by Alwyn Hamilton
This has the flavor of a mock-Arabic, Arabian Nights sort of story, including mention of genii and other mythological creatures that sound like they should be from that culture, but are actually original mythology invented by the author. The main character, a young person seeking to leave a difficult living situation where law and family tradition work against the rights of young people, puts everything at risk to use a skill for shooting to gain enough money to leave a small desert town and survive for a while longer than mere savings would allow.
Of course things never work out as planned in a good tale and unlikely alliances lead to adventure and plenty of action. It definitely held my attention! Enough that I was requesting the sequel before I had got halfway through the first book.
I'm marking this author as one to watch. She definitely has the skill of spinning a good story despite a few minor plot holes. I was actually surprised to see it categorized as YA and assume it's only because the protagonist is young. The story has enough intricacies to appeal to adults and an interesting twist to add even more magic to the tale.
Through the action of the story, the exotic atmosphere of desert towns and caravans where supernatural creatures exist becomes easy to believe and immerse oneself into, and learning who to trust and who is on which side at any moment can be unpredictable.
This was one of those wonderful stories that had me putting off real life responsibilities in the final chapters because I had to keep reading. I don't know how long the series is going to be, but I can see myself following this one, though I don't keep up with many series. Easy five star read and a wonderful aventure.