Title: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Author: Saladin Ahmed
Published by: DAW
My rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Where I got the book: Public Library
I really dislike rating books with half stars but had no choice in this case. Throne of the Crescent Moon was more then a 3 star read for me but just wasn’t enough to merit 4 stars.
There’s a rebellion brewing in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms between the Kahlif and a mysterious thief known as the Falcon Prince. However in the midst of all this political upheaval, a series of unnatural murders happens across the kingdom. It’s up to Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, a ghul hunter and Raseed bas Raseed, a holy warrior who’s Adoulla’s assistant to solve the supernatural mystery murders. They’re also joined by Zamia, a shapeshifter who’s seeking revenge upon her father’s killer. And together they get swept up into a tale of intrigue, magic, rebellion, power and murder.
Most of my problems with this book stem from the sword and sorcery subgenre. Based on the blurb I was so excited for this book. Fantasy featuring ghul hunters, shapeshifters, holy priests, political intrigue, a middle eastern setting and an old man who just wants to retire and enjoy a cup of tea. It sounds totally up my alley. Alas I’m a huge fan of deep characterization, which is not sword and sorcery’s selling point. Throne of the Crescent Moon is a fast-paced adventure with beautiful description but is missing the characterization that I needed to connect with some of the characters.
Adoulla is fantastic. He’s the character I found the most relatable and best fleshed out, constantly complaining about the city he loves, dealing with aging, lost love and desperately wanting to sit down with a cup of tea and not having to run across the desert fighting ghuls. I had a much harder time connecting with Raseed and Zamia, and felt that they, as well as their relationship, just needed a deeper examination. If this book had been maybe a hundred pages longer, giving it the length to go into deeper characterization, Throne of the Crescent Moon probably would have been one of my favourite books of the year.
This is only the first book in the series though and is also Ahmed’s debut novel. I tend to be more forgiving in my opinions on first books. The Thousand and One, the second book in The Crescent Moon Kingdoms series, is due out this December and I’m looking forward to seeing where Ahmed takes this series.