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

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  8,837 Ratings  ·  1,440 Reviews
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 the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn ...more
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by DAW
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Rating details
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Saladin Ahmed
Feb 09, 2012 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 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
Feb 09, 2012 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
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1) - Nevisande : Saladin Ahmed - ISBN : 756407117 - ISBN13 : 9780756407117 - Dar 274 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2012
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
Rick Riordan
Nov 07, 2013 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
Jan 31, 2012 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 06, 2012 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2013 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
Jan 12, 2013 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
[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
Apr 02, 2012 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
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.

May 30, 2013 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
Aug 12, 2012 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
Mar 14, 2012 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
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
Dec 21, 2012 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
Jun 14, 2012 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
This was just really bland and tropey and boring. I can't even write a fun ranty review about it because it wasn't bad, per se, just overdone. I really appreciated the Middle-East-inspired setting though. Always nice to see fantasy that isn't overwhelmingly white.
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

“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 who pre
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Jun 22, 2012 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
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I'm kind of surprised this traditional fantasy novel was shortlisted for the Hugo, not because it isn't good, but because it is traditional fantasy. That being said, the flow of the novel was top rate and a quick read, truly giving us a feel of the Arabian Nights universe while focusing mostly on great action, great characterization, and a solid plot. As a piece of writing, it is better than most fantasy I've ever read, but it might not stay in my mind because it didn't challenge me. It might ch ...more
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.
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 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Throne of the Crescent Moon is rollicking good fun. Ahmed has a very visual style, and I could really see this as a movie. In fact, I envy the producer who jumps on this; if properly handled, it could be a box-office smash.)

I should preface the rest of my comments with the admission that I am not an avid reader of this genre. However, I am familiar enough about speculative fiction to know that wooden characters and stilted dialogue are unfortunately all-too-common attributes of such types of ta
Nov 09, 2012 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
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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.” 10 likes
“When one faces two ghuls, waste no time wishing for fewer.” 5 likes
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