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Blog Tour: Rebel Of The Sands

Author Alwyn Hamilton stops by to answer the age-old question: “Would you rather … ?”

Blog Tour: Rebel Of The Sands

Welcome to the Rebel of the Sands Blog Tour!

Alwyn Hamilton’s debut novel, which mixes Arabian Nights and Wild West themes, tells the story of Amani Al’Hiza, a young woman from a tiny town who finds herself in the midst of a revolution when all she wanted to do was escape. (You can read my review of the book here—and, spoiler alert, I really enjoyed it.)


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.


As part of the novel’s blog tour, Alwyn stopped by FYA to tell us more about herself in a game of “Would you rather …”? Her answers give insight into her personality and prove that she knows her way around the YA (and FYA) world.

Would you rather ...

... be drafted into The Hunger Games (with a 100% chance to win) or chosen for the Triwizard Tournament?

Triwizard Tournament! I’d get to have magic and, barring a Cedric Diggory incident, wouldn’t have to live the rest of my life with PTSD!

… be one of the 100 or be a Grounder?

One of the 100. First, if I had been in space jail this would imply I was much more badass than I actually am. Second, they got to bring enough of their technology to earth that I’d happily take that over grounder earth skills and ruthlessness.

… eat only Bertie Botts Beans or squirrel for the rest of your life?

Bertie Botts. I have played Bertie Botts “Is this one vomit or popcorn” Russian roulette with FYA book club members actually. [Alwyn is a member of London FYA!] But I feel like someone could figure out how to get all my necessary nutrients into these and really the chances of stumbling on vomit flavoured ones is low. Only happened to me once!

… look for Glendower (The Raven Cycle) or Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns)?

I, um, have yet to read The Raven Boys because, for the totally real, even though it sounds fake, reason that I had to miss that book club to help with a wine auction in my hometown. So, by default, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Plus, we did a lot of long car rides when I was a kid, I could handle the final drive happily.

… fall in love with a person or a city?

A person. Any city is only as good as the people you get to experience it with.

… be a contestant in a beauty pageant or perform in a high school talent show?

High school talent show. I would turn into April Ludgate in Parks & Rec if you let me near a Beauty Pageant.

… have Bellamy Blake fall in love with you or fall in love with Clarke Griffin?

I mean this is assuming he’s not already in love with Clarke Griffin. Because I would argue that he totally is and that the only reason my little shipping heart has not been given its desires is that Clarke keeps making poor decisions and has yet to realize the person who is truly deserving of her love and— *hem* … I think I ship these two too hard to make any other choice than have Bellamy and Clarke fall for each other. Plus I’m genuinely not sure I’d know what to do with all those abs if Bellamy fell for me.

… go to school with Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie or the Sweet Valley High gang?

Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie. As much as I fantasize about running away to California, I think Jessica and Marcus would be more interesting to talk to. Plus, I just couldn’t keep up with the sheer number of dances, formals and various clambakes thrown at SVH.

… be Ella (from Ella Enchanted) or Amani (from Rebel of the Sands)?

Amani! I am adverse to my core to being bossed around and doing anything that I don’t chose to do, so Ella’s fairy gift is literally my nightmare. No, wait, Ella, because she winds up with Char and is by far the most charming YA Heroine I know. No … wait, Amani because I also hate cleaning.

… have a unicorn or a pegasus for a pet?

Pegasus. If flying is an option, always pick flying!

… meet a djinni or be a djinni?

Meet a Djinni. I wouldn’t want immortal life. Plus I have read enough folktales so that if I did meet a Djinni I wouldn’t wish for anything stupid.

… have a job as a YA writer or roam the seas as a pirate (the fantastical kind, not the real kind)?

As much as my childhood fantasy was to be a pirate, I think seasickness would get to me eventually. So I’ll stick with YA writer and maybe write about pirates one day, without having to wear a seasickness bracelet which would probably class with my eyepatch anyway.

… have a job as only a YA writer or only an art historian?

I actually just quit my art job so, having had to this ‘would you rather’ dilemma IRL, I’ve gone with a job only as a YA writer.

… live in the UK, France, Canada, or somewhere else?

If California or Hawaii would have me I would totally move there. I’m still trying to figure out what the rules are for me and whether moving to the U.S would force me to enter into a sham relationship with Ryan Reynolds which eventually turns to love after I dance with Betty White around a firepit in Alaska … The Proposal is an immigration documentary right?

… become famous while alive for something scandalous or become posthumously famous for not very good art?

I’ll take the Scandal! I’m fascinated by Scandals. Especially the good old fashioned classic heiresses kind. I will tell anyone who will listen about Tessa Kennedy (Cary Elwes’s mother), who eloped at the age of 18 with a painter to the Cuban estate of a Mobster, then fled Castro’s revolution on a raft. Who wouldn’t want to be known for that? If my scandal could be a modern version of Claudette Colbert’s Jumping off a yacht to elope in “It happened one night” I would be thrilled! Plus I think I could Olivia Pope that shiz and spin the scandal to my advantage.

… travel forward in time or travel backward?

Backwards. I don’t want to spoil myself for the future, I have enough trouble living in the now as is! But I would happily hang out with dearly departed historical figures, and maybe spring Charlotte Corday from jail before her execution and bring poor Prince Albert some modern medicine.

… discover that a famous art piece is a fake or discover an unknown piece by a famous artist?

*admin side of my brain explodes at the nightmare of proving either case definitively* OK, I’m going to go with an unknown piece. Because I’d like to be known for adding to the canon of Academic Art History rather than detracting from it and that’s the sort of news that would make any owner thrilled rather than devastated.

… get paid to read, but never write, or get paid to write, but never read?

I would really struggle to do either one without the other but I’ll have to go with get paid to write but never read. Reading and taking all those words in with nowhere to turn the words back out onto a page would eventually drive me totally bonkers.

… be a contestant in The Great British Bake-Off or eat all of what the contestants make?

Bake off is love! But I gotta go with eat! My biggest reason for initially holding out from watching that show (my now obsession) was that I wouldn’t be able to taste the food. Plus, I bake to de-stress, I wouldn’t want to start associating what is essentially my yoga with high pressure, time limited, heart-rate elevating macaroon making.


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

You can connect with Alwyn via her website, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, or Tumblr.


Monday, March 7: Fiction Fare
Tuesday, March 8: What Sarah Read
Wednesday, March 9: My Friends Are Fiction
Thursday, March 10: Once Upon a Twilight
Friday, March 11: Love is Not a Triangle
Monday, March 14: The Book Addict’s Guide
Tuesday, March 15: Forever Young Adult (You are here!)
Wednesday, March 16: Alexa Loves Books
Thursday, March 17: The Irish Banana
Friday, March 18: Mundie Moms
Monday, March 21: Two Chicks on Books
Tuesday, March 22: The Eater of Books
Wednesday, March 23: It Starts at Midnight
Thursday, March 24: Book Briefs
Friday, March 25: IceyBooks


Rebel of the Sands is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.