Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
Welcome to a brand new fantasy world where you get to learn about everything: all the stories, all the fables, all the little secrets and cultural aspects… whether you want to or not. While I enjoyed hearing about some of these stories, the way they were presented felt a lot like an info-dump. They weren’t magical, just a nuisance and information-heavy. It’s hard to remember everything when it’s all dropped on you at once and it had a tendency to slow down the pace of the story.
I really loved the way this world was designed. I generally don’t like magic too much, but this magic had rules and limitations, and it was very well implemented into the non-magical world. There was an explanation and the required realism for me to believe the plot. This is why the plot worked so well.
While reading, there were quite a few times where I was confused about what was happening. Not particularly in the plot, but in the scene. The description wasn’t clear enough for me to know what was going on and that has a tendency to take me out of a book because I don’t know how the characters got from point A to point B in a scene. Quite disappointing.
One thing I quite enjoyed about this book was how it didn’t shy away from a realistic topic that still exists in the world today (some places more heavily than others): equality for women. The society in which the main character lives is male-dominant. Men own women. They can do whatever they want to them and no one can say anything against it, and this is something our MC fights consistently throughout the story. I liked this. It added a very frustrating, yet realistic quality.