succeeding through the infectious voice of its heroine: brash, witty, cynical, and fierce, with an aching, vulnerable core and a suppressed streak of idealism. The secondary c haracters are just as memorable, from snarky, secretive Jin to their various foes, who range from cartoonish to terrifying to darkly tragic. Amani's adventures through this immersive alternative landscape continually veer off into unpredictable detours, looping back to an almost overstuffed climax that manages to deliciously satisfy while dangling tempting hints for a sequel. Romantic, thrilling, hilarious, and just plain great fun. (Fantasy. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Still mourning the hanging of her mother for killing her father, 16-year-old Amani Al'Hiza seeks to escape the quiet, oppressive town of Dustwalk before her uncle takes her as one of his brides. With unusual blue eyes, sharpshooter skills, and no shortage of daring, Amani joins up with Jin, a lawless adventurer. Disguised as a boy, Amani travels with Jin across the desert and the Sand Seas, defending herself against "Nightmares," "Skinwalkers," and the pursuit of the Sultan of Miraji's army and allies. Debut author Hamilton combines elements of Western and Middle Eastern civilization and lore with her own mythology, crafting an enticing, full-bodied story. Upon meeting the Rebel Prince, one of the sultan's sons who promises leadership founded on equality and justice, Amani discovers her true identity and must choose between striking out on her own or defending the prince and his followers against a dangerous weapon. Through some of the metaphors can feel forced ("The rails were as empty as a drunk's liquor bottle on prayer day"), Hamilton successfully mingles romance with thrilling stakes, and hints at a welcome sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. (Mar.)
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School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 8 Up—In a setting three-quarters Middle East and one quarter Wild West (if the Wild West had djinnis and magical beasts), Amani Al'Hiza has cast aside female convention and trained herself as a crack pistol shot. Her mother's death and her father's absence put her under her uncle's control, and he doesn't have this independent 16-year-old's best interests at heart. Her plans for escape to the capital city are cut short, and she finds herself on the run through the desert, accompanied by Jin, a mysterious young man her own age. Debut author Hamilton includes classic elements (such as iron weakening magical First Beings) along with factors unique to this story. Amani and Jin join a caravan to cross the desert but are left behind when Jin is injured. Near death, they are saved by a band of rebels, and Amani sees that she can no longer be a bystander in her country's political upheaval. The rebels must find and disable "the weapon" and unseat the cruel Sultan and end the Gallan army's violent rule. The ending points toward a sequel. The desert setting is unusual, while the character types have been seen before. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Alexandra Bracken's "The Darkest Minds" series (Disney-Hyperion) and Stacey Jay's stand-alone Princess of Thorns (Delacorte, 2014). VERDICT A readable, middle-of-the-pack "teens save the world" story. Consider for large collections.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX
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