I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I read Rebel of the Sands, I had really liked the concept of the book, and thought it had been well-written but had a few flaws. I was really happy that NetGalley and the publishers granted my wish and gave me the chance to read the sequel, because I really wanted to know how the story would continue.
It has been almost a year since the battle at Fahali, where the rebels won and Noorsham disappeared. Amani has risen in fame as rumors of the Blue-eyed Bandit and her abilities soar. The rebels continue to rescue their people and find out what they can about the Sultan’s plans …. but a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, leading amani to be betrayed by someone she thought she could count on. Stripped of her powers and identity, Amani must rely on her human instincts to survive in the Sultan’s palace. The harem where she stays is a dangerous place, a nest of suspicion, fear, and betrayal. Amani thinks it’s the perfect place to spy on the palace goings, but when ghosts from her past come back to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can even trust herself.
It’s a rare thing for a sequel to be better than the first book. But that was the case here. In the beginning, I felt a little confused because I had assumed that the novel would begin where it left off; instead, it started off a year afterwards. This meant that the character interactions were a little different. However, the author brought the readers up to pace quickly and soon, I was immersed in the story. I loved the addition of different djinn stories interspersed within the novel, all of which were relevant to specific characters; it gave a really nice backstory. I loved having Amani be the star of the show, and the author did a great job showing her weaknesses and the way she overcomes them. The love story between Amani and Jin still remained in this novel, and the intensity of it caught me off guard; since this novel took place a year after the first one, I felt like I missed out on the growth in their relationship, and so their love story fell short for me. It is pretty much the only negative I had for this whole story. I loved the villains, I loved the schemes, I loved all of the twists and turns. I loved every character that was introduced, and I loved the intensity of the world that the author created; if anything, it was even more in-depth and well-developed than before! I am so excited for the next book in the series! I read a lot of fantasy teen fiction novels, but this one is definitely unique and has gotten so much better as the story has progressed. I strongly urge everyone to give this series a go, because it is definitely worth the effort!