Throne of the Crescent Moon / Saladin Ahmed.
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, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is 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 the truth behind these killings:Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time--and struggle against their own misgivings--to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin. - Amazon.com.
Have you ever read a book and wanted it to be better than it was? No, not just in a “I’m spending my precious time on this” way but for external reasons as well? I’ve spent six months reading The Throne of the Crescent Moon. It is true I don’t get a lot of time to read but I also found this book easy to put down and interrupt with … well, most things. Now, I must admit my bias. I have a deep affection for mythic Arabian settings so this book appealed to me. I was also glad to have a book that wasn’t marketed as part of a trilogy or longer series. Additionally, this book was on several best of the year lists for 2012 so my hopes were high. Icarus found out what happens when things fly too high.The failings of Throne of the Crescent Moon are damning and easily enumerated. One, the characters are flat - they do not grow or change or surprise you. The dervish's growth is a farce - you know what will happen to him in vague strokes within the first few pages of the book and by the time the bedouin girl is introduced you can guess the exact ending (and you will be right). Two, the plot is thin; the twists have nothing to surprise you much less go “wow I would have never thought of that.” And it’s third sin is that it isn't a world, The Throne of the Crescent Moon is really a great Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting and if the author hasn’t played plenty of D&D in his life I would be shocked. I won’t list the details here but players of D&D will recognize the subtle conventions he obeys and the structures he fits things into. That is not a sin in and of itself - The Gentleman Bastard books show how you can take a gaming campaign and tell compelling stories in it. But, when you supply that kind of structure you are telling stories as you do in a game and the writer takes the place of the Dungeon Master. It’s a dangerous gamble because not only does the writer get to stack the deck but there aren’t really any players to make choices. To make the story that comes out of it compelling the writer has to be gifted enough to create that illusion. And that is where this failed. The characters are likeable to but too flat with no surprises and as a reader you never feel so invested that you cheer for them or feel as if their failures harm you. The structure is that of a classic adventure and that’s not a great thing for a novel. The threat is massive but fits into too small a story’s space. The book is too small. The book I was thrilled to see as a stand alone novel was resolved in half the space it should have been. It felt like we jumped from the prelude with the foot soldiers straight to killing the big bad without any twists in the plot. The challenges along the way are ... not significant. I bought into the grandeur of the kingdom and that made the adventure too small. The resolution feels like a deus ex machina. Perhaps the frustration is that the writer does know his craft. His sense of language is good and engaging. There are elements of the world’s construction that are forced and others that draw you in. The characters are too flat (is that the third time I’ve mentioned that?) but likeable and while not unique are not cliches either. There was enough good here that I want to read more in this world and I want to read more from this writer. There was enough good that I want to see him grow and be there to read his work as it improves. Did this debut novel blow me away? No, but it was a throw away enjoyable read in the end if disappointing because there at times hints of it’s greater potential. Heck, it was better than Steinbeck’s first book, Cup of Gold! Finally, there is something compelling about a writer with the cojones to just throw out there “here is my pseudo Muslim world of good versus evil and the good guys are good because they are the faithful of God.” Maybe that’s what I find hard to define but I like so far about the author’s attitude: he has audacity and a voice and sometimes those are the hardest things for an author to have. - http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/511797866
- ISBN: 9780756407117 (hc.)
- ISBN: 0756407117 (hc.)
- Physical Description: 274 p. ; 23 cm.
- Publisher: New York : DAW Books, c2012.
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