Rating: 2.5 Stars
Published: March 2016
Genre: Young Adult // Fantasy
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.
Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is. (Summary taken from Goodreads)
I was really excited to read this book. I wanted to like it so bad. The author has potential but this story didn’t do it for me. It felt more like a Western with magic than a novel set in the Middle East. I was really disappointed by that because popular books about the Middle East are few & far between, especially in the young adult genre.
I read this on a plane ride to California. It kept me entertained enough but when I changed plans, I was wondering what else I could be reading.
Amani and Jin have no chemistry. It was sort of developing towards the end of the book but it felt like it was without a foundation. And unfortunately, Amani was just like some of the female characters I’ve been reading about in YA Fastasy/Westerns recently. She’s interchangeable and doesn’t really stand out.
The magic & culture isn’t fully explained. I had a background for some of the cultural elements but someone who didn’t would be lost. Even at that, I was confused with the royal family and the allies/rebels etc. Even the background information about how women are treated in that setting wasn’t explained well– it was very unfortunate because something like what happened to Amani parents could happen in real life.
This book isn’t terrible but it’s not entirely unique. I liked some of the magical elements but they weren’t fully developed. The story moved along well enough and I read it in one sitting but there were too many problems with it. I’m intrigued enough where I’ll pick up the sequel at the library if I’m bored but I’m not anticipating it by any means.
I realize I may be in the minority with my opinion but I’m really glad I didn’t buy this like I had originally wanted to when I first heard about it.
Thanks to First to Read for giving me a chance to read this novel before it was published in exchange for an honest review.