My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I seriously loved this book.
What may surprise you, is that I loved it from beginning to end.
I’d read a lot of other reviews to see what others thought of this book before I’d started it, and found them to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. The biggest complaint (of the reviews I’d read) was that people thought this to be “super boring”.
So, what made it different for me? Let me tell you.
1. Desert shooting competition.
We start the book off in a bar called the Dusty Mouth (fitting, for a bar in the middle of the desert), and with our MC Amani. Amani is a girl, but this is a place where females do not have the same freedoms as their male counterparts, so she’s disguised as a boy, in an attempt to enter a shooting competition where she’s hoping to win enough money to hightail it out of the town of Deadshot.
•Okay, so it seems standard enough; girl hates her situation, wants to leave.
•She has the good luck of being a skilled sharpshooter, so the fact that she’s a talented MC probably doesn’t escape notice.
But when you read about her life, and her current predicaments (and let me tell, she doesn’t have the best of options), it’s hard for me to label her as a common MC, and to see exactly why she wants to get out of town. Obviously she’ll take what she’s good at and enter a completion that she has a better chance of winning.
Thus, we are almost immediately thrust into the story, and it’s pretty much right away that we’re learning what kind of world Amani lives in, and the ways of the people of this world. How is that not exciting?
2. Amani is badass.
•She lost both of her parents early on, one death leading to the other as a result, and that’s made her have to live with a strength that she must maintain even when others are slow to forget the circumstances surrounding the deaths. She’s a bit ostracized because of the aforementioned things, and because of her unnatural blue eyes. There’s something “other” about her, and this of course leads to talk.
•The family that had taken her in, did so involuntarily. Her aunt was her mother’s sister, but you’d never think so by the way she treats her niece, and the way she encourages her family to do as well. The aunt is cruel, and obviously despises her sister’s child. It’s no wonder Amani would want to get away from such people.
3. Foreigner Jin is hot.
•Obviously I’m operating on the somewhat general description Hamilton gave us of him, but I liked it, and have decided that he must be hot.
•He wants to protect Amani, but not at the expense of lessening her because she’s female. There were plenty of times when he could have done so, but he didn’t try to cheapen his support of her on account of the whole female thing, instead, he realized that she was better than him at times when it really counted.
4. Djinn, Skinwalkers, Ghouls, and Nightmares
•This book is the first centered in a world where such things exist, and were obviously in a sort of introductory phase, because we get to learn a bit about them (some more so than others) and their importance when attempting to survive in a desert full of scary creatures.
In wrapping this all up, I wanted to address the whole “insta-love” thing between Jin and Amani. I didn’t feel like it was quite as instantaneous as people may proclaim. The attraction doesn’t smack you in the face, and you don’t quite feel it until Amani herself initiates the first real encounter. This does lead to Amani thinking of him more often, but she does happen to be a young woman who’s never experienced romance herself, so it’s hard to forget the first person you have feelings for. I’ll conclude this bit by saying that I really liked the progression of Amani and Jin’s attraction to each other, and look forward to seeing their further development in the next book to come.
In overall conclusion, I loved the constant action of this book and the strength of our MC. I also am interesting in seeing where this goes in regards to the supernatural elements of this book, cause we only had a bit of a taste in this first one and these types of things tend to be my favorite parts when reading. Obviously I recommend this book.