Amani is trying to get out of her awful little town when she runs into Jin. Jin helps her get away from Commander Naguib and his Gallan soldiers. Amani tricks Jin and takes off, as she’s trying to get to her aunt in the city, who she has never met. Jin finds her again, and helps her get away from Naguib again. He agrees to help her find her aunt. En route, they join a caravan and cross the desert. They find a town that’s been completely destroyed. In the desert, Jin is injured, and Amani gets him to safety. She runs into the group of rebels that Jin is a part of, which includes Jin’s brother, Prince Ahmed. Amani discovers that she’s a Demdji. She joins the rebels, and they go off to destroy the weapon that’s burning the towns. They figure out that Noorsham is the weapon, and he’s probably Amani’s brother. Amani discovers her Demdji powers – she can control the sand. There’s a huge final battle, and Naguib is burnt to death and Noorsham gets away.
what went down
- The book opens with Amani at a saloon, trying to win money to get out of Dustwalk forever by shooting bottles. She meets Jin here, except she doesn’t know who he is at this point. Amani is doing really well until Jin warns her to forfeit the competition otherwise she’ll be in trouble with various people involved with the saloon.
- Amani and Jin are asked to shoot at a young lad but instead they shoot at each other. They cause a scene and have to run. Amani returns to Dustwalk.
- The next morning, Amani opens up her aunt and uncle’s shop. She hears that the saloon burnt down the night before. Jin shows up, and he is being chased by the Sultan’s men. Amani hides him. Naguib comes looking for Jin, along with Noorsham, who will be important later.
- The alarm bells ring (literally) and Amani goes and captures a Buraqi, a mythological horse that forms from the sand.
- Fazim finds Amani, and suggests they get married, even though he’s betrothed to her cousin, Shira. Amani is like nah mate, and then in an incredible amount of bad luck, is turned into Naguib, the army leader guy. Bloody hell, Fazim.
- Naguib shoots Amani’s best friend, Tamid, right after Tamid suggests that they get married. Gurl. Then Jin rides up on the Buraqi and saves Amani from Naguib. Brilliant stuff. Jin and Amani literally ride off into the sunset together, but since this is only the first thirty pages, you can imagine how much of a happy ending it is not.
- Jin and Amani arrive in Sazi, and Amani drugs Jin and steals his compass. It’s just rude, really. Amani escapes on the Buraqi.
- Amani boards a train at Juniper City. She has sold the Buraqi, and was pretty much conned into buying a first class ticket. Everything is looking great as she travels towards Izman, where her aunt lives, until she comes across her cousin, Shira, on the train. Oh dear.
- It turns out Shira has struck a deal with Naguib, and she starts screaming for help as she finds Amani hiding out in first class. The Sultan’s soldiers come running and Amani runs off… right into Jin in an incredibly shippy moment.
- Jin and Amani run off up the train, get into an interesting situation which leads to KISSING (!!!!), and then jump off the train.
- They make their way to Massil, where they join a caravan that’s crossing The Sand Sea. They’re meant to defend the caravan but we’ll see how well that goes.
- The caravan reaches Dassama, which has been burnt down by whatever weapon the Gallan army has acquired.
- When they reach Fahali, they find that Noorsham has been imprisoned, and a djinn girl is killed.
- Amani causes a little chaos with the Buraqi.
- The caravan leaves Fahali and is attacked en route. Amani shoots the Nightmares and manages to get them but Jin is injured.
- Caravan discovers that Amani is a girl, not a boy. Suddenly, they’re not very impressed.
- Amani follows the compass with an injured Jin in tow, which leads her to Rebel Prince Ahmed. She’s almost attacked by a Skinwalker before she gets there, but then the flawless Shazad saves her and Jin. I ship it.
- Turns out that Ahmed and Jin are brothers, making Jin a prince. Awkward.
- Amani and Jin don’t talk for a bit, which is understandable. Amani and Shazad become OTP and I decide that they should end up together in the end. Ahmed/Amani is also a ship I can’t help but ship. I’m atrocious, I know.
- Amani learns that Ahmed and Jin’s mothers were friends and they got them out of the Sultan’s palace and to safety. Ahmed’s mother was burnt to death for giving birth to a Demdji – Delila.
- Demdji and Djinn can’t lie, FYI.
- Amani discovers that she is a Demdji; her eyes are her tell. She spends forever trying to figure out her power and it seems a bit pointless because she might not have a power.
- Shazad is the Sultan’s general’s daughter. She’s a badass.
- The rebels decide to go to Shihabian to dispose of this awful weapon that the Gallan soldiers have. They need to intercept it on the train.
- The rebels trek through the desert and intercept the train. Amani discovers that Noorsham is the weapon. They’re quite possibly (99%) related since they have the same eye colour. Noorsham has the ability to blow shit up to astronomical levels. He’s the one that destroyed the town of Dassama.
- Bahi is killed by Noorsham.
- Amani is taken to a different train carriage and talks to Noorsham. She distracts him while the others escape. Noorsham reveals that he and the Sultan are after the Gallan, not necessarily the rebels. That’s what Noorsham, as the weapon, is to be used for.
- Amani and the others jump from the train and she nearly dies, but she discovers her powers so it’s all good! Amani can control the sands which ties in nicely with the name of the book.
how did it end?
Amani follows Noorsham and Naguib to Fahali. The rebels join her because they love her. Amani is planning on shooting Noorsham but it’s probably going to be more difficult than that. Noorsham and Amani get into a fight. Ahmed arrives (<3). Noorsham starts burning soldiers and then he burns Naguib. The fighting continues and Noorsham gets away. But most importantly, Ahmed promises to bring the war to his father’s doorstep if he attacks his people.