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If At First You Don’t Succeed

The stakes are higher than ever in Alwyn Hamilton’s Hero at the Fall.

If At First You Don’t Succeed

BOOK REPORT for Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands #3) by Alwyn Hamilton

Cover Story: Fine, I Guess
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Middle Western
Bonus Factor: Mythology
Anti-Bonus Factor: TEABS
Relationship Status: Stuff of Legend

Danger, Will Robinson! Hero at the Fall is the third book in the Rebel of the Sands series. If you have not read the other books—Rebel of the Sands and Traitor to the Throne—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Fine, I Guess

I still like the UK versions better.

The Deal:

With war comes loss—and Amani and her fellow rebels are reeling from multiple kinds, from deaths to people being captured to supposed friends turning traitors. But they haven’t given up on their end goal: to depose the Sultan, put Ahmed in power, and free Miraji from the influence of foreign powers. Leyla’s uncanny inventions are making it hard, and their research into a way to free the trapped Djinn power isn’t going too well, but they’re nothing if not resilient when their backs are against the wall.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

Amani spends a fair share of Hero at the Fall wondering why “fate” has put her in a position of power. She’s not comfortable with making the hard decisions, and would much rather serve than lead. Unfortunately for her, she’s good at both; the fact that she doesn’t want to be a leader actually makes her that much more compelling of one. She knows her limits, and although she tends to keep things close to the vest when she might be better off looping her close friends in, she pretty much always makes the right decision in the end.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Being a part of the rebellion—which often leads to being in hiding and/or on the run—doesn’t allow much room for alone time. Amani and Jin are MFEO, however, and Hamilton, thankfully, made the time for a scene that set my shipper heart glowing.

Talky Talk: Middle Western

The rebellion’s quest takes them back to Amani’s home area, and reminded me of one of the things I like best about these books: the mix of “western” (i.e., cowboys and gunslingers) motifs with “eastern” ideas (i.e., sultanates and Djinn). There isn’t as much of the western aspect as there was in Rebel of the Sands, but even them being in the same area had a different vibe than when they gang’s in the bigger cities.

As usual, Hamilton’s characters are well-crafted and nicely complicated. I also appreciate that Hamilton also doesn’t pull punches when it comes to—semi-spoiler?—killing people off when necessary; the deaths make an impact that feels true to the story and never like stunts. I don’t much like that anyone has to die for the cause, but I get it.

Bonus Factor: Mythology

The world that Hamilton crafted for the Rebel of the Sands trilogy is rich and detailed. I particularly enjoy the effort she put into the history of Miraji, and the magic that makes it so unique. There were a few new religious stories/historical myths in Hero at the Fall, and they made me long for a book of stories from the world (à la Leigh Bardugo’s Language of Thorns).

I also want to know more about the Albish, the people of the neighboring, equally-magical-but-in-a-different-way, kingdom. There are more stories to tell!

Anti-Bonus Factor: TEABS

Since first meeting Amani and crew in the dead-end town of Dustwalk in Rebel of the Sands, I knew that Big Things were in store. It’s been an amazing ride, and I’m really sad that the series has come to an end, but I’m totally and happily satisfied with the conclusion. TEABS is such a confusing set of feels!

Relationship Status: Stuff of Legend

Although we’re at the end, Book, I know that our relationship will stand the test of time, like all the myths of Djinn and Demdji that pepper Miraji’s historical records. They might not get every detail right, but our love will shine through every version.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Viking Books for Young Readers, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Hero at the Fall is available now.

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This review is part of the Hero at the Fall Blog Tour!

THE OFFICIAL WORD

The breathless finale to the New York Times bestselling Rebel of the Sands series will have you on the edge of your seat until the dust from the final battle clears!

When gunslinging Amani Al'Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she'd join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn't have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn't exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and lived between Canada, France, and Italy until the was three, when her family settled in the small French town of Beaune. She studied History of Art at King's College, Cambridge, graduated in 2009, and lives in London.

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.
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