I first heard about Throne of the Crescent Moon on John Scalzi’s blog – he has a series (“Big Idea”) where sci-fi/fantasy writers talk about a recent book and the idea behind it. I was immediately impressed by Saladin Ahmed’s thought process – bringing a Muslim perspective to fantasy, as well as featuring a fat 60 year old protagonist, and breaking a few other clichés in the process. I immediately put it on my wishlist, and got around to buying it a few days ago.
The first thing that struck me about this book is that it’s really short – 274 pages. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Throne of the Crescent Moon is tightly plotted, action-packed and builds an interesting world. However, as with my previous review, Furies of Calderon, that does mean all the characters aren’t as well-developed and the world is not as well-detailed as I’d like (although I think it was better than Furies of Calderon – we get a sense of all the nearby realms, instead of just the kingdom that the story is based in.)
I loved the older protagonists Adoulla, Litaz and Dawoud. They seemed totally believable and likable – worldly and experienced enough to be cynical and pragmatic, but still retaining enough idealism to want to make a difference. I didn’t care for the younger protagonists Raseed and Zamia as much; they didn’t have much of a personality beyond being young and eager and attracted to each other. I did appreciate how their story ended, but I found their feelings for each other a bit implausible. It seemed to be born more of proximity and desperation (more like a crush than love) rather than any real depth of emotion. However, maybe that’s how Ahmed meant it to come across, so I’ll reserve judgement until the next book(s).
The plot was pretty predictable for most of the book, but the ending surprised me (in a good way!) I wish that it had been a bit more complex or the book had been longer and spread out over a longer span of time, but it was still pretty good. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book.
- “Furies of Calderon” by Jim Butcher
- “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” by Tad Williams