Besides Bilbo's bowl cut, this is a lovely adaptation of Tolkien's work. Faithful to the novel, full of humour and wonder. It also includes one of my...moreBesides Bilbo's bowl cut, this is a lovely adaptation of Tolkien's work. Faithful to the novel, full of humour and wonder. It also includes one of my very favourite renditions of Gandalf.(less)
Throne of the Crescent Moon is the debut novel from acclaimed short fiction author Saladin Ahmed and follows one of the larger adventures of Doctor Ad...moreThrone of the Crescent Moon is the debut novel from acclaimed short fiction author Saladin Ahmed and follows one of the larger adventures of Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat who was first introduced to readers in Ahmed’s short fiction, including the wonderful Where Virtue Lives. Throne of the Crescent Moon is a Sword & Sorcery novel planted firmly in the tradition of the works of Leiber and Howard, and throws readers in alongside a cast of damaged, but eminently likeable heroes of sometimes questionable moral character (but always, in the end, with their hearts in the right place) and serves up more action, atmosphere and memorable scenes than many novels three times its length.
Of the three main characters, the most interesting isn’t world-weary Adoulla, or mysterious Zamia, though they’re both admirable in their own right, but young, conflicted Raseed bas Raseed, a young dervish who finds that battling his inner demons to be an even bigger challenge than those that threaten with tooth and claw. A mix of brash confidence and all-too-familiar self-doubt provide the foundation for Raseed’s conflict as his ascetic religious side wars with the raging hormones that plague teenagers no matter how strictly they’ve been raised.
For all of Throne of the Crescent Moon’s excitement, however, and the density of the storytelling in its slim page count, it still feels like the prologue to a larger work, establishing the characters, the world and an overall plot conflict for a much broader story. That said, this novel stands well on its own in that it presents a full story arc with a beginning, a middle and an end, but readers will be desperate for the sequel to experience the repercussions of some monumental events in its final chapters. Presumably, given its roots in traditional S&S, Ahmed’s series will continue to move its overall plot forward through a series of similarly stand-alone novels featuring reoccurring characters, conflicts and set pieces.
There’s a wonderful soul to Throne of the Crescent Moon and, with all the skill and eloquence he showed in his short fiction, Ahmed has brought to life a wonderful cast of characters and introduced readers to a thrilling and interesting new world to explore. Despite some minor reservations about pacing, Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon is a confident debut that, alongside contemporaries like N.K. Jemisin (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms), Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death) or Howard Andrew Jones (The Desert of Souls), isn’t afraid to take Fantasy from the comfortable realms of faux-Europe and push against the staid boundaries of the genre. I expect big things of Ahmed in 2012 and look eagerly forward to his future stories in this setting, whether long-form or short. (less)