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Friday, July 5, 2013

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1)Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are 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, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. 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

This is a 2013 Hugo Novel Nominee. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this story - set in an exotic land with magic, evil khalif, eastern Robin Hoods, djinns, and ghuls.   The last demon-hunter is now an old man with a young, noble hearted - but slightly misguided - warrior as an apprentice.  We meet a Badwai desert shape-changer, and feel the affection between a magic-worker and his apothecary wife.  There's love, disappointment, and promises to be honored.  We have the "great city of Dhamsawaat" that is seen from the eyes of the old and young, from the viewpoint of City dwellers and desert tribesman. 

Throne of the Crescent Moon is as rich as any middle eastern tapestry - deftly woven, delightful colors, intricate in it's design.  For some, it might be a bit...flat; others will delight in the nuances offered.

I've heard it touted as reminiscent of Arabian Nights, but I thought the only similarity was it's Far Eastern setting.  And while not marketed as YA, it's definitely straddles that line. 

Recommended if you don't mind YA.  

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