by Alwyn Hamilton
First sentence: “They said the only folks who belonged in Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good.”
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Release date: March 8, 2016
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some pretty disturbing violence near the end of the book. It’s in the YA section (grades 6-8) of the bookstore.
The store’s Penguin children’s rep (whom I adore, and not just because she’s got an Irish accent) told me when she handed me the ARC of this book that it was Totally Brilliant and that I was going to Totally Love It. (Just imagine that in an Irish accent. She’s great.) I said okay, I’ll read it. And then it got stuck on the back burner. Things crept up, and then A stole it from me and plowed through it. And she said that it was really really good and I should totally read it. And still it was on the back burner.
(This is less a review a more of a “why didn’t I read this SOONER” post. Sorry.)
But then a day came when I was shuffling through my shelves and piles looking for something Really Good, and this finally Called to me.
And as I plowed through the first two chapters — in which our heroine, Amani Al’Hiza finds herself in a shooting contest in order to get out of her dead-end desert town and away from her lecherous uncle and demanding aunt — and was hooked. Seriously. I was reminded of Harry from The Blue Sword and of Katsa from Graceling and I was in love. I plowed through this book like I didn’t have to work or do dishes or manage four kids in the house. (Some people are calling it East Meets West — it’s set in a Middle Eastern-like country, with djinn but there’s guns — but I disagree. Sure, it’s pulling on all influences, but I really didn’t get the whole “Western” vibe. It’s a fantasy with guns instead of swords. I can go with that.) I loved the characters (yeah, so I called the love interest from the first chapter, but I did love the twists that came), I loved the complexity of the mythology Hamilton created, I loved that she didn’t give me a clean ending. (I didn’t love that it’s probably not a stand-alone, but at least it came to a conclusion.) It definitely hit all the right buttons for me.
Which leads me to say, don’t do what I did and put this one off. It really is THAT good.