Trouble is coming to the city of Dhamsawaat. Monstrous ghuls animated by dark magic prowl the streets. A corrupt ruler sits on the throne. A criminal firebrand is stirring revolt. And through it all strides Doctor Adoulla Makhslood – ghul-hunter, scholar, tea drinker, and an old man who just wants to be left in peace.
Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon drew a lot of attention when it came out. It was praised for the world building, in which the author gets away from Eurocentric fantasy with something far more Middle Eastern. That stuff is great – this is a cool world. But it’s not the best thing about the book.
What made me love this novel was the characters. The kind yet grumpy Adoulla. Fanatical young fighter Raseed, grappling to deal with his emotions. Litaz the alchemist, an aristocrat far from her homeland. Dawoud the mage, whose every spell drains his life force away. Zamia, a fearsome shape-shifting tribeswoman. They all have strong personalities which complement and clash in interesting ways. They’re all well developed and presented to the reader.
This is a great ensemble story. I’d lend you my copy, but I already passed it on. So go find your own, make a nice cup of cardamom tea, and settle down for some fine reading.