We’re so excited for Hero at the Fall, the finale in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton! Although, let’s be honest, we are SO not ready to say goodbye to Amani and Jin. Whether you want a refresh of book 1 before you get started on book 3, or if you want to re-live the good times, Alwyn has written us a wonderful recap that will bring you right back into the world. Let us begin! And let us be clear that there are….
Amani is sixteen, orphaned and stranded in the dead end town of Dustwalk. Desperate to escape she’s only found one way out of dodge, disguise herself as a boy, and enter an underground shooting contest, counting on her exceptional sharpshooter skills to win enough prize money for a one way ticket out of town.
There, Amani meets Jin, a mysterious stranger who is clearly not from round these parts. When things start to go wrong the two form a tentative alliance, that shatters when the contest goes to hell, and a fight breaks out.
Amani flees, sneaking back home. Only the next day, Jin rushes into her family’s general store, where she is working behind the counter, pursued by the Sultan’s army. Amani hides him long enough to get rid of the soldiers, patches up his wound and urges Jin to take her with him when he leaves.
He refuses and Amani is distracted by the arrival of a Buraqi, a magical sand horse, which she successfully wrangles, hoping to sell it to buy her way out. But when she blackmailed by someone else in town for the horse getting out becomes even more urgent.
But before Amani can escape the army rides back into town, having discovered her connection with Jin, a wanted criminal. As they interrogate her, the factory on the outskirts of town goes up in flame, distracting everyone just as Jin arrives, rescuing Amani.
The two wind up in a mining town in the mountain that has recently suffered an explosion of its own and a collapse. Jin makes it clear he has not changed his mind about taking Amani with him. So she takes things into her own hands, drugs and robs him and makes a run for it.
But Jin catches up to Amani on a train headed for the city, that is also full of the same army that is hunting for Jin and which interrogated Amani. Forcing the two of them to pull the old “fakeout makeout” to hide and jump off the train.
Forced to find another way across the desert they join up with a caravan, with Amani disguised as a boy to walk across the desert.
On the way they discover a town that has been flattened by a mysterious new weapon that the Sultan has acquired, and in order to survive they are forced to make a detour to a town known to be occupied by the enemy.
There the caravan is imprisoned, leaving Amani and Jin to cause a distraction by creating a stampede of horses to free the others and make a run for it.
However, forced to flee in the dark the caravan is attacked by Nightmares, Amani is forced to reveal her Gender and Jin is injured.
Refusing to leave Jin behind to die, Amani follows his mysterious compass, which does not point north, and manages to drag him to a secret door in the side of the cliff. There she is almost killed by a Skinwalker, before the door in the cliff opens and she is saved by Shazad.
Amani discovers that beyond that door is the Rebellion that is being lead by the rebel Prince Ahmed, the Sultan’s prodigal son. And not only that but Jin is Ahmed’s half brother and a Prince as well.
Before she can recover from this first betrayal Amani learns that she is not wholly human. She is a Demdji, the daughter of a human mother and a Djinni father. And that Jin has known all along. Though he has no idea why her Demdji gift, a magical power imbued in all these children, has not manifested yet.
Reeling from this betrayal Amani ultimately decides to stay with the Rebellion, to try to discover her power. Though she is on the outs with Jin, she forges other friendships, especially with Shazad.
After some time news that the Sultan’s secret weapon is on the move reaches the rebels. They determine to intercept the train that its on before it can reach them and be used against them.
Only when they do get aboard the train they find that this isn’t just some super bomb, the Sultan’s secret weapon is a boy, another Demdji with the power to summon fire.
Amani and the others manage to escape by the skin of their teeth and in doing so Amani discovers her Demdji power: The ability to manipulate sand. Held at bay until this moment by her attachment to her gun, since iron impedes magic.
The Rebels regroup and decide that, in spite of Noorsham’s power being so much greater than what they are ready to handle they’ll have to go and face him. They do so, and in the ensuing skirmish Amani manages to liberate Noorsham from the Sultan’s influence, and he turns his power against their enemies before disappearing.
With such a blow to the Rebellion’s enemies, this leaves the desert open to being taken over by Ahmed’s influence and give the rebellion a real fighting chance to take the throne.
Pre-order your copy of Hero at the Fall!
And stay tuned for our recap of Traitor to the Throne!