Book Review – Throne of the Crescent Moon

I have a review today of one of the nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards, with Throne of the Crescent Moon.

Title: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Author: Saladin Ahmed
Publication Year: 2012

Available from

The Premise

Adoulla Makhsood is a gul hunter in the city of Dhamsauowat. He is an old man who has taken on an apprentice, the Dirvish Raseed bas Raseed. While hunting the killer of his old flame’s family, he discover a threat that could endanger all of the cities of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms.

High Points

The characters are incredibly interesting and well written, and the world is also very different from most other fantasy settings I’ve encountered in the past.

Low Points

Now, I’m familiar with the whole idea of the Cassandra Truth. I recognize that it’s been around in fiction for millennia, and will exist for centuries more. Still, it’d be nice in a fantasy story where magic is a daily fact of life, for people not to go, “Oh, that’s just a fairy story and can be dismissed.” when someone brings news of an impending magical threat.


Originality: I can count the number of Arabian themed fantasy novels I’m aware of on the fingers of one hand. 5/6

Story: Aside from the low point, this story is great. 4/6

Imagery: Ahmed paints not only a vivid picture of the city of Dhamsawat but also the threats Adoulla Makhsood and his companions face, and what those threats are capable of. 5/6

Characterization: See the high point. 6/6

Emotional Response: I didn’t want this book to end. 5/6

Editing: 6/6

Overall: If there is any justice in the world, this book will end up on the New York Times best-seller list. 6/6

In total, Throne of the Crescent Moon gets 37/42.

And here’s my video review of the work in question.

3 replies on “Book Review – Throne of the Crescent Moon”

  1. I know I’m behind the curve here, but I had a very different reaction to this book. Oh, I enjoyed its cinematic feel of adventure; it’s difficult to create that swashbuckler feel without turning your work into parody, and Ahmed succeeds here. I liked the characters, who have plausible relationships and motives. I also acknowledge the comparative originality of the setting. Given the caliber of Saladin Ahmed’s short stories, I expect he may do some impressive things with this series in the future.

    However, the characters resemble too closely a conventional gaming party, and the plot moves too easily to a predictable conclusion, by the grace of the all-merciful deus ex machina. And, while the protagonists may have a depth of character, the villains remain stubbornly two-dimensional. The Final Boss main antagonist has barely any personality, despite his grim backstory, and his assistant, Mouw Awa, who speaks of himself in the third person, would not be out of place in a comic book.

    I also didn’t feel the weight of the world’s geography and history, the way I do in, say, Bas-Lag or Middle-earth or Westeros. Of course, this is a short book.

    I think my final score would have been closer to 30.

    • Well, I admit that when I read the book, I was going from the audio book, where it’s possible the reader gave Mouw Awa a lot of added character that wasn’t in the book his choice for the character’s voice (as well as the voices for the other characters in the book).

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