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Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,255 Ratings  ·  1,264 Reviews
From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts: THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and th
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by DAW
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Saladin Ahmed
Feb 09, 2012 Saladin Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well, jeez, I wrote the thing. Didjya expect me to give it two stars?

Mar 09, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing

I love picking up a fantasy novel and reading something I haven't been exposed to before.

With this book, that pleasure came from the fact that the world had some distinctly Arabian worldbuilding and cosmology. It's more than merely a different flavor to the same old story. It's not like the author just mad-libed out the generic European wizards and goblins and replaced them with Fakirs and Djinn. It's a different sort of world, complete with unfamiliar cultural values and superstitions.

In term
Riku Sayuj
Dec 11, 2013 Riku Sayuj rated it liked it
Shelves: genre-fiction, r-r-rs

After promising Saladin that I’ll be reviewing the book within a week of its coming out, I stand abashed that it took me this long to get to it. Probably the reason was that in spite of all the acclaim I had heard heaped on it, I knew in my heart that ‘Throne of the Crescent Moon’ is still an out and out ‘Sword And Sorcery’ fantasy genre novel and I had made a conscious decision to stay away from genre novels. But now that I have just finished reading it, I have to admit that I am reminded of wh
This debut novel inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights” is a fantasy setting which is refreshingly in a non Anglo-French environment. The tale focuses on several different viewpoints but most notably on an old ghul hunter (one of the last of his kind in the area) named Adoulla who is unusually loving and faithful towards his capitol city but sometimes poor at expressing his feelings towards the people he cares about. He has a few close people to him who all end up appearing in his life in dif ...more
May 02, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, library
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Dhamsawatt, King of Cities, Jewel of Abassen
A thousand thousand men pass through and pass in
Packed patchwork of avenues, alleys, and walks
Such bookshops and brothels, such schools and stalls
I’ve wed all your streets, made your night air my wife
For he who tires of Dhamsawaat tires of life

This is the home of the protagonist of our story: Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, and he is the last “real” ghul hunter in the city, though there are always charlatans about wh
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Throne of the Crescent Moon is an adult fantasy set in an alternate Middle East during the golden age of the Caliphate. It richly evokes the world of Ali Baba, Sinbad, and Scheherazade. I love the way Saladin Ahmed creates his story, lovingly portraying his characters and his settings, bringing them all to vivid life. This is another very fast read, because the story moves along at a good clip. The main characters are a ghul hunter (one who searches out and destroys magically summoned demons) a ...more
Ranting Dragon
Feb 06, 2012 Ranting Dragon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: garrett

Imagine The Arabian Nights starring Iroh of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and you’ll have a sense of what Saladin Ahmed’s debut novel is like. Throne of the Crescent Moon is one of the strongest debut novels I’ve read and will likely be a serious contender in any “Best Debut” list for this year.

Throne of the Crescent Moon follows the story of Doctor Adoulla Makshlood, the last of the true ghul hunters in the great city of Dhamsawaat. On the verge of retiring
Jan 28, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

I found numerous things to like in this debut fantasy epic, and few to complain about, making it one of my top debuts of 2012, even if I only got to it in 2013. On the plus side:

- the setting: rich and original, vibrant and convincing. The source material is easily identified, from the Arabian Nights and numerous other myths and legends of the muslim culture. I have read a few other recent epics that drink from the same fountain (Dreamblood by N K Jemisin; The Demon Cycle by Peter V Brett; Psalm
May 13, 2015 Mimi rated it liked it
3 stars

A sword & sorcery fantasy set against an Arabian Nights backdrop. The story follows the paths of three unlikely characters: Adoulla Makhslood, an aging disgruntled mage and the last ghul hunter left in the city who's still hunting ghuls; Raseed bas Raseed, the mage's young pious protege who, unfortunately, has no magic of his own but has been blessed with great strength; and Zamia Badawi, a young gifted (but self-righteous) shapeshifter from a desert tribe who no longer has a home. Th
Ben Babcock
Every so often I read reviews that talk about a book or an author being “a breath of fresh air” to a genre or market, and I scoff and wonder what that means. Now I know, because that’s how I would describe Throne of the Crescent Moon. After so many fantasy novels based on a pseudo-medieval European setting, it’s just refreshing to see someone use a pseudo-Islamic setting. Moreover, Saladin Ahmed tells the story in a way that makes it feel like urban fantasy—just not urban fantasy set in the pres ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2012 Josh rated it did not like it
I cannot fathom how respected reviewers that I follow could give this anything more than two stars, let alone herald it as the years best debut release. Are you all on crack? Is the author paying you all off? Only once in my life have I ever not been able to finish a book (and that was in 2008 with Kate Elliott's Spirit Gate). Throne of the Crescent Moon has now brought that tally up to two.

The worst part is that at only a short 288 pages in length, it still took me a week to get halfway because
May 27, 2013 Evgeny rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An old ghoul-hunter, most probably last of his kind, is asked to investigate a killings of his friend's grandnephew family. Little does he know he is about to face the most dangerous enemy he ever faced, and he is definitely past his prime physically. To add to his problems, a revolution is brewing in the city. The current Khalif managed to alienate almost all people except for the wealthiest of merchants with high taxes. A self-proclaimed seemingly impossible to catch the Prince of Thieves lead ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
What fantasy readers would call "Sword and Sorcery", though with a touch of Arabian Nights. Started off very promising, but both plot and characters started wearing on me after a while. I feel it's one of those stories that could really be told in about fifty pages, and the main character was the only one I found interesting and not irritating. The rest of the gang felt as formulaic as the plot line which is a shame, though the unique setting of the book went a long way in making up for this.

Aug 25, 2014 Leticia rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I loved it, and I can only explain that being really, really personal about it.

When I was 10, I was in a theater company. At the time, I though acting was what I wanted from life and art and I loved it deeply. The only other things I did on my spare time were drawing, reading and running around with cats*. So, when our company's director said he was writing a script based on some stories from The Thousand and One Nights, stories I didn't know and all adults in the company though I should, I wen
I am going to go ahead and admit that this book did not live up to my expectations, but that is more on ignorance from me going into it. I was expecting something different, a unique setting coming from a different perspective from most fantasy.

What I got was a fairly run of the mill, though very tightly written, fantasy book that was enjoyable, but didn't rock my world or challenge my way of thinking.

The Good? For one thing, more fantasy authors need to take a page from Ahmed on the book lengt
Jun 15, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood is the last ghul hunter in Dhamsawaat. Constantly battling mystical monsters for little material award, his only assistant is the pious dervish Raseed bas Raseed. Although Adoulla is magically powerful and Raseed is prodigiously quick and strong, they nearly die fighting an unusually large group of ghuls. Luckily, a lion shifter enters the fray and saves their lives. The lion-girl Zamia (a Badawi whose entire clan was killed by ghuls) and Raseed find themselves drawn to ...more
[Name Redacted]
There's not a lot to say about this one, other than that it's worth a read. Ahmed undertakes something both bold and unique -- an Islamic fantasy novel, set in another world which closely parallels our own in the medieval period (not unlike something Guy Gavriel Kay might write), but in which an Islamic God and angels and holy scripture (still) exist. It is exactly that feature which makes it so Islamic, and yet so unusual -- it posits that there is another world (or maybe an alternate version o ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
The highest compliment I can pay Throne of the Crescent Moon is to say that it made me incredibly hungry. I know what you’re thinking, “Sarah, that is a weird compliment to pay a book,” but hear me out. Throne of the Crescent Moon was so well done, the culture was so vibrant, the world was so colorful and reminiscent of the Middle East that every time I read the book I wanted to eat tons of kebobs and cucumbers. Indeed, this is the first book I have ever complained that it was too short. That ri ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Peter rated it liked it
Ahmed has created a fascinating new fantasy setting with a rich feeling of its own history, but with enough parallels to our own world to make it easy to relate to its problems and peoples.

Throne was a really fun read. Ahmed's prose style is fluid and accessible, and his villains are truly terrifying without going over the top and becoming cartoonish. Ahmed claims he wanted to bring back the feel of the Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms novels he loved when he was younger, and in this, he has succ
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Oct 28, 2012 Cassi aka Snow White Haggard rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012
Guys, can Middle-Eastern fantasy be my new thing? I know I've only read a grand total of two or three Middle-Eastern fantasy books but I kind of love them.Throne of the Crescent Moon is a solid high fantasy. While it may not doing anything groundbreaking or different, what it does, it does well.

One of my favorite things about this book is the humor, the little teasing jabs between friends. I always like characters who can make jokes while saving the world. They're much better than the heroes who
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
3.75 out of 5

Inventive, though the climax leaves a little to be desired. This was fun, original, and best of all, set in a non-English/Western fantasy culture, for which I endlessly love it. A few minor issues, but the good outweighs the bad. The characters are great individually and together, and the struggles with religion/destiny are well-rendered and finely attuned to each character. I am eager to see where the author takes this in the sequels.
Jun 26, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it
(3.5 stars) It’s refreshing to read a fantasy story that isn’t set in good old medieval Europe, where everyone is blond and blue eyed and any exotic cast members have to be repeatedly singled out for their exoticness. Throne of the Crescent Moon takes place in a Middle Eastern setting, but Ahmed instantly makes it feel like home by walking us into a tea house with Dr. Adoulla Makhslood, who initially appears to be the main protagonist. Adoulla is, by no means, a typical hero. He is an older, lar ...more
Originally reviewed on Kirkus' SFF Blog

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat, sighed as he read the lines. His own case, it seemed, was the opposite. He often felt tired of life, but he was not quite done with Dhamsawaat. After threescore and more years on God’s great earth, Adoulla found that his beloved birth city was one of the few things he was not tired of. The poetry of Ismi Shihab was another.

The Kingdoms of the Crescent Moon face a terrible t
Jan 25, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans looking for strangely something familiar... yet totally different
Recommended to Eric by: Library
Shelves: fantasy
This book is what happens when you take a Dungeons & Dragons campaign and The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights and put them in a blender.

Its cast has the familiar feel of a D&D adventuring party. There's party leader Adoulla, the world-weary but determined ghul-hunter; his assistant Raseed bas Raseed, a fanatically devout dervish; Zamia, the wild tribeswoman that can take the shape of a lioness; aged-beyond-his-years wizard Dawoud; his alchemist wife Litaz; and the e
Mar 05, 2012 Yune rated it liked it
I was enthusiastic about acquiring this Arab-flavored sword and sorcery, then found the beginning a bit sluggish: the last ghul-hunter in the city is taking tea. Not quite the page-turning experience I was expecting.

But this ended up being an aspect that I appreciated about the book: several of the characters are nearing or have reached retirement, and their young protégés are clearly portrayed as a bit rash and naïve. And there's a romance that came to an abrupt halt when the ghul-hunting caree
Feb 20, 2012 Jacqie rated it it was amazing
4 1/2 stars. This was a quick-paced fantasy that managed to build a surprising amount of backstory for some of its characters. We have three old friends, Adoulla, Dawoud, and Litaz, who are in their sixties, living semi-retired in a great city reminiscent of Cairo. The book builds the long friendships between these three, who all have regrets and are thinking about making changes. I found these characters more interesting than the two young ones, Raseed the devout dervish and Zamia the desert tr ...more
Feb 17, 2013 Reader-ramble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I'll start out by saying that I love my twitter feed. I've managed to compile the kind of writers and readers who know how to spread the word out about quality books. This one has been sitting on my "to read" list for a while, and I'm happy I finally got to it.

Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon is about old heroes who have paid their dues, and new heroes who still have much to learn. While the threat runs along the typical save-the-world-from-evil-magic plot, the book still feels refres
A.E. Marling
Not your father's sword and sorcery:

In the stories of Conan, the mages were always the villains, with their jars filled with pickled human remains and frenetic incantations. Good and evil were as distinct as the different sides of Conan's sword. He might have had the help from a few two-dimensional babes (described exclusively by their bust), but the ol' sword and fists were responsible for most of the plot progression.

The Throne of the Crescent Moon has its evil sorcerer, but also its good ones
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Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit and raised in a working-class, Arab American enclave in Dearborn, MI.

His short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, and have appeared in Year's Best Fantasy and numerous other magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, as well as being translated into five foreign languages. He is represented by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary A
More about Saladin Ahmed...

Other Books in the Series

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms (3 books)
  • The Thousand and One (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #2)
  • Untitled (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #3)

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“One can only know as much as one has lived to know, though it is certainly possible to learn a great deal less than this.” 6 likes
“Ahhh, God's balls! The Horrible Halt!" Adoulla pronounced the Dhamsawaati term for the complete standstill of traffic with a familiar disgust.” 3 likes
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