Hero at the Fall: Rebel of the Sands, Book 3

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Hero at the Fall: Rebel of the Sands, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Exciting fantasy finale has lots of action, some sex.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

It's hard to choose between doing what you want and what you know you should. Sometimes sacrificing what you want is incredibly painful. History doesn't come close to accurately telling what it's like to live through important events, but if you take action and try to bring about change, your name will live on through generations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Amani, 17, assumes leadership of the rebellion, faces many tough decisions, does her best to inspire confidence in others. She wisely relies on help, suggestions from others; learns to do what she must for the greater good, instead of what she wants for herself. It's very painful, difficult, but ultimately she's rewarded. She deeply mourns those lost in the fight but knows that making big changes involves big sacrifices. Rebellion is gender balanced, with lots of women fighting and in leadership roles. Brief mention that a male military leader might not want to take orders from a woman, but he's actually fine with it.


Mostly fantasy violence without gore but with blood mentioned and pain described. Fantasy creatures, automatons kill with magical abilities. Large-scale battles with magical elements and fantasy creatures. Real-world violence involves swords, knives, guns, punching, and kicking. Mention that invaders rape and kill. Hostages executed by public hanging. Amani tastes blood during a hard, intense kiss. Taste of blood and ash mentioned when people are burned by automatons.


One instance of sex clearly implied but with no body parts mentioned or any specifics beyond kissing, caressing, undressing, and mentioning bare skin. A few kisses and light making out. Mention of tasting blood during one intense, mutually desired kiss. Vague sexual innuendo about belonging to someone. One same-sex kiss on the cheek described as sisterly to pass on a magical endowment. A "whorehouse" mentioned. Insults about being thrown out of a man's bed.


"Hell," "bitch," and occasional verbal hostility.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few settings in bars or taverns. Amani and Jin drink liquor a couple of times, but not to excess. A few mentions of wine with meals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hero at the Fall is the final installment in the Rebel of the Sands fantasy trilogy. Reading the first two books isn't strictly necessary to follow the story, but it'll deepen understanding of the characters and their journeys. Fantasy violence involves magical creatures such as shape-shifters, genies, and automatons with magical abilities. There are some large-scale battles and some individual fighting with both magic and real-world weapons, including swords, knives, and guns. Sex is clearly implied once, without mentioning specifics beyond kissing, caressing, and bare skin. Otherwise there are a few kisses (one is intense and mentions tasting blood) and some light making out. Strong language is rare and includes "hell," "bitch," and some verbal hostility. A couple of bars and taverns are settings, but there's no excessive use of alcohol.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypickygran February 18, 2019
Teen, 15 years old Written byegran42 January 5, 2020

Amazing end to an amazing series

There are so many good things about this book where do I start.
So basically,
The beginning: incredible
The middle: incredible
The end: incredible

I've... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HERO AT THE FALL: REBEL OF THE SANDS, BOOK 3, Amani's now in full command of the rebellion. But it's a rebellion in tatters, with few fighters remaining and Prince Ahmed, the actual rebel leader, being held prisoner in an unknown location. Meanwhile, the Sultan tightens his iron grip on the land and his atrocities continue. To find Ahmed and take down the Sultan once and for all, Amani will travel the length and breadth of the land, make a deal with a djinni, meet her father, free the Sin Maker, face down her past, and, oh yeah, just happen to grow up at the same time.

Is it any good?

Author Alwyn Hamilton really comes into her own in this exciting finale to her Rebel of the Sands trilogy. She seamlessly blends catching the reader up on past events with almost nonstop action that keeps the pages turning. Keeping track of Hero at the Fall's large cast of characters is easier than in the second book, thanks to an overall improved structure to the story and a handy character guide in the front.

Teens who are fantasy fans will relate to Amani as she comes to terms with her past, her magical abilities, and even her mortality. They'll also enjoy the vivid fantasy world's exotic, Arabian Nights vibe that's rich with its own folklore and that also cleverly illustrates how real people and events become part of folklore, too. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Hero at the Fall. How much is too much? Is reading a violent story different from seeing it on TV, or in movies or video games? How?

  • Did you read the first two books in the series? How does this one compare? Is it a satisfying ending to a series? Why or why not?

  • Why are so many fantasy stories told over multiple books, especially trilogies? What are some of your favorite fantasy series? What do you like about them?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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