“I’m old and ready to die, and God is testing me with monsters fouler than I’ve ever faced.

My home… is charred and smoking and every book I’ve ever owned is gone.

On top of all this, my dreams are of rivers of blood in the streets.”

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed






The two most important elements to a successful sword-and-sorcery story, in my opinion, are character development and action. Readers want to experience an “edge-of-your-seat” storyline but if they’re not emotionally connected to or interested in the characters, it’s all for naught. In Ahmed’s debut, these two elements are not just well done – they’re extraordinary.



The action and pacing were fantastic – once Adoulla sets off on his quest to find the magus who is raising the ghuls and killing countless numbers of innocents (including Zamia’s entire nomadic tribe), I literally could not put this book down. I usually don’t read an entire book in one sitting but I did with this one – Throne of the Crescent Moon was literally unputdownable.


And I haven’t even mentioned world building yet! Although Ahmed’s depiction of the Cresent Moon Kingdoms – and particularly the city of Dhamsawaat – was subtle, the understated focus on description throughout was effective. In one sequence, Ahmed describes a breakfast as “the dozen layered aromas” and ultimately that’s the affect his writing had on me. As I was reading, I could almost taste the Cardamom tea, hear the nightmarish hissing sounds of approaching ghuls, and smell the fresh camel dung in the side streets.



Bottom line: If you’re a fantasy fan – and it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of paranormal fantasy, epic fantasy, dark fantasy, etc. – chances are very good that you’ll find Throne of the Crescent Moon to be one of the best novels you read this year.


I dare you to put this novel down once you start reading it!



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 


 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

by on ‎02-23-2012 01:29 AM

This book sounds really good Paul.  I love non-stop pacing and plentiful action. Plus, the self-contained nature of the novel is a real plus. The next time I want to read a sword and sorcerer story set within an exotic world, I'll get this book.  


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.