Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon / Author: Saladin Ahmed / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: December 31st
At first glance, we thought Throne of the Crescent Moon would be light reading. Its easy flowing style seemed like a fun diversion. The next thing we knew, the entire day had vanished. Reader beware; Ahmed has the power to mesmerise even the most hardened of fantasy fans and suck you into his deceptively simple yet incredibly rich and involved worlds.
This is the tale of Doctor Adoulla Makhsood, the last ghul hunter who has long since gone to seed. He’s a chap who’s gotten older and more cunning rather than wiser, and he swiftly finds himself dipped into a world of intrigue when a series of mysterious murders starts causing a stir amongst the citizens of the great city of Dhamsawaat. He teams up with a chap who is essentially a younger, dumber version of himself and a mysterious stranger with an unusual secret, and goes out to find out what is happening.
So far, so simple? However the city itself is a rich and interesting setting, it heaves with people and personality. Ahmed has set the entire tale in a world inspired by the legends of the Middle East, and you can almost feel the sunbaked walls of the city on every page. Dhamsawaat is as much a character as Doctor Makhsood and his companions, and there is a real investment in the characters here.
Throne of the Crescent Moon is a fun fantasy novel, and comes from the school of entertaining swords and sorcery tales that don’t have a point to prove, they’re just a great way to waste time. If you like your fantasy engaging and character driven, with a nice dollop of action, give this a look, but be aware that it benefits from being read in a single sitting; it takes a while to build up momentum, so make sure you have a day free.