Hero at the Fall | Tales from Sand and Sea

Hero at the Fall

Title: Hero at the Fall

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Series: Rebel of the Sands, #3

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Release Date: February 1st 2018


Five Stars

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“We were going to get Ahmed back. And Rahim back. And Shazad. And Delila. And all the others who had been captured. And we were going to end this.”

At the end of Traitor to the Throne Amani and her friends has been betrayed; Ahmed and Shazad were captured by the Sultan, and Iman was killed protecting the Rebel Prince. Now Amani and Jin are trying to keep the rebellion alive but the Sultan has more tricks to throw in their path. Using the spirit of one of his captured Djinn he’s created a wall of fire around Izman, trapping the remaining member of the rebellion in the city cut off from their allies outside.

Hero at the Fall seems to start with Amani and her friends at a low point. The rebellion has lost so much; they’ve been left without a leader and are struggling to work out what their plan is. Nothing in this trilogy has been easy, but it seems that point is really driven home in the opening chapters of Hero at the Fall. The story opens a little way in the future from where Traitor to the Throne ended, and it feels like every plan Amani has come up with has failed, leaving her desperate and weary.

“They were outside the city. The Sultan had sent the prisoners beyond the city and put a wall around us. We were trapped here while they were out there.”

To defeat the Sultan, to get the spirit of their rebellion back again, they need their captured friends back, and to get them back Amani and Jin need to find a way beyond the walls of the city to a place that they thought only existed in myths. But it soon turns out it’s not just the Sultan they need to face, and that the fire surrounding the city isn’t just to keep the rebellion trapped but the keep the invading forces marching on Izman out.

As the last book in what has been a fantastic trilogy I had high hopes for Hero at the Fall, and I loved it. This was definitely the darkest book of the three, but no rebellion is fought without losses even for the ‘heroes’. There was some character deaths that broke my heart but I think showing that loss, showing the darker side of the fight all the characters were facing, made the story more real. Hero of the Fall was definitely my favourite book of the trilogy, I was hooked from the first page until the last.

…The Characters

“The boy knew she was dangerous when he met her, with a gun in her hand and no care for her own life in a dusty desert town at the end of the world. She was all fire and gunpowder, and her finger was always on a trigger.”

Amani has changed so much as a character. In the very first book all she wanted was to make it to Izman, and she wanted nothing to do with Jin or his brother’s rebellion, but now in the wake of what happened at the end of Traitor to the Throne she’s taken over the role of leader. It’s clear she struggles with the weight of that responsibility on her shoulders. She questions the plans she comes up with, knowing that the lives of her friends, both free and captured, rely on her making the right moves in this fight against the Sultan.

Throughout the trilogy Amani has never really been at the heart of the rebellion, but in this book she’s forced to take on that role. Amani wants to keep her friends and loved ones safe, she’s already lost a lot and wants to make sure everyone left survives what’s coming. Amani is ready to sacrifice herself for the greater good, and it’s the decisions she makes in this book that show how far she’s come over the course of the three books.

“He wondered if a boy from the sea and a girl from the desert could ever survive together. He feared that she might burn him alive or that he might drown her. Until finally he stopped fighting it and set himself on fire for her.”

The development of Amani and Jin’s relationship hasn’t always been perfect. The two are very similar characters; at the beginning they were both out for themselves and both of them have a habit of running when things get too tough, but in this book neither of them have the luxury of fleeing. They work together in Ahmed’s absence, and Jin is there for Amani to lean on when the weight of leading the rebellion becomes too much for her.

Like Amani Jin is protective over the people he loves, and he wants to keep Amani safe especially when he learns her plan to end the power the Sultan has over Izman. However at the same time both Jin and Amani are ready to sacrifice for the rebellion, for the future Ahmed hopes to achieve for the desert, and again it’s a long way for each character to have come from who they were in the first book.

“It was in that moment that the first prince understood the goodness of his brother. That the second prince had a kinder, more selfless heart than the first prince could ever hope for. And he vowed that though he might never be as good as his brother, he would do all he could to protect him.”

Even though we don’t see much of them in this book I loved Amani’s friendship with Shazad and Jin’s relationship with Ahmed. There’s no love triangle or girl-hate in this book and it was refreshing reading a female friendship which was built on mutual love and respect, and a sibling relationship that proves you don’t have to be blood related to be family as well.

…The Setting

“But even if the desert forgot a thousand and one of our stories, it was enough that they would tell of us at all. That long after our deaths, men and women sitting around a fire would hear that once, long ago, before we were all just stories, we lived.
Ahead of us, in the garden, a fire flickered to life.
And the storyteller began.”

Throughout the trilogy one aspect which has remained a constant favourite of mine has been the world building, and again in Hero at the Fall it was incredible. We travel further across the desert than we have before, and see places that before we and the characters thought were only legend. In the previous books the characters told stories of Djinn, Heroes and Princesses whose adventures have become more legend than truth, but in this book we got to see more of the truth behind those legends; instead of seeing these figures as legends we were able to see them more as humans.

Hero at the Fall has definitely been my favourite book of the series. There was so much that happened and we got to see what each of the characters was truly capable of, which in the case of Amani created one of the best scenes I’ve read in a book so far this year. Basically if you haven’t started this trilogy start it now, and if you haven’t read Hero at the Fall yet you’re in for a treat when you do pick it up.

What did you think of Hero at the Fall? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

Tales from Sand and Sea

Title: Tales from Sand and Sea

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Series: Rebel of the Sands, #0.5

An exclusive short story collection from the world of Rebel of the Sands.

Includes …
The Girl from the Sea
The Stolen Cargo
The Tale of the Hero Attalah & Princess Hawa
The Djinn and the Runaway

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

At the launch party for Hero at the Fall I received this book which is a collection of short stories from the Rebel of the Sands world told before the events of the first book.

In Tales from Sand and Sea Alwyn Hamilton expands on the myth of the Hero Attalah and the Princess Hawa, and tells us of the lives of Jin’s and Ahmed’s mothers in the Sultan’s harem. We get to see what Jin and Ahmed were up to before returning to the desert and what led Ahmed on the path of his rebellion, and we get to see how Amani’s mother met Bahadur.

This is a good addition to the series, and it was nice reading some of the background information that was glanced past in the main books, but it isn’t necessary to read this to understand the trilogy.

9 thoughts on “Hero at the Fall | Tales from Sand and Sea

  1. That’s so cool that you went to a launch party! I had to skim a lot of this for fear of spoilers, but it’s wonderful that it was your favourite in the series πŸ˜€ I’m really glad that this whole series is worth reading, cos it’s been on my tbr for ages! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad to see that you enjoyed this book an that it is a strong ending to the series! I still have to pick this up, so I did skim somewhat, but I definitely agree with the friendship point! So many books suffer from women hating each other, so that was definitely refreshing πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to picking this up! Great review πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it was brilliant Lauren, looking back I don’t think I had any issues when it came to the story or the characters or the world building. πŸ™‚
      I hope you love it too, and yes it was refreshing to know there wasn’t going to be some kind of petty rivalry created between Amani and the other female characters, or a love triangle which I hate too!
      Thanks so much. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.