Amani has had enough of Dustwalk, a tiny place in the middle of the desert which has nothing to offer to her. She wants adventures. And a better life in the capital, away from the lousy, boring and unsatisfying nothing of her birth place.
Not fitting in, she decides to take fate into her own hands and flee. But she needs money so she uses the one skill she has to get as much as possible to be on her way. But the sharp shooting contest does not go as planned and instead of more, she returns with less then she came with. When all hell breaks loose the next day though, she has no other choice and flees with the boy that is responsible for all this mess.
On her way through the desert, secrets are revealed, plans change and the girl and the boy start to fall in love.
This book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was not prepared for this but I absolutely loved this book. I loved the story, the setting, the characters, the writing, just all of it.
The world is so different from anything I read before, it has the typical western elements of shooting in the desert cities and long trains connecting the places, combined with an overall middle eastern setting and some magic. It was fantastic to read out of the comfort zone and the author was able to make me get totally lost in the world. I devoured this story within one day, I just did not want to leave this world. Nevertheless, I think the places would have benefitted from more descriptions and world building. I hope there is more of that in the sequel. The same does for the magical beings and the magic system. I feel that sometimes it is a little underdeveloped and could have needed some more explaining.
Leaving that aside, the characters are a major reason why this book is so enjoyable for me. I think the main character Amani is so well developed and has so many facets to her, it’s a pleasure to read about her. She is strong, determined and brave and she learned her skill to shoot over many, many years which makes it so much more realistic. This goes for all of the characters, they don’t just wake up and are masters in what they do but they have to learn and grow into it.
The trait I adore the most about Amani though is her sassiness and her retorts. And this is even more developed in the relationship with Jin, although he is able to silence her from time to time. Jin is remaining mysterious throughout the book even though more and more is revealed over time.
The relationship between Jin and Amani is so refreshing, not only because there is no love triangle. It is a relationship that is growing over time and they don’t fall in love because the other person is beautiful and gorgeous and nothing they ever laid eyes onto. In fact, I cannot think of a place where Amani’s features are described to a great extent other than her eyes. There are no ‘I looked into her eyes and melted away’ moments and I am so grateful for that.
Apart from the main protagonist, the side characters are also very well rounded and they all have a purpose and reason to be in the story.
All in all, I personally could enjoy this book immensely although it is obviously not perfect in every regard. The plot was predictable to a point but there were enough occasions where I was genuinely surprised by what happened.
I can’t wait to dive into the world again and see what happens next. I hope for equal greatness.