Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a brilliant, if flawed, gem worth reading in spite of its problems. Ahmed does Arabian high fantasy better than any I’ve come across, with the style and panache that envelops readers deep into the warm embrace of the author’s vividly crafted world.
“Throne of the Crescent Moon” follows the trials and tribulations of an aging adventurer-scholar, his zealous young dervish protogé, and a fiercely unrefined bedouin girl as they pursue ghuls and the sorcerous evil creating them. Ahmed deftly weaves political intrigue, class conflict, sexual tension, mystery, and adventure into a wonderous yarn which picks up speed as it unfurls, hurling the reader toward the final conflict between the protagonist and an antagonist who never quite establishes himself. It is perhaps too cruel to call the mysterious villain a cardboard cutout evil doer, but his thin presence does seem better suited to Scooby and the gang than Abdoulla Makhslood, last of the ghul hunters. In fact, it is probably because Abdullah and his friends, foils, and supporting ensemble are so well rounded that the absence of a strong antagonist is so keenly felt. Nevertheless, Saladin Ahmed gets so very many things just right that this is a book worth reading and an author worth watching.
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