Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton – REVIEW
- 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?
“He had that smile on his face. Like we were about to get ourselves in real trouble and he wouldn’t have it any other way.”
This series was actually the reason I started my blog as I wanted an opportunity to fangirl after reading the first two books and loving them. You can imagine how eager I was for the final part of the trilogy to be released and I couldn’t wait to read it immediately. The cover is just as beautiful as the previous two (I wish they would release the same covers in hardback for my collection though!) and this book even has a map which was my one wish for the other two. The cast of characters included at the beginning was also a helpful recap for me. The action starts straight after Traitor to the Throne as the Rebellion tries to reorganise itself after the events of the last book. Amani is now head of the Rebellion and trying to forge ahead with Ahmed’s aims despite lacking confidence at times. I loved the character development of Amani across the series. From the selfish and reckless girl we met in Rebel of the Sands to the leader who is willing to sacrifice herself for the cause in Hero at the Fall.
“We contained our own stories. A thousand tiny parts of the story would due with us.”
I love the relationship between Amani and Jin because it doesn’t overshadow Amani’s arc or the events of the story. The story firmly belongs to Amani at all times. One of my favourite aspects of the books is the friendship between Amani and Shazad so I was on tenterhooks for half the book waiting to find out Shazad’s fate. The new character Zaahir was frankly terrifying as his motives are unknowable and he can’t be trusted at all. I found Leyla an interesting character as she’s the twisted product of a toxic father and court machinations. She’s incredibly unlikeable but I couldn’t help admiring her self-preservation instincts. Sam provided some essential comic relief and, like Amani, he showed believable character growth. Amani and Sam actually have very similar temperaments and I love the banter between them. The only character I disliked was Tamid who just plain annoyed me.
“And what was I? I was nobody. A girl with a gun from the end of the desert. To most people I didn’t even have a name. I was just the Blue-Eyed Bandit.”
It was evident from the start that the cost of the Rebellion would be steep and that more characters would die. I was only a quarter of the way through when the first death occurred. After that, I was just praying Amani, Jin, Ahmed and Shazad survived! I especially liked the stories interspersed throughout, turning each of the characters into legends and folktales and ensuring their legacy. No one ever truly dies if they live on as a story, always within us and around us. From the first page, I was gripped. The action was fast-paced and hurtled to the end without pause. The final battle was heartbreaking with a satisfying twist, and it was the perfect bittersweet ending to one of my favourite YA trilogies. I can’t wait to see what Alwyn writes next and I’ll be preordering as soon as it’s announced.
|About the Author
Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.