Throne of the Crescent Moon Review

Throne of the Crescent Moon is the debut from Saladin Ahmed detailing an adventure of monsters, magics and a swordplay. It is the first book in The Crescent Moon Kingdoms trilogy. What makes this fantasy adventure a bit unique from the others is due to its location. Set in the middle eastern world, the story involves a mysterious figure summoning forth deadly ghuls to plague the beautiful city of Dhamsawaat. It’s up to Doctor Adoulla, a world weary yet experienced monster slayer, to solve the mystery and put an end to the threat once and for all. Of course, things don’t always seem as they do and soon enough, he recognizes a bigger threat than what he had initially imagined. Suffice it to say, this book was a pretty good pickup for me. I’ve always thought that for a new author, one should always remember to create a good book cover to capture audience members who do not know who you are. I’m sure the author agreed as well because that is one good looking book cover and surely is what have drawn me to this book in the first place!

There are about six or so main characters in the book altogether and I think it was a pretty good balance. The author never stays on one character for too long. In the center, you have Adoulla. Being of old age, he’s not sure he can continue with battling deadly monsters and protecting his beloved city anymore. He’s old, tired and just plain ol’ had enough of sacrificing his life to his duty. However, he continuously struggles with his inner feelings as to what he should really do. Next to Adoulla is his assistant Raseed. Being of the dervish order, his life is fully devoted to being a weapon for his God. For Raseed, things are either black or white. There is no grey. However, teaming up with the Adoulla truly tests his devotion as the doctor has a completely different attitude than Raseed. Things also change when they meet Zamia. This feisty young women has a special gift given by the Gods that I won’t spoil here. Suffice it to say, these three characters make up the trio of the main characters. Along the way, the group will also team up with Adoulla’s good friends of Dawoud and Lamia. Each posses unique healing abilities. Rounding up the cast is the Falcon Prince. Sort of like Robin Hood, he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Not the most creative I must admit but it works out in the end if you hadn’t already predicted the ending towards the later part of the book.

I thought the story here was semi-decent. For the most part, the atmosphere was there. The author did a good job at pulling you in to his world. However, things do get a bit predictable at certain times because you can swear you’ve read a story like this sometime before, albeit not as violent. The pacing is a little slow but at least things do fit in where they belong. As with any story I read, I pay a lot of attention on how the author crafts up his villains in the story. Why? Because a boring enemy makes for a lackluster book. Sad to say it but the main villain here in the Throne of the Crescent Moon is anything but exciting. The author just doesn’t spend enough time building the villain up to challenge the protagonists. In fact, if I remember correctly, the main villain cannot even speak for himself! The one other sin the author committed in my opinion is producing a lackluster final battle scene. Couple this with the boring main villain and you’ve got yourself a pretty forgettable finale. It’s a shame that the battles leading up to the main fight scene is more exciting! The author doesn’t rely too heavily on one fighting system over the other. You’ll get your standard sword play with Raseed, battle magics with Adoulla and his two best friends and finally with Zamia’s special ability.

As a debut, I think the author did a pretty good job! While his writing and story telling abilities isn’t the sharpest, he does a good enough job to hold my interest and in my opinion, that’s most important. He definitely has potential and so I’ll see what he can do with the second book. Although there really isn’t a standout character, I felt more aligned with Adoulla. I admit that I’m a nice guy in real life and do my best to help out others whenever possible without really expecting anything in return. However, like Adoulla, it can get tiring and sometimes it makes me wonder if what I’m doing is even worth it. Even if I am the nice guy, there will always people that are the complete opposite. If I’m not the nice guy, the world will still go on and there will be other people to pick up the slack. These are just some of the things that this book made me think of.

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