Armani Al’Hiza is desperate to escape Dustwalk, the desert mining town which is her home. She dreams of the big city, inspired by the tales her mother told. A shooting competition seems to be the answer – but when it is raided by Imperial Troops, Armani finds herself on the run with the mysterious Jin. Will she achieve her dream?
There is nothing unconventional about this novel or the beginning of the hero’s journey. But to dismiss it would do it a disservice . The first of a trilogy, it is a lively adventure, full of jeopardy and set against an exotic background in which the Arabian Nights meet the Wild West. There are Djinni, there are wild horses born of the sands, there are guns and gun fights and trains. There are also strong characters to attract younger teenage readers; Armani, – independent, strong willed – even selfish, Jin – enigmatic, good looking and Noorsham, half Djinn, half mortal who has the power to destroy the desert. There are choices to be made, consequences to suffer, friendships to forge, betrayals to regret. Romance is hinted at, but action is paramount and the narrative drives on to set the scene for the next instalment.
Attractively packaged by the publisher, this is an adventure for those who like to be taken to other worlds, to experience life on a big screen (Pirates of the Caribbean? Star Wars?). Armani tells her own story, allowing the prose to take on an attractive conversational flavour which draws the reader in. This is a book to entertain – and I am looking forward to finding out what happens next.