Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall
(Rebel of the Sands #3)
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Hardcover, 463 pages, Viking
Genres: YA, Fantasy

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.

My Review

Alwyn Hamilton has built such a unique and interesting world. Her characters are complex. Her magic system is fantastic. And her settings are phenomenal. However, despite enjoying Hero at the Fall overall, I have to say that I was left a bit disappointed after having recently read the first two books in the trilogy.

I read a review before I picked up Hero that talked about the pacing of this story, and how the reviewer wasn’t even sure if the climax had happened. I agree 100% with that reviewer. The pacing of this book was nonexistent. Instead of one cohesive novel that had a clear goal, this book felt more like a bunch of short story adventures stacked on top of each other until the characters eventually decided to go back and fight the bad guy. There were weird time jumps and a lot of convenient additions to an already established, complex world.

While I adore the original world the author created, I think she was trying to throw too much into the last book, almost like she had written herself in a corner in book two. Perhaps splitting the last book into two—to have a total of four books in the series—would have been a better idea…?

Something else that got to me was Amani and the lack of other characters. Amani kept taking stupid risks and not telling any of her friends what her plans were. It’s war time and she’s off by herself doing god-knows-what. As for my lack-of-other-characters comment, I don’t mean that there weren’t other characters in the story, I just felt like they didn’t play any significant roles in this one. I love Jin, but he’s barely in this book. He probably has less than 20 lines in this entire thing! I missed Amani and Jin’s dynamic from Rebel of the Sands. I also missed Shazad and Ahmed. I mean, Ahmed is supposed to be the next sultan if the rebels win the war, but we hardly get anything from him! It was just all about Amani, all the time. *cries* I miss Jin!

I do have to say that I still enjoyed the book. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t up to par with book one or even book two. It read more like a middle-book-syndrome finale. Oh, and the showdown towards the end was so rushed and mediocre, at best. The battle fell flat and the epilogue was so-so. I wanted epicness from the author, but I didn’t get it.

All in all, definitely read this to conclude the series, but don’t expect the awesomeness that was Rebel of the Sands.

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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