John's Reviews > Throne of the Crescent Moon

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
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Feb 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in June, 2012

One of the Best Fantasy Novels Is This Superb Debut from Saladin Ahmed

I have been looking forward to reading Saladin Ahmed’s “Throne of the Crescent Moon” since I heard him read from it at a New York Review of Science Fiction reading event back in February and trust me, I’m not disappointed, since it was well worth the wait. Ahmed’s debut novel is one of the finest works of fantasy I have read in years, and, without question, one destined to be remembered as among the most notable novels of fantasy and science fiction published this year. With ample enthusiasm, I concur with N. K. Jemisin’s observation that “Ahmed is a master storyteller in the grand epic tradition”. Drawing extensively upon his cultural and religious heritage, Ahmed has written a swashbuckling tale of adventure, mystery, horror that transcends its “Arabian Nights” setting into one worthy of recognition as a potential contender for the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Awards. “The Throne of the Crescent Moon” is replete with richly drawn characters and the spectacular city of Dhamsawaat, a city that could be a fictional clone of Baghdad, when it was the greatest city in all of Eurasia back in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries A. D.; it is a compelling saga vividly in Ahmed’s finely crafted, quite descriptive, prose. In Adoulla and Raseed, Ahmed has crafted a pair of protagonists worthy of comparison with Naomi Novik’s Laurence and Temeraire; the former, an elderly realist who reluctantly embarks on one more quest as the last great demon hunter of his city; the latter, a dashing young swordsman whose enthusiasm for sword fighting is matched only by his fervent religious zeal. Together they will join forces with Zamia, a fierce tribeswoman who gives new meaning to the word “wild”, as they confront ghouls, other demonic creatures and the devoted followers of Dhaamsawaat’s despotic ruling Khalif and the mysterious thief the Falcon Prince. My sole regret is that Ahmed has told his captivating tale in a relatively brief span of less than two hundred eighty pages; it is definitely a most auspicious start for what promises to be among the best loved trilogies of fantasy.
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