Amani's spent her whole life in the dead-end desert town of Dustwalk, where girls are expected to do as they're told, keep their mouths shut and get married. Silent obedience isn't Amani's strong point and she wants out, but her escape routes are limited. Fortunately she knows how to use a gun, and a shooting contest in nearby Deadshot could offer her a ticket to freedom. As long as no-one guesses she's a girl.
But in Deadshot she's soon competing against a stranger whose eyes see too much. When Amani hides him from his enemies she finds herself in the kind of trouble even her smart mouth and instinct for hitting a target can't help her escape. On the run from two armies and far away from all she's ever known, Amani learns that the desert heat that burns inside her has the power to save her or to destroy everything. Can she trust herself? Can she trust the mysterious Jin? As a rebellion gathers around her she must use all her courage and finally face the truth about who she really is.
This original Wild West/Arabian Nights mash up is a wildly readable novel. It's a hugely entertaining tale of guts, gals, guns and ghouls — but the thrills don't detract from the serious feminist issues the author is examining. Respect to author Alwyn Hamilton for this, her first book. I can't wait for the sequel.